Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"College Rule"

Song Title: "I Could Rule the World If I Could Only Get the Parts"
Artist: Tin Huey
Search Term: "College Rule" [This track seems to have been saved to someone's playlist that contained the word "college" in the title.]

Punk rock was created as a brute-force rebellion against the logy, vain rock that had been clogging radios in the '70s: Fed up with the unwieldy tedium of Iron Butterfly and the Eagles, the oversimplified legend goes, the Ramones and their contemporaries eschewed everything that wasn't a fast 4/4 beat, a brickbat barre chord, or a sneered antisocial couplet, because why would a rock song require anything else? The first punk albums began to appear in 1976, and it's interesting to discover how quickly punk bands started to once again beef up their songs' infrastructure after this initial turn to elegant simplicity. This song, from Akron art-punkers Tin Huey, was released in 1979, and it's largely a whole bunch of stuff mounded on top of a double-time performance of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the UK." Not only does this song replace the Pistols' spartan fuming with pogoing rhythms, cartoonishly bright harmonies, and a horn section, but it undercuts Johnny Rotten's unadorned, charred bile with jokey lyrics about the difficulties of procuring the necessary equipment for a revolution. I'm probably overestimating how much of this track was an intentional satirical comment on the unsustainability of the punk ethic, but I think it's loads of fun when viewed through that lens. (Viewed in isolation, well, it's "Anarchy in the UK" buried beneath layers of quirky-jerky frosting, which is still enjoyable but maybe not terribly necessary.)

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