COLD CUT COMBO – Compilation
(2006 Cold Cut Records)
It’s hard to know exactly what to think about the Cold Cut Combo’s Compilation CD. The letter of explanation that accompanies it claims “This is not suppose (sic) to be funny. This is serious art. Real Pop Art. Respect.” So why couldn’t I stop laughing? It could be because I have a sick sense of humor, but pairing lyrics found by searching the teen angst poetry website lovelandia.com for the phrase “I cut myself” with music from a Casio keyboard absolutely begs for a snicker on concept alone. They certainly don’t help their campaign for seriousness by attributing the songs to artists like “Vic Raiser” (say it aloud) and “Canadian Kevin Bacon,” the latter of which had me choking back a giggle.
Cold Cut Combo comes to us from the genius of the Sleeping in the Aviary boys, who just may be Madison’s most intriguing band. Granted, this project could have been done seriously, just not by them. They selected only the most melodramatic, most ponderous, most ridiculous poems from the website and made them even more so with the fluffiest, cheesiest, most over-the-top arrangements imaginable. The first track, the brilliant “Cut, Cut (Cut, Cut, Cut)” sets the cry-for-help poem “No Longer” to electronic dance-pop beats worthy of New Order or Erasure. The chorus of “Cut, cut” etc. separates verses contemplating various methods of suicide (“I throw the rope up over the beam / Step off the chair. I will not scream” and “I take down the bottle of pills / And I swallow twenty-four / Lay down on my bed / Soon I won’t feel anything anymore”). Yep, this is feel-good stuff.
It’s impossible to pick a favorite; each has its charm. “Makin a Mess on my Floor” boasts a Caribbean-style steel drum flow paired with lyrics like “Looking at the blood as it falls to the floor / I make a puddle that will last forevermore / I throw myself against the wall / Praying to end it all / Slowly drifting away making a mess on my floor.” You can’t make stuff like this up. The terrific “8, 9, Then 10” rearranges the original poem into a sort of how-many-licks-does-it-take counting song: “I slice my wrist more and more / One, two, three, four / Just how many times does it take / Five, six, seven, eight / Until I realize I’ve made a mistake?” with the whole band chiming in on the counting. The end result is a ridiculously catchy (and admittedly just plain ridiculous) sing-along in the style of Camper Van Beethoven. “I am the Emo” could have been recorded by “Push Th’ Little Daisies”- era Ween had they forgotten to take their anti-depressants, while “I’m Sorry” features a spoken interlude with memorable sentiments like “Life is fucking stupid / To kill myself is my dream.”
This is not music for the depressed or anyone harboring suicidal tendencies, but for anyone with even a slightly dark sense of humor this is genuinely funny and impressively creative music. It needs to be heard to be appreciated. Find yourself a copy and buy it; maybe they can use the profits to get these teenage Sylvia Plaths some therapy.