The King Is The Man

September 16, 2010

There’s joyous news for a hope-starved world as Burger King is introducing a glorious buffet of new breakfast items – pancakes, muffins, ciabatta club sandwiches…pancakes.

I just know it’s all going to be flame-broiled and life-altering.

And the restaurant already offers the Croissan’Wich which trumps all other possible breakfast sandwiches if only because the egg, cheese, and breakfast meat rests delicately on the buttery, flakey brilliance that is a croissant.

I don’t usually spend so much time pondering fast food. I usually eat it less than a few times a month.

This episode of reflection was prompted by a barrage of commercials the other night.

Sure, you might declare that such enthusiasm for Burger King is misguided as it could be argued that the foodstuff whose praises I sing so deliriously represents the final link in a chain of events that has ruinous consequences to the people and the planet at each and every juncture.

(including the consumption)

I would likely agree.

But I can’t fret about such matters on an empty stomach.

I think I’ll have breakfast first.

Here are four songs that I stopped on while shuffling…

Queens Of The Stone Age – Better Living Through Chemistry
from Rated R

I can’t help thinking of Sympathy For The Devil when I hear the congas that open Queen Of The Stone Age’s Better Living Through Chemistry. The song then proceeds to plow forward, sometimes dreamy, sometimes trippy, yet always heavy.

I’ve definitely not followed music the past ten years as I had before, but of the bands I have heard, few have impressed me during that time as much as Queens Of The Stone Age.

Eve’s Plum – If I Can’t Have You
from Spirit Of ’73: Rock For Choice

With a name inspired by the actress who portrayed Jan Brady on The Brady Bunch, Eve’s Plum released two albums of delightful alternative-tinged power pop in the early/mid-’90s that were sadly ignored before calling it a day. Lead singer Colleen Fitzpatrick would have a bit more commercial success later in the decade under the name Vitamin C.

As for If I Can’t Have You, it is indeed a groovy cover of Yvonne Elliman’s smash hit from the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. The song appeared on the compilation Spirit Of ’73: Rock For Choice which gathered an album’s worth of ’70s pop hits interpreted by ’90s alternative acts.

Concrete Blonde – Beware Of Darkness
from Concrete Blonde

There’s a review of Concrete Blonde’s debut that has stuck in my mind for twenty years as the reviewer – in some hipper-than-thou rag – stated that there was no reason for anyone with two ears to ever listen to it more than once.

Personally, I was a huge fan of the L.A. trio’s punk-infused alternative rock and would argue that the group was one of the more underappreciated acts of the ’90s. Their version of George Harrison’s Beware Of Darkness – and I have to admit, I don’t believe I’ve heard his – is a good fit for the band which often incorporated a bit of a gothic vibe to their sound.

The Future Sound Of London – Osho
from The Isness

I know relatively little about dance music, but the duo The Future Sound Of London hooked me the night I stumbled across the über-cool video for their song My Kingdom

In 2002, the act issued The Isness which found the duo incorporating a heavy dose of psychedelic rock into their post-modern sound. Apparently it left many long-time fans baffled and displeased, but I thought the album was stunning.

Osho, though, has a light ’70s funk feel to it, along with sitar, tabla, and some operatic vocals in the background.

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That’s Right, The King Is Going To Have Us All Fat And Happy

January 9, 2009

Rejoice remote Thai villagers, Inuits of Greenland, and all other begrimed peoples who have yet to smell the bright lights of civilization. W was correct and freedom is on the march. But it won’t be any god, government or game show which will bring you the riches we in the modern world take for granted.

It will be a king. Specifically, The King.

I long ago declared allegiance to Burger King. Actually, fast food wasn’t often on the menu growing up, but once I got to college and occasionally opted for a burger from under a sunlamp, it was the flame-broiled goodness I would usually crave.

Burger Kings were plentiful in Southeast Asia when I had the opportunity to trek through that part of the world. I still cannot hear Def Leppard’s Rocket without picturing the girl at the counter in a Singapore BK Lounge. She sang along with that song (not quite at the top of her lungs) as she took an order from me and my friend Simon.

In one recent commercial, The King appears in a man’s yard. The man looks away and when he looks back, The King is right in front of him, standing on the porch offering a delicious breakfast sandwich.

Paloma finds it to be creepy. Yes, perhaps it is a bit creepy, but it’s also a wonderful thing.

In another series of ads, people from more isolated places around the world get to enjoy a Whopper. As you can imagine, the footage reveals it to be quite possibly the most amazing moments of their lives except for one Inuit fellow who declares that he still prefers seal meat.

(I hope this ungrateful bastard’s next encounter with Western culture involves a visit from PETA)

I also read the other day that obesity among most of the world’s population is skyrocketing (for various reasons). Finally, a global consensus on something.

So those of you dismayed by the state of the human race, take heart, because a glorious new age of peace and harmony, love and understanding, is coming – a portly new world order and we will all bow to The King.

Marillion – The King Of Sunset Town
I suppose it was never cool to admit liking Marillion, yes? But there is a chunk of their catalog which I do love and their album Season’s End would be on the list. I stumbled across it, not even knowing they had a new album, while in Thailand. Less rigidly progressive and looser conceptually, it was their first record with new singer Steve Hogarth, who immediately reminded me of Peter Gabriel.

Jellyfish – The King Is Half-Undressed
There’s little I could say in praise of Jellyfish which wasn’t covered quite nicely over at My Humps here.

R.E.M. – The King Of Comedy
1994’s Monster was the last time I truly cared about R.E.M. and I’d been with them most of the way up ‘til then (I was in college in the ‘80s; it was the law). I did like Monster and I thought that the King Of Comedy, a shimmering slab of ear candy, was an overlooked gem.

The Rave-Ups – Respectfully King Of Rain
I didn’t know the Rave-Ups were from Pittsburgh but apparently they were. I did know that Molly Ringwald was a friend of the band which led to them appearing in Pretty In Pink (performing the stellar Positively Lost Me). Respectfully King Of Rain is pretty wonderful, too.