Saturday, June 19, 2010

80's Jams #80: 80 Camper Van Beethoven “Take The Skinheads Bowling” (1985)

The arrangement is dominated by Jonathan Segel's wavery violin line and a couple of enthusiastically strummed acoustic guitars, as lead singer David Lowery sing-speaks nonsensical lyrics in a yelping voice that sounds like Jonathan Richman's southwestern cousin after a long session with a beer bong. The difference is that the song has an incredibly catchy singalong chorus and a bouncy, country-ish tune that has neither the hardcore punk nor the ethnic folk influences of the rest of the album. Immediately adopted by 1985's black-clad teenage hipsters as the key novelty song of the burgeoning American indie scene (along with the Dead Milkmen's "Bitchen Camaro"), "Take the Skinheads Bowling" eventually bit Camper van Beethoven on their collective posterior, giving the group a reputation as goofy jokesters that proved impossible to shake as they tried to grow artistically on their later albums. -- Allmusic

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