Certain Songs #52: Big Star – “Kangaroo”

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Album: Third.

Year: 1978.

When people talk about the madness and disintegration of Big Star’s Third, they’re really mostly talking about this song and “Holocaust,” twin sisters of desolation and despair, and – at least in the version of this album I originally had – back to back near the end of the record, sealing it in people’s minds for all time as a masterpiece of sadness and weirdness.

And they have a point: “Kangaroo” is a meandering soundscape chalk full of acoustic guitar feedback, ghostly strings, and drums that sound like a distant battlefield getting ever closer.

It’s really more of a mood than a song, and that mood is “Holy mother of god, am I depressed!”  And while it’s arguably not as depressed as the piano-based “Holocaust,” I like it more because it’s less on-the-nose lyrically, and it’s constantly changing – like the cowbells that come in near the end of the song, just for the sheer fuck of it.

Fan-made video for “Kangaroo”

My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist:

Every “Certain Song” Ever

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