American Music Club was one of those artists where I would go out and get their most recent album, despite the fact that I only liked a handful of songs from the previous album. With artists like this, it usually means that i really really liked the songs I liked, and I was always hoping that the next album would be full of songs I loved.
As it turns out, the only one of their songs I ever truly loved was the beautiful fantasia of “Johnny Mathis’ Feet.” Over huge, soaring strings, American Music Club frontman Mark Eitzel tells the story of how he made a pilgrimage to Mr. Mathis for advice on, well, everything.
Johnny looked at my old collection
Of punk rock posters
Anonymous scenes of disaffection
And he said, “You were on the right track
But you’re a lamb jumping for the knife”
He said, “A real showman knows
How to disappear in the spotlight
In the spotlight, in the spotlight, in the spotlight”
In 1993, the peak era of Indie Rock’s battle with itself over its sudden popularity, the tale of culty ultra-hipster Mark Eitzel going to Vegas icon Johnny Mathis for advice could have shot through with deep irony and/or contempt. But instead, it’s completely sincere, both lyrically and musically, which is really the only reason it works: otherwise it’s like one of those “clever” punk rock covers of cheesy pop songs that got so annoying as the 80s wore on.
So while the slow beat and huge strings of “Johnny Mathis’ Feet” were a bit off-putting at first, they’re actually integral to the overall impact of the song.
Official video for “Johnny Mathis’ Feet”
My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist: