Album: Our Frisco.
I guess that The Cat Heads were too volatile to stay together, so they split apart and got even more obscure. Melanie Clarin & Mark Zanandrea formed the still unheard by me It Thing, and Sam Babbit & Alan Korn released an album under the moniker The (ex) Cat Heads, which I’m pretty sure I didn’t even find for a couple of years.
While not as great as its predecessors, Our Frisco has a lot of good-to-great-songs – especially Korn’s “Something in the Way” and Babbit’s “Nothing” – and one that should have at least been a college radio hit, Alan Korn’s way clever “Anti-Song.” With Melanie Clarin singing harmonies over a bouncy beat and classic I-IV-V chord changes, “Anti-Song” spends 3:40 telling you exactly what kind of song it isn’t:
This song doesn’t want to be a music video
This song doesn’t want to sell you some deodorant
This song isn’t scientifically formulated
This song doesn’t have a lot of hit potential
The incredibly catchy chorus goes:
This song doesn’t have a chorus you can sing along
It doesn’t rhyme or say the word “love”
As the song goes on, they list even more things that the song isn’t:
This song doesn’t fit the proper demographics
This song doesn’t make you wanna dress up all in black
This song doesn’t help you forget about your problems
This song doesn’t even sound a lot like R.E.M.
This ain’t another A.O.R., D.O.R. alternative new wave hit
This song ain’t getting any airplay on the radio
Cos this song said the word “shit”
You get the picture. It would would be just one more piece of Gen-X cynicism, but of course at the end, when they song that “this song ain’t no good,” you know that they know that you know that they don’t believe it.
Our Frisco holds a weird distinction in my life: it was the last time I ever bought a vinyl album as a medium to listen to music. When I made the transition to CDs, I dove in hard, almost instantly attracted to not having to get up and turn the record over every 20 minutes, and with the advent of the multi-disc CD changer, not for hours!!!
So, naturally, Our Frisco probably got short shrift – only the catchiest songs got my attention as they were funneled to various mix tapes I was making for my car and afternoon runs. It wasn’t until I was able to buy the CD reissue – yes, this is the only Cat Heads-related album that has ever had a reissue – that I realized just how much I enjoyed the whole album.
Fan-made video for “Anti-Song”