Wednesday, June 25, 2014

No Fun Aloud; However, Bad Puns Acceptable

Glenn Frey probably figured that if he couldn't compete with his erstwhile partner in the intellectual depth department, he could at least one-up him in the lame pun department. Despite the brilliant wordplay, however, the title of No Fun Aloud is only partly accurate: while very few listeners would consider it loud, I think even Oscar the Grouch would have a hard time denying that this album is at least several buckets of fun. Take the opening track, "I Found Somebody," which sounds like Frey's attempt to re-write "The Long Run," presumably to make sure that he would get to sing lead this time instead of that cunt Henley.

Like his former (and future) band mate, Frey took the expanded leeway of a solo debut to demonstrate his interpretive skills. If you've ever listened to Frankie Ford's New Orleans R&B classic "Sea Cruise" and thought, "You know, this would be pretty good, if only it were slower, blander, stiffer, and whiter," then boy, has Glenn Frey got a cover version for you. But he was probably better off generating his own rollicking Saturday night roadside bar vibe instead of plundering someone else's. Exhibit A: "Party Town."
I got sick of my job, sick of my wife
Sick of my future and sick of my life
I packed up my car and I got some gas
And told everybody they could kiss my ass

I'm goin' to Party Town (yeah, yeah)
I wanna party down (yeah, yeah)
I wanna have some fun
I wanna fool around
I'm goin' to Party Town

The sun comes up, the sun goes down
Doesn't really matter in Party Town
They go all day and they go all night
They keep on goin' until they get it right

Right here in Party Town (yeah, yeah)
They really party down (yeah, yeah)
Man it's a Party Town (yeah, yeah)
You know they all got their own
And they pass it all around

Well I'm burnin' like a blowtorch in my prime
Everybody here is a friend of mine
I met a little girl a couple shooters ago
She's teachin' me everything I don't know

About Party Town (yeah, yeah)
They really party down (yeah, yeah)
You know they love to ball
They do it in the hall
Right here in Party Town

"Well I'm burnin' like a blowtorch in my prime"? Is that how they described Gonorrhea in the '80s? "They do it in the hall"? With Glenn Frey standing right there? Was he like the parental chaperon or something? Also, could someone please clarify: are we talking about Party Town, Oregon, or Party Town, Washington? I just want to make sure I end up in the right Party Town, that's all.

But if you think Frey was just one carefree, mellow, easygoing dude, "All Those Lies" is a chilling reminder that, despite appearances, this Yuppie Rocker was locked in a Sisyphean struggle with his ever-present demons. The verse melody bears a passing resemblance to the upcoming "You Belong To The City," which raises the critical scientific conundrum: can an artist plagiarize his future self?
I woke up shakin' in a cold, cold sweat
I got so much goin' on, what did I forget?
I know there's somethin', but it got so late
I need someone to help me get my story straight
Who told shorty, who told you?
And who else knows about the things I do?
It's my own business, it's my own fun
So don't you breathe a word of this to anyone

All those lies - I hope I can remember
All those lies - I'm a bad pretender
All those lies - comin' back to haunt me
All those lies - I get the feeling like they want me

Listen, baby, you can take my word
Don't you believe a single lie you've heard
They're all out to get me and then get you
There's just no tellin' what these kind of people will do
They're sayin' certain things behind my back
I can't believe you'd listen to those one eyed jacks
They look you in the eye, say it with a smile
They wanna see you sad and lonely all the while

All those lies - I hope I can remember
All those lies - I'm a bad pretender
All those lies - it's a bad situation
All those lies - tryin' to ruin my reputation

There's some bad wheels in motion, tryin' to run us down
Spreadin' dirty lies in this dirty little town
Ooh baby, you know I wouldn't dare
You know how much I love you, you know how much I care

Finally, No Fun Aloud goes out on top with the double whammy of "She Can't Let Go," which could go toe-to-toe with "An Innocent Man" in the Drifters rip-off sweepstakes, and "Don't Give Up," which sounds as if Journey got punched in the balls by George Clinton and then tried to record a song afterwards. In sum: with his solo debut, Frey established himself as the goofy McCartney to Henley's more topical Lennon. "You know what, Don? You can go ahead and try to be an 'artist,' but, hey man, I just want to have a good time."


Herr Zrbo said...

You didn't even mention the worst part - that obnoxiously smug smile he's sporting on the cover. It's like he's just calling out to be punched in the face.

Little Earl said...

It's like the rare smile that almost turns into a frown if you stare at it long enough.

I really believe that Glenn Frey may be the most unintentionally hilarious of all the Yuppie Rockers. He thinks he is SO COOL. At least Henley seemed to understand, even a little bit, he was an aging Baby Boomer old fart. Glenn Frey, on the other hand, is trying to star in his own porn movie. "All those lies - I'm a bad pretender"? Yes, Glenn, a VERY bad pretender.