Tuesday, June 25, 2002 @ 10:28 AM
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It’s an interesting word, “pussy.” My handy-dandy dictionary here defines it as follows: “Informal: a cat or other feline.” While this is certainly true, it leads me to ask, just WHICH other felines would you refer to in this way? Well, there was the time on that seventh-grade class trip to the National Zoo, during which two kids named Josh and Tyrone held a long discussion about “pussy,” and how to get one, and what to do with it once obtained, and the like. The dialogue was such that my mother, who had been dragooned into being a chaperone, started seriously considered private school for her impressionable young boy. I guess she figured they weren’t talking about the lions. It should have made her happy, that two kids from such obviously disparate background (look at their names, for Chrissake) could hold such a civilized discussion for so long. Progress! But it didn’t. And it didn’t matter either. Because whether Mom wanted to hear it or not, Josh and Tyrone were confirming a basic fact of human nature that is sometimes painfully apparent.
“Pussy! It’s all about pussy!”
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So begins Say Somethin’ Nasty, the latest opus from those lovable rednecks, Nashville Pussy. And as debatable as this sentiment may be, it serves its purpose here, letting you know just what you’re in for. If you were harboring the hope of hearing some sensitive lyrics about Tibet, or maybe a nice little concept album based on the work of Anthony Trollope, those lofty desires are shot to hell in the first five seconds of the CD.
And thank God for that! The last thing we need is another bloated, pretentious metal album. Could it be that what we really need is more fun, more sex, more drugs, more guns, more motorcycles, and above all, more rock ‘n’ roll? Yes! I think I’ve found just the thing!
Say Somethin’ Nasty is Nashville Pussy’s third album for their third label, Artemis. Apparently, Mercury and TVT have no problem putting out vacuous pop and Gatorade-guzzling nu-metal, but can’t handle the Pussy Posse. To quote the album’s intro, “… And a record company don’t let you sing about pussy, they ain’t your record company!” What a way to stand up for your beliefs!
And from there, we’re off, burning down the sun-bubbling two-lane blacktop in our hot-rod Mustang. Say Somethin’ Nasty is quite far removed from the band’s 1998 debut, the gloriously-titled Let Them Eat Pussy. That album was almost straight-ahead punk: fast, loud, tuneless, and with many songs being largely indistinguishable from one another. I never could figure out why some critics insisted on making references to Skynyrd, AC/DC, ZZ Top, etc. I for one didn’t hear any of those influences on LTEP, save for the underlying redneck attitude that fueled such classics as the Grammy-nominated “Fried Chicken and Coffee.” Nevertheless, I had a hard time tearing myself away from that album.
2000’s High As Hell took a step away from the punk and leaned more toward the dirty, raunchy rock ‘n’ roll that Nashville Pussy were so often described as making. Frankly, I found it a welcome change, and that album immediately became a favorite of mine. I frequently declared it the best thing I’d heard since the first Jackyl album in ’92.
With Say Somethin’ Nasty, Nashville Pussy takes another step away from the punk that raged through their amphetamine-crazed debut. This is in fact their most rock ‘n’ roll album to date. Plenty of bluesy licks and riffs from singer/guitarist Blaine Cartwright and his lovely wife, guitarist Ruyter Suys, lots of open-A twanging. The solos are inspired, if sloppily played at times, and at least there ARE solos. The songs get longer, the tempos a bit slower, and this is actually the first Pussy release to break the 40-minute mark. It’s enough like High As Hell so that if you liked that one, you’ll like this one, and if you didn’t, well, at least you know what you’re in for.
The title track is the first true song on here, and it stomps gleefully along, as Blaine rasps, “Saaay sump’m nas-taaaay! Reeeally let loose!” His voice bears almost no resemblance to his atonal growls on LTEP, although you can still tell he’s smoked more than his fair share of cigarettes over the years. On this track and the similar “Keep Them Things Away From Me,” he even seems to be trying to actually sing, rather than simply hoot and holler.
After the title track, we’re treated to a raucous near-parody in “I’m Gonna Hitchhike Down to Cincinnati and Kick the Shit Out of Your Drunk Daddy.” Blaine adopts a low mewl in the verses, lamenting his failed relationship. This has got to be one of the funniest songs I’ve ever heard, just for the title alone, and humor is never too far away from Nashville Pussy, especially on this album, sometimes to the point of campiness. If you’re a rock critic in New York City who just gave five stars to some sweater-wearing geek who’ll never be known outside of 500-watt college radio stations, but whose meditations on the meaning of life just make you melt, you are going to hate Nashville Pussy until you shit blood.
Next comes a song called “You Give Drugs a Bad Name.” I was extremely grateful, and a little disappointed at the same time, to hear that this isn’t a reworking of a certain Bon Jovi classic. Instead, this one comes outfitted with a ZZ Top lope and a cautionary tale about doing so much dope and making such an ass of yourself that people stop inviting you to their parties.
Another failed relationship emerges in “The Bitch Just Kicked Me Out,” one of the speedier tracks here, which hearkens back a little to their more punky days. But who can resist lyrics like this, delivered in total what’d-I-do deadpan: “She caught me rollin’ around with her mama too / And the bitch just kicked me out / Well baby, she does thangs that you don’t do / And the bitch just kicked me out / Can’t you see / How much I love your family / And now you wanna go and take it away from me …”
I recall hearing that the original title for this album, before TVT washed the Pussy off their hands, was going to be Keep On Fuckin’. If the band saw fit to change the title, luckily they kept the song of the same name. And inspirational call to propagating the species, it sounds like something AC/DC might have done if Bon Scott had been born in Owensboro, Kentucky, as Blaine was. And there’s no mistaking Blaine’s southern heritage on this track especially. I’ve never heard the man speak, so I can’t tell if he’s exaggerating his accent as some sort of schtick, but I’m inclined to doubt it. It’s hard to sound that authentic. He also likes to throw in lots of references to Jesus, animals and various people’s mamas.
Ever wonder where all the great masturbation songs have gone? Like “Muscle of Love” or “Can’t Stop Messin’?” Well, just in case you aren’t able to “Keep On Fuckin’” the Pussies offer up another almost-punk romp, this time in praise of self-gratification, in the form of “Down At the Jack Shack.” I’ve since bestowed this moniker on the bathroom of my sleazy apartment. And why not, it has a drain in the floor! Can’tcha hear it gurgling in the background? In any case, “Jack Shack” makes you feel that much better about not getting any REAL pussy. It makes getting one’s jerk on sound almost glamorous, sort of the way Guns N’ Roses made heroin sound almost worthwhile with “Mr. Brownstone.” Anyway, Blaine displays his knack for clever lyrics by dropping lines like “Baby, you got me really startin’ somethin’ / Honey! You got my heart and my hand a-pumpin’!” Later on he makes the observation, “God and the Devil, like everybody else, save the best pussy for themselves.”
Speaking of the Gunners, as I was just a moment ago, “Can’t Get Rid of It,” sounds like something Axl and the gang, the REAL gang, might’ve done in a drunken stupor and then decided maybe it would be best to leave off of Appetite for Destruction.
A few more songs remind me of the older material, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. While the crazed boogie of “Here’s to Your Destruction” is entertaining, songs like “Let’s Get the Hell Out of Here” and “Beat Me Senseless” just sound a bit too much like outtakes that the band for forgot to take out. Not bad songs, but they don’t fit with the direction NP seems to be trying to take on this album, which would be farther away from that kind of material.
The album concludes with a cover of Rick Derringer’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Hoochie Koo,” that, like all good pussy (with or without the capital P), messy but fun.
All in all, a great album, and one of the best I’ve heard this year. I don’t feel quite comfortable giving it a five-star rating, as I would’ve done with the previous effort. What bothers me is that I’m not sure WHY I can’t go all the way on this one. Is it too much like High As Hell, or not enough like it? I will say that I was hoping they’d steer a little more into a good-ol’-hard-rock direction. Oh well, next time, maybe. In the meantime, Nashville Pussy serve up the best truckstop rock you can easily get your dirty, white-trash hands on. The perfect soundtrack for monster-truck rallies, tractor pulls, impressing that artsy-fartsy girlfriend of your buddy’s, or just sitting on the porch, swilling $10-a-case beer and gobbling a Moon Pie. NO more worries about those snobby fucks across the way. No more Junior Leaguers knocking on the door asking for donations. No more of those so-called friends that you secretly can’t stand. You’ll never hold another serious discussion with the other English majors about Christ-like figures again.
Hey, come to think of it, this album may just turn your miserable life right around!