With the Hummingbird Rotation, we hope to give folks a closer look at the songs that get the most play at Hummingbird HQ. This installment, hear about George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Buggles, and Zach Fox & Kenny Beats.
Get A Haircut // George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Remember the angsty phase of growing up? It hit me hard when I was a teenager. I was the absolute stereotype of privileges white kid growing up; but of course, as a teenager I thought things were so terrible and there was no possible way an adult could understand my teenage angst (Hormones are just the worst part about growing up right?).
And I’m sure that I was not the only kid that thought they were going to be a rock star as soon as they thought about starting a band. However, growing up having played my fair share of instruments this was a little more of a reality for me. Throughout my early life, I was POSITIVE that I was going to be the next famous rockstar.
That’s where this song comes in. It’s for anyone who’s ever been an angsty teen who didn’t wanna do what the adults in their life tell them. George Thorogood & The Destroyers are known for their bluesy-rock style jam pieces. You might know them from “Bad to the Bone” or “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” pieces extremely focused on the guitar and other instrumental solos, while also telling a story between said solos. So what do you get if you combine the teenage angst of growing your hair long and playing in a band, as well as the totally radical guitar stylings of George Thorogood? I’ll tell you what; it’s a hell of a good song, that’s for sure.
Video Killed the Radio Star // Buggles
Music is, obviously, primarily an auditory medium. But we felt like there’s more to talk about in the music industry than the music itself., That’s why your favorite Sideline Observer music writing team decided that we wanted to add a music video of the week section to Fresh Music Friday!
For our first music video section, I felt it was only fitting to kick it off with the same music video that would go down in history as the video that catapulted the world of music into the MTV (before the reality shows) age: Video Killed the Radio Star.
At 12:01 am on August 1st 1981, the brand new channel, MTV, aired the first televised music video, and the world of music would be forever changed. This was a huge game changer when it came to the music industry itself; as normally, the only visual footage of an artist playing their music was live footage of on-stage performance or studio footage. With the dawn of the MTV era, music fans could now see their favorite artists in videos made specifically for small screen viewing.
Video Killed the Radio Star is the perfect example of 80s cheese. The video opens to the band members in large goofy white sunglasses and chrome suits while the female backup singers dressed up as what I can only assume is a parody of 50’s housewife dresses
On the surface, there is not much else going on in the video besides all of the members singing along, and Geoff Downes playing his multiple synthesizer setup. But there’s more here than you might realize. Even though the goofy chrome suits paired right next to the seemingly old-school dresses might clash aesthetically, the juxtaposition of the two types of outfits can be a clever visualization of the changing medium, how no longer could an artist get away with having good music. If the wanted to make it big, they had to have a killer music video or two along with it.
So even though you might laugh with how primitive it may look when compared to what we have now; Video Killed the Radio Star is still worth a reflection, if nothing else to see how far the music industry has come in just 38 years. Also, to laugh at some ridiculous looking outfits.
Jesus Is The One (I Got Depression) // Zack Fox & Kenny Beats
Unironically, this is a fantastic song. Old Town Road is the global phenomenon it is today for a lot of reasons, but among them is that Lil Nas X doesn’t take himself too seriously. It’s a fun over-the-top song, and it knows that. “Jesus is the One (I Got Depression) applies the same principle of ironic absurdity rap and cranks it to 11. If you don’t know who Zack Fox is, it’s in your best interests to change that pronto.
The song is a product of Zack Fox’s visit to Kenny Beats’ webseries The Cave [ ], where he invites rappers into his studio to drop (usually ridiculous) freestyles and generally fuck around. Within a minute, Kenny asks Zack what kind of beat he wants, and Zack offers these ingredients: Runescape, Jodeci, and almond milk — with a domestic violence filter on it. (“Make me a pro-lifer beat.”)
“Imma dip my balls in some thousand island dressin’ / Cause I got depression”
This next-level bar alone accomplishes more for mental illness awareness and normalization than a thousand weird Burger King ad campaigns ever could. (sidenote: Burger King wants me to buy a Depression Burger? What the fuck is going on in the universe?)
Kenny Beats is a prolific, talented producer, and he does more than his part in making a beat that’s simultaneously hilariously absurd and genuinely hard, setting the stage for Fox to deliver game-changing lyricism:
“Armpits musty / Reeboks dusty / My show got cancelled cause white folks don’t trust me / Now I’m in the strip club with glue on the bottom of my shoe”
Every line out of Fox’s mouth is a blindsiding curveball, and never prepares you for the bar that’s about to follow. It’s impeccable parody: absolutely ridiculous but still evoking the over-the-top absurdity of more serious rappers. If I told you Fox starts a line with “Imma stick my dick in a bag of Doritos,” wouldn’t you want to know how it ends?