Oct 192014

So the other day, I was listening to Rattus Norvegicus, which contains one of my favorite tracks, “(Get a ) Grip (on Yourself).” For a long time, I’ve liked this song but didn’t realize until a couple of years ago that it was the Stranglers. (I entered the Stranglers fray with Dreamtime, but worked my way back to La Folie, another of my favorite albums. Anyways, I digress.)

Because I spend too much time commuting, I get ideas about RTH posts in my head while I’m driving, but by the end of a long day with too much screen time, I don’t get around to writing down and researching a lot of my ideas. Here are a few thoughts I had while listening to this song and this album. Please feel free to pick up my slack and help me write this post.

  • Is Rattus Norvegicus one of the best and overlooked punk albums? I mean, it contains quintessential punk lyrics territory: violence (pro), sex (pro), anger (pro), poverty (con), religion (sarcastic con), government (con and more con).
  • Is there a place in a punk band for a keyboardist? (Especially, one duded up like depicted in this video…)
  • Did Mark E. Smith crib Hugh Cornwell’s sneer and style of vocalizing?
  • What kind of a wanker would use Latin for a punk album title?
  • Are there other songs that lose their titular punch by too many parentheses?
  • Isn’t a DIY post really punk?

Help me. Help us.


  9 Responses to “Help Me Write This Post”

  1. cliff sovinsanity

    This album is a perfect example of why I’ve never locked into The Stranglers. While I enjoy when other bands mix up styles and sounds on the same album the same can’t be said for this band. The amped up punk stuff rings false and the new wavy tunes don’t bounce.
    X used keyboards to accent their first few albums. Also, Steve Nieve was the “punk” keyboardist of the Attractions. So yeah.
    Heck, Mark E Smith probably stole from Ray Davies and Ian Dury.
    I’ve never understand why The Saints song “(I’m) Stranded” needed the parentheses or not at all

  2. About 10 years ago I’m came around to liking the Stranglers, poseur loose seams and all. I usually recoil from campy vampire rock, but these guys are so clunky that I feel they’re in on the joke. They’re like a good episode of Scooby Doo, somehow barely avoiding Rocky Horror Picture Show levels of annoyance, for me. I got the feeling that Shaggy and his gang knew they were ridiculous, but their adventures were made all the merrier by offscreen pot smoking and sex. The RHPS crew, in comparison, struck me as thinking they were up to something grand and outrageous. I also like this song, although the keyboard part is particularly lame.

    Influence on Mark E . Smith? I doubt it. That guy seems directed by whatever tics that afflict him.

    Has anyone yet released a song with brackets within parentheses? I get a kick out of titles that are 3 or 4 words in parents followed by a single word outside. Isn’t that (mediocre) Love song something like “(7 and 7) Is”? I would like that title.

  3. As fir punk rock keyboard, I’d say Martin Rev in Suicide, Barry Andrews with XTC (esp Go 2), and the proto-punk organ of John Cake on White Light/White Heat are outstanding. If the EML synth Allen Ravenstine played with Pete Ubu counts, I present the master of punk rock keys.

  4. Didya know that… Hugh Cornwall and Richard Thompson were in a band together in their high school days?


  5. 2000 Man

    I’ve never been able to hear The Stranglers the way their fans do. I’d like that song better if the keyboard was essentially wiped and the sax was brought way up. The sax is probably a keyboard, but I’d rather hear that than the merry go round music coming out of that keyboard. Also, remember when you could go to the Lowery store and they’d teach you how to press three buttons and “presto!” you’re a musician! The tone of that keyboard reminds me of the Lowery store, where 100 models of keyboards all sounded exactly the same, no matter who played them.

    Mark E Smith just does what he does. I kind of feel like he’s influenced by his dislike of everyone else.

    My friend’s dad used to have a bumper sticker that said, “Aqua Bona Est.” He taught Latin and it means “water is good.” I have been to a Latin Mass more than once in my life. I didn’t get anything out of those other than more disdain for the church than I already have. Latin these days just seems like a way to politely tell everyone else that they’re dummies.

    Everything is Punk. Even Bon Jovi.

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    Didn’t. Cool.

  7. ladymisskirroyale

    “I kind of feel like he’s influenced by his dislike of everyone else.”

    Quote of the week for me!

    But listening to early Stranglers and early Fall, Mr. Smith doesn’t use his “schwa” intonation that I know and love him for but Cornwell has more of it. If there is a preceder, and I’m sure there is, I’d like to know who it was.

  8. pudman13

    I’m not willing to agree that misogyny is punk. Misanthropy, yes, but the Stranglers’ lyrics are a different story. In any case, I’ve always said that the Stranglers (and Devo, and especially Pere Ubu) are proof that punk and prog really aren’t all that far apart from each other. Your genre was more defined by what clubs you played than by what your music sounded like, at least in 1977. As to RATTUS, it’s good, but I think NO MORE HEROES is an improvement on it.

  9. ladymisskirroyale

    Thanks for the input, pudman13. I believe that later, the Stranglers said that their violence and mysogyny were more reflective of their over excess attitude than their “true” beliefs. That gilding the lily approach seems more aligned with Glam that it does with punk.

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