Stranded In Stereo: My Formative Years: "Fashion Nugget" by Cake, 1996

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Formative Years: "Fashion Nugget" by Cake, 1996

This week, Rusty takes a look back at one of the most outplayed CD's in his collection, due in part to it being one that he was always finding himself listening to on the bus ride home from school. Lucky for him, though, he still has the his original copy and the cassette tape that started it all ...

We look to our parents for inspiration, and as inspirations. At least I did. If it weren't for some crucial actions that my parents took, I know I wouldn't be the person I am. If my dad didn't work at a factory making parts for tractor trailers for almost two decades, he wouldn't of been friends with a man who went by the nick name of Homer (real name - Brendan?)

At any rate, Homer was in his 20s, listening to the cool hip music I was slowly getting in to at my ripe age of 12. One day, MTV once again pulled through and showed me a video of a man talking about going "The Distance." That song was insatiably catchy: the song that went with the video sounded like it came from the 1960s or 70s. It could've passed for the theme song to some failed cop show, what with its "ah's" and "yah!" command after the first chorus. What I think sold me, though, on this clip from the "Buzz Bin" was the brass section (if you know me today, you know that I am sucker for almost any song featuring some form of horns. I about died two weeks ago at the Walkmen show where they had a brass combo on almost every song.) The trumpet just sold me. I was determined to track this album down, and was lucky enough to get a hold of the cassette tape copy of
Fashion Nugget by the band Cake that Homer owned. I forget what I traded him for it, but Dad told me he thought it sucked and held no qualms parting with the album.

"I should've changed my fucking lock" John McCrea stated in Cake's rendition of "I Will Survive" (is it wrong of me to say their version might be just as popular as Gloria Gaynor's original disco hit?) This song ended side 1 of the tape, but it just made you wonder how it go on after that. Really, after the great lament "Friend Is A Four Letter Word" and the piano-ladened "Daria," what was their left to be even better? Lucky for me, the entire second side of that cassette was filled with the finest moments of that album. Side B started off with "Stickshifts And Safetybelts" with its locomotive drum beat competing with the near country-twang guitar work that made you feel as if you were crusing the dirt paths with Bo and Luke Duke. To this day, the album's closer "Sad Songs And Waltzes" could fit on any break up mix I could make (I don't make those self-deprecated mixes, though.) Everyone's favorite moment, though, is probably the gem "Nugget." Any song that sings about Chicken McNuggets is a good one in my book (though I prefer the Chicken Nuggets of Wendy's.) It was an eclectic album, yet it wasn't; it was linear yet all over the map at the same time.

I still have that cassette tape somewhere, in a box, or maybe I got rid of it. I'd like to think I kept a hold of it for it was easily the most played cassette next to my copy of 1987's Album of the Year, Kick. Eventually I made the upgrade to CD and played that on very many road trips to the beach, sitting in the back seat listening to my Sony Discman. Today, I have a bunch of friends from high school and college who go as far as naming Cake their favorite band of all time. Lucky for me, when I was in 6th grade, thanks to Homer, I was the only one going the distance on the playground.

Download: "Stickshifts And Safetybelts" [mp3]
Download: "Sad Songs And Waltzes" [mp3]
Buy: Fashion Nugget [Here]

1 comment:

jesspye said...

this album rules. willy nelson on his most recent album Songbird does a great version of "Sad Songs and Waltzes"