Ben Harper, Radiohead, Nail Younger Demographic ~ BitterSweetLife

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ben Harper, Radiohead, Nail Younger Demographic

"Poohbishaw" and "The Boom Song" Emerge as Favorites


Aidan loves music and acts as a critic here; he's previously tagged acts like Feist, Innocence Mission, and Ben Folds in his acclaimed Fall 2007 list. Now I'm happy to report that his tastes have evolved somewhat to include artists with more range and emotional timbre.

"Poohbishaw" has been a hot topic around here for months, as Aidan would use it like a rev-your-engine exclamation when he was, for example, climbing over the back of the futon using minuscule holds he discovered with his fingertips or throwing blocks over our 2/3-height wall into the utility closet so that they banged against the hot water tank. Poohbishaw, Poohbishaw, Poohbishaw!

This was all the more intriguing because Lindsay and I didn't know which song Poohbishaw was a direct quotation from. Not until this morning, anyway, when Ben Harper's latest album, Lifeline was playing, and Aidan remarked coolly, "Man sing Poohbishaw song." Lindsay and I were ecstatic, WE'VE DISCOVERED THE POOHBISHAW SONG, YES! while Aidan just looked at us with a humorous, long-suffering expression, like, Your powers of comprehension are sadly limited, but then, you don't understand the joy of rubbing peanut butter in your hair either, so I have ceased to be surprised.

Briefly, we wondered where exactly "Poohbishaw" appeared in the lyrics of "Fight Outta You," then Aidan identified the line in question, and all became bright and shiningly crystal clear:

"I would rather take your punch than not give you a shot." So "Poohbishaw" is an unorthodox portmanteau--an entire line condensed into one word. "Smoke" and "fog" yield "smog," so Ben Harper's line here gives us "Poohbishaw," obviously. The consonants from "punch" and "shot" can be easily identified. So now that's cleared up. Here's the song. When you listen to it all this linguistic wrangling will become plain as day, I promise...



The other half of this post, which will only run a few sentences, involves "15 Step" from Radionhead's latest album, In Rainbows. "15 Step" has been identified as "The Boom Song," thanks to its ice-cold-cool, understated, ever-evolving rhythm section. Aidan likes his percussion, and has given Radiohead his stamp of approval based on the one song. Warning: Thom Yorke's dancing in this clip is borderline catatonic, so I wouldn't recommend watching if you're on strong pain meds or, you know, prone to react with panic to sudden, unpredictable movements. OK, ready, set...



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2 comments:

must_decrease said...

I knew Aidan and I had more in common that incessant wrangling for more coffee and a desire for small feats of destruction. Ben Harper is increasingly becoming a favorite of mine, all thanks to your introduction back at the beginning of the year.

Ariel said...

Awesome! So what you're saying is, something you read here influenced here, i.e., this blog has changed your life.

 

Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife