Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Beck - Steve Threw Up

(Bong Load, 1994)

An early Beck single, and the only label-released pre-Odelay material – other than the Western Harvestfield 10” – to remain unavailable on the popular CD format (The goofy NIN-esque noizefest “Mutherfuker” on the B-side is essentially the same as the Mellow Gold version, despite the alternate spelling. There is a brief, profane rap appended to it, however). Friend Hansen was actually a funny fellow back in those days, churning out entertaining little story-songs left n right – “Steve Threw Up,” “Mexico,” “Satan Gave Me a Taco” – which, sadly, was to no longer be the case once he got all Serious and Grown Up and Critically Acclaimed by the late 1990s. Too bad: those were some hilarious ditties! Now, take for example this here “Steve Threw Up,” whose lyrics first establish that Steve took some bad acid, then describe the increasing horror of the streetfair at which he finds himself, then list the many disgusting foods he recently consumed, then, finally, the whole thing explodes into violent electronic retching to simulate the titular upchucking. Delivered in that marble-mouthed, pre-“Deadweight” drawl, Beck lays out his tale over some humorously pretty acoustic guitar, violin, female “aaaah”s, and brushed drums. Well done all around; worth many a laugh, yet strong enough to warrant wheelbarrows of repeat listens and elevate itself above novelty-song status. There are a bunch of colored-vinyl repressings glutting the market, so why not check the heck outta one of em?

You know, I vaguely remembered reading on the ancient Truck-run Beck site, back in ’96 or so, about the REAL STEVE who inspired this song. Looking into the matter again twelve years on, it turns out that the dude is my pal on Facebook! And he made a film about Neil Hamburger! Who can deny that this internet is a crazy thing!

1 comment:

Donald Brown said...

any particular reason for the Porter Wagoner crossed with Roy Orbison get-up on the cover?

And maybe this song,which I've never heard, should be paired one day with my favorite "Steve song," Robyn Hithcock's "Clean Steve." "I think he comes from Leatherhead, if all my facts are right."