Thursday, October 29, 2009

Music Review: FREDDY'S GREATEST HITS– PART 2



Stars: 4.5 of 5.
Running Time: 34 minutes.
Best line: "WATCH IT NOW, WATCH IT, WATCH IT!!! HERE HE COME, HERE HE COME! YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT, YOU GOT IT!! WATCH IT NOW!!"

I hope everyone's ready to dive headlong into Part 2 of Freddy's magnum opus. Part 1 is HERE if you missed it.

Look at 'im. Look at Freddy. That shit-eating grin. He knows he's created an indelible work of art. No modesty here. And on the back- is he aping Michael Jackson or Fred Astaire?

I guess it doesn't matter. Anyway, we've got four songs to go:

6. Obsession

This one's a little funky, got a little twang to it. It's got a backbeat reminiscent of the start-up screen of some terrible NES game. But it's also got a crestfallen grace to it. "Ob-sess-sion..." whispers a reverb-heavy female voice. "Nowhere to run..." retorts Freddy.

"Something evil came to me/I don't just howwww or why-yiy.../You're the thing I just can't face/the dark secret I can't hiiiide/ You've come in my dreams/ Nothing is what it seeeeeeems/And as I walk along the streets/ I hear other footsteps fall [drum machine break to approximate footsteps]/
Sometimes I swear I feel your breath down by my neck/ Innn the hallll/ I look, nothing's there/ But I feel you I swearrrrrr/ These obsessions that you have with me/ Is growing every day/ These obsessions that you have with me/ I just can't get away/ Nowhere to runnnn /
[Freddy] NOWHERE TO RUN"


This song is kind of long-winded. I guess it's about Freddy, cause it's on the Freddy album. In a way it seems a thematic rip of Laura Branigan's "Self Control," but it definitely conjures imagery of a perfume commercial...hmmmm. I see that Calvin Klein unveiled 'Obsession' for women in 1985 and men in 1986, so it was certainly in the public consciousness. Maybe Freddy always wanted to be in a B&W artsy Calvin Klein commercial and thought this song might be a vehicle for such a cross-over. If only...

"Every time I turn around/ You're right behind me everyplace/ [snazzy drum break designed to keep you from forming the thought that 'everyplace' was used awkwardly]/Ridin' in my car/ I'm lookin' in the mirror I see your face/ I'm getting SCAAAAAARED/ What you want isn't FAIR"

Whoa-whoa- what? Is Freddy blackmailing her? I'm slightly confused by their relationship.

There's some Freddy cackles, a wicked guitar solo with a little whammy action, and we're back–

"Sometimes in the night I see you in the streetlight standing there/ If you can't have me no one will; you just laugh at meee instead/ [Freddy chuckles]/ I lock my door/ I can't escape any moooooooore/

Well, I guess it sounds more like a stalker situation, but the subtext seems to be that Freddy is her ex...?

This obsession that you have with me/ Is growing everyyyyy-day/ This obsession that you have with me/ I just can't get awayyyy/Nowhere to runnnnnn....


Then this chorus is repeated until the song fades out- and it feels like one of the longest fades ever- probably a fifty second fade. But that's just the way Freddy (rocks n') rolls.

7. Wooly Bully

Speaking of serious Rock n' Roll, this might be the most energetic ditty on the album. It's a cover of Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs 1965 smash, "Wooly Bully." Now a lot of people seem to think ill of its inclusion, but it really does make sense. Freddy wears a lot of sweaters. Sweaters are made of wool. Freddy is wooly.

Freddy is also an (implied) child molester. Child molesters are definitely something a touch more heinous than just 'bullies,' but then again, not every child molester gets their own novelty album or a pinball machine made in their own likeness.


Click on the photo for a larger view.

I digress. But I think we can all agree that Freddy is, in fact, a wooly bully of sorts, but w–

"UNO, DOS, ONE, TWO, TRES, CUATRO! WATCH IT NOW, WATCH IT, WATCH IT!!! HERE HE COME, HERE HE COME! YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT, YOU GOT IT!! WATCH IT NOW!!"Holy shit- I just shot Coke II outta my nose, and all over my brand new Lisa Frank trapper keeper. I have to say I was ill-prepared for A. Freddy shouting so loudly, and B. Freddy shouting so loudly with a Spanish accent.

There are some solid session musicians on this track. The sax player from "In the Midnight Hour" is back, and he's so rockin', that he prompts Freddy to scream "WATCH IT NOW!" about eleven thousand times. If you crank up it up, too, you'll hear the moaning souls of Freddy's victims in the background- I kid you not.

8. Down in the Boiler Room

Now this selection is extraordinarily groovy with a rather infectious bass line. The word leaping to the tip of my tongue is 'pizzazz.' Reminds of a little track called "Flamethrower" by the J. Geils Band (off their seminal album, FREEZE FRAME).

Freddy sets the tone by ominously growling "Down in the boiler room.... heheheheheheheheh." Stacey joins in:

"You know it's scary/ You know it's dark/You oughta know- be afraid to go- listen to your heaaarrt/ Afraid to stop/ and afraid to go/ He's waiting for youuuu/ Downnnn in the boiler room..."

"Your mamma told you/ Monsters were pretend/ No one will hold you-out all alone/ can this be the enddddd?/ Don't try to stop- but do you dare to start?/ He's waiting for youuuu/Downnnnn in the boiler room....in the boiler room...."

This one's a tad bland compared to some of the others. Freddy is pretty bushed by this point and he's not gonna blow his artistic load on the next-to-last song on the album. Boiler rooms, dreams, Freddy, being scared- these are familiar themes for Mr. Krueger, and he can phone this one in like the best of 'em. And that funky bass line goes a long way to making this listenable.

Freddy: "In the boiler room, I'll be waiting soon! You know it's scary.... you know it's dark..."[fade out]

9. Elm Street Dreams

How do you end this album, Freddy? A big show-stopper like those hotshot producers wanted you to? No. No way. Is the status quo something over which Freddy feels even a scrap of indebtedness to? Hell, no. Well, how 'bout somethin' from the heart? How 'bout a little somethin' called "Elm Street Dreams?"

The intro is evocative. Vibes. Drum machine. Synthesized bells. That weird electronic keyboard that sounds like kittens mewing. It's dark...it's reassuring. Almost hopeful. But sad, too. This is Freddy pouring his heart out- letting you know what it's like to be him. He doesn't have to tell you how he feels- he lets you feel how he feels.

By now, you're over a minute in and you're probably wondering where the vocals are. Guess what- there aren't any. Freddy wanted an instrumental that could showcase his soulful bass playing, and the centerpiece here is a wondrous solo that really runs the gamut of emotion- fear, loss, nostalgia, regret...

And it begins: you can see Freddy playing the bass- eyes closed, shuddering and swaying to his own exquisite reverberations. He's got some serious chops, too. He's been practicing this one for a while. After about a minute of pure, musical bliss, Freddy needs a breather. He grabs a glass of water. Let's the mewing keyboardist and dude playing the bells take over. Somebody shoots him the thumbs up and he returns it. He has to replace a string or two, on account of the razor glove, and just then the rest of the band builds to a beautiful crescendo... Oh shit- get to the mic, Freddy! Leave us with a final benediction! The drummer winds the song down with a schweet break and Freddy breathlessly runs to the mic. Once he's at the mic, though, he's the consummate showman. He's supercool.

"Be seeing you....in your dreamsshss....haaaaaa haaach!
"



And it's a wrap. That's how it's done. Be seeing you around too, Fred.


-Sean Gill

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fuckin' ridiculous, bro- I like it!

Jason said...

Didn't get the chance to read this until today- LOL- awesome.

Erik said...

Hhahahah!

"WATCH IT NOW, WATCH IT, WATCH IT!!! HERE HE COME, HERE HE COME! YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT, YOU GOT IT!! WATCH IT NOW!!"

Jack Thursby said...

Just listened through this album (don't ask why). Don't think I would have made it past the first 20 seconds without your excellent commentary. Thanks again Sean!

P.S. How long do you think Englund spent recording this album?

Sean Gill said...

Jack,

Glad you enjoyed––this one is near and dear to my (kitsch-addled) heart. Just complete bizarre-itude all around, and I still can't get over the fact that there's a moody instrumental on the Freddy Krueger album. As for the time commitment, I feel like this was a "we've got Englund for the afternoon" type of deal. Though if I ever see Englund at a Q&A, I may have to ask him.