Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Camel Walk" / Southern Culture on the Skids / Dirt Track Date

If ever there was reason to praise the itunes / digital music revolution it's for songs like "Camel Walk". SCOTS is a band with a schtick (not that there's anything wrong with that - so were the Ramones, The Cramps, KISS, The B-52s, Ween and The Hives) which is awesome for a song or two, but gets really old over the course of a whole CD.

As you can probably guess from just the name of the band, or definitely after watching the video or hearing the song, SCOTS's schtick is white trash. The faux country musical stylings, silly lyrics, trucker hats and beehive hairdos all attest to this. Having said that, let's look at "Camel Walk" on its own merits (ha).

I heard this song quite often in the mid 90's on a local Athens station, 103.7, which played a great alternative mix (that station then became "classic rock" - ugh- and just recently changed to pop music. So, if you're scoring at home, that's Radiohead to Nazareth to Miley Cyrus) I was instantly intrigued by it's greatness, and the fact that it annoyed my girlfriend to no end make it even more fun to blast in the car and sing along to.

It's hard to get a handle on the complex themes of this song. FIrst of all, I'm not sure what "walking like a camel" means. I'm thinking it has a sexual connotation, given the mentions of "thorny boots", and I'm picturing a camel walking in my head, but it's not adding up. Maybe if one is, um, aroused, one may tread carefully as a dromedary? I don't know.

What brings brilliance to the song is the vending machine snack shoutouts. One of my favorite lines in the song comes early on :

Who's in charge here? Where's my Captain's Wafers?
Don't go 'round hungry now!
Baby, the way you eat that oatmeal pie makes me want to diiiie


He ends the song with this gem
Little Debbie, Little Debbie!
I'm a comin' on home, baby!

So, the consumption of prepackaged snacks, "special outfits" and quarters under high-heeled boots really gets this guy going, or "camel walking". I....guess. Fun times anyway.

Musically, I love the whip cracks, followed with perfect timing by the singer's howl. Also love that sliding bass riff, and you can't deny that they hit a pretty good grove at times in the song (check that part at :24).

So, let's just have fun with this one. Lots of the music I love the most is so damn earnest and serious, so it's good to change it up with a song like this now and again. As for the video below, it's interspersed with footage from a Ben Stiller movie, "Flirting WIth DIsaster" on whose soundtrack this song appeared. Never seen the movie, but parts of it seem to fit OK, especially the opening image of the dude licking his lady's underarm.