Sunday, November 13, 2005

Album review: Bully Boy and the Thirteenth Confession

Bully's a comin
better hide
Bully's a comin
better hide your heart
your heart
Bully's a comin
hide your heart
You better better hide your heart
Bully's coming better walk
Cry but he's never gonna hear
never gonna hear
and he ain't gonna follow
I cried
at the corners of the square
and everywhere I go
Bully's a comin
Bully's a comin. . .

So Friday, Bully Boy dropped a new release, Bully Boy and the Thirteenth Confession. To us, it sounded like a remix of the same old song.
But damned if the release didn't get massive attention from the press.

We congratulate the p.r. people responsible for the saturation coverage and the generally unquestioning reviews. We just ain't sure America's going to buy it.

For those sitting on the fence, we offer an analysis of the thirteen tracks on Bully Boy's Veteran's Day release. Before we address the individual tracks, however, we should note that we're not real sure this isn't a comedy album. There's a thin line between comedy and confession. We think it was clever for Bully Boy to do portraits from time to time to express himself. And certainly, when he looks at the world, he sees only Bully Boy. This is naval gazing, we're just not sure whether it's intended to be taken seriously or not.

Track one:

Over a martinet beat, Bully Boy speaks in dramatic, hushed tones in a clear hommage to so much of Diana Ross' spoken work. (See the spoken passages in "Reflections," "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Missing You.")

Bully Boy: "I've joined with the veterans' groups to call on Congress to protect the flag of the United States and the Constitution of the United States."

Bully Boy goes on to sing about the flag. In a very right-wing attempt to copy Madonna, Bully Boy is seen in the video for this song wiping his butt with the Constitution. He's hoping Ted Koppel will have him on Nightline since all but Fox "News" have banned the video under pressure from a public that's grown disenchanted with his scare tactics..

Track two:

This track features a way cool descending bass line laid down by J-Ass who, to avoid legal problems, elects to be billed as "The Origninal Mr. Bad Stuff, Get On With My Own Bad Self!"
As the bass lines descened, maraccas are heard and Bully Boy comes in slightly off the beat, singing.

Bully Boy: "Evil men obsessed with ambition and unburdened by conscience must be taken very seriously . . ."

Takes one to know one? Is he confessing here? No one can crystalize a moment of sheer evil quite like the Bully Boy.

track three:

On this one, Bully Boy's rushing the melody and we're wondering if he was nervous about invoking 9/11? Then we remembered he never stops invoking 9/11 to justify what he wants.

Bully Boy: "Some have also argued that extremists have been strengthened by our actions in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11, 2001."

No, they were not in Iraq on September 11, 2001. Any who are now are there thanks to the Bully Boy. It's really not good for him to smirk and brag,

track four:

It's simplicity at it's most . . . simple. It's Bully Boy singing while an acoustic guitar strums.

Bully Boy: "What this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this is the road to paradise, though he never offers to go along for the ride."

It's as though he's set his Dewars profile to music!

track five:

He continues the mood with track five which is quite similar in topic and theme.

Bully Boy: "Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth, they have endless ambitions of imperial domination and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves."

As though he found his own journals and read each one out loud. Please note that the background noises you hear are not Bill Frist skinning another cat; it's James Dobson and Pat Robertson speaking in battling tongues.

track six:

Bully Boy: "They seek to end dissent in every form, to control every aspect of life, to rule the soul itself."

He's obviously going for a confessional feel on this track. He creates a portrait to sing of since the words would otherwise hit a little too close to hime. This is his bid to become the Joni Mitchell of the right-wing set.

track seven:

Bully Boy:"One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war."

This is the power ballad about what's been lost. He almost manages sincere as he reflects on the damage he's done to the country, what we once had in the days before Bully.

track eight:

This picks up the pace and lands Bully Boy squarely on the dance floor . . . on his ass.

Bully Boy: "The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges."

Listen to Lynne Cheney's mournful backing voals as she sings "To throw out false charges" over and over. The linear notes tell us this song is "Dedicated to Scoots with love.

track nine:

More than any other track, this is his self flagation number.

Bully Boy: ". . . it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began."

This song, though not officially released yet as a single, is proving so popular with the right wing that he just completed a video shot by Passion of the Christ cinematogropher Caleb Deschanel. In this one, Bully Boy is goaded to sacrifice himself or anything to a more noble cause. He stares at the empty cross for a long time and just when you think he's going to step up on it, Deschanel's daughter, the stringy haired Emily, shows up quicker than anyone can say, "Lie, lie, he told another lie" -- so it's left for Dickie [Cheney] and Donnie [Rumsfeld] to state the obvious which they do in a metronome-like manner throughout via their backup performances.

track ten:

he gets some help with the lyrics from the AP on this one:

"Defending the march to war, Bush said foreign intelligence services and Democrats and Republicans alike were convinced at the time that Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi leader, had weapons of mass destruction. "

This is the call and response number that harkens back to some of the fine work of the girl groups in the sixties. On the chorus, he sings "Everyone thought so" while backup singers Randi Rhodes, Molly Ivins and Maureen Dowd retort, "No, Bully, it's you -- sha-la-la-la . . ."

track eleven:

Bully Boy has described this song to the press as the anti-Tears for Fears and enlists an all male background group, composed of Alberto Gonzales, Jay S. Bybee and General William Boykin, who chant, "Sewing the Seeds of Hate."

Bully Boy: "If the broader Middle East is left to grow in bitterness, if countries remain in misery while radicals stir the resentment of millions, then that part of the world will be a source of endless conflict and mounting danger in our generation and for the next."

The title of this tune is "Sewing the Seeds of Hate" and there's a crazy, mad harmonica solo from Blind Man Ashcroft.

track twelve:

This is probably the most shocking of all the tracks because, on it, Bully tries to broaden his base.

Bully Boy: "Throughout history, tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that murder is justified to serve their grand vision, and they end up alienating decent people across the globe."

Attempting to appeal to all markets, this is a spoken word performance. Bully Boy's calls it "southern rap" and Dick Cheney can be heard singing the chorus to Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" throughout. Listen for the piano solo done by Condi Rice after the second chorus and note that you can add "session musician" to the long list of jobs she can't handle.

track thirteen:

The final track attempts to tie together the larger themes of the album, but in a playful manner.

Bully Boy: "Tyrants and would-be tyrants have always claimed that regimented societies are strong and pure, until those societies collapse in corruption and decay."

This is a jaunty, retro number that calls to mind Cole Porter's "Anything Goes." It's just the sort of up tempo number you'll remember as the Bully Boy economy sends us all to a soup kitchen. Don't miss it when No-Soul Brother #1 calls out, "Work Wives, Sing!" From out of nowhere, the voices of Condi Rice and Harriet Miers start singing, "Tyrants and would-be tyrants, tyrants and would-be tyrants . . ." while Bully Boy boasts repeatedly, "Can't touch this!"

Rating: *

A must have only for masochists. Avoid at all costs.

[Note: "Bully's Comin" is a parody using Laura Nyro's "Eli's Comin." Isaiah's illustration originially appeared at The Common Ills.]
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