5 Unsettling Songs For These Unsettling Times
2020 makes us feel weird, so here's some weird music
On the latest episode of The Joe Budden Podcast, co-host Jamil "Mal" Clay attempted to dissect Drake's latest single, "Laugh Now, Cry Later."
"Sh*t is so different now that we not outside," he said of the song. "I just can't feel music a certain way. I know it's a good record, but you can't really feel the record though."
Music does indeed impact us in a vastly different way now that we're confined indoors. Summer 2020 felt devoid of a definitive "song of the summer," considering most of us kept our socializing to a minimum (unless you were an a**hole). Now, as fall slowly creeps in, we prepare to take shelter and brace for some of the most unsettling cold months in history.
Sh*t is weird—is what I'm saying, and music remains the soundtrack to our lives, so we've compiled a list of strange songs that can add to this unnerving existence that is 2020.
"Hocus Pocus" by Focus
Dutch progressive rock band Focus has sold over a million albums and undergone numerous lineup changes over the years. Still, they remain one of the most influential rock bands to ever come out of the Netherlands, with this memeable performance of "Hocus Pocus" garnering them international acclaim.
The performance is an absolute whirlwind. Their guitar work is slick and sophisticated, but then the yodeling starts. Then the hysterical screaming starts. Then the band shreds in response. Then the Amish-hippie looking lead singer Thijs van Leer whips out a flute and somehow channels his shrill screamo into the flute? I don't know. There's a lot to take in here. But one thing is for sure: That drummer is rocking it.
Cool Ethyl by Alice Cooper
The song isn't musically as strange as "Hocus Pocus," but let's remember it is an Alice Cooper song. The track's tail follows a narrator as he makes love to "Cold Ethyl," a rotting corpse. "She's cool in bed, well she oughta be 'cause Ethyl's dead." It was definitely worth spelling out for us, because calling her "frigid as an Eskimo pie" just didn't paint the picture clear enough for me.
"Gin and Juice" by Richard Cheese
What's more unsettling than your favorite hits being stripped down to lounge music? Comedian Mark Jonathan Davis started Richard Cheese back in the mid-1990s and has since toured extensively around the U.S. and sold thousands of records.
While their swing cover of Disturbed's "Down With The Sickness" is particularly cringy, hearing Cheese say with all sincerity: "G's up, hoes down" over a smooth jazz beat is total 2020 energy.
"Let Me Teach You How To Eat" by Reverend Horton Heat
Described as a rock and roll band with "'50's sensibilities," Reverend Horton Heat mixes country, surf, punk, big band, and swing with humorous lyrics that have often been used in video games and cartoons.
But here, we just have an innocent rock song about cooking! When Rev says, "I'll teach you things that you never know / How to choke a chicken and make a meat stew," it is definitely not sexual. A creepy old white man telling us how to do things "the right way" is total 2020 energy, though.
"Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" by Primus
Formed in El Sobrante, California, the absurdist southern-rock band Primus is best known for being the brilliant minds behind the South Park theme song. But "Wynona's Big Brown Beaver" is like a fever dream.
Creepy cowboy costumes, unnerving slide guitars, and a narrative that follows a deranged woman named Wynona who finds a porcupine but is convinced it is a beaver: It all makes absolutely no sense. But 2020 doesn't make sense either, so somehow it all fits.