Just as Thanksgiving was a reminder of Irish rock band the Cranberries, today's national holiday is a celebration of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and quirky Seattle alternative rock trio the Presidents Of The United States Of America. For your Presidents Day, enjoy this list of the six best POTUSA songs. Feel free to leave your favorite songs or your disappointment for the exclusion of "Lump" in the comments.
6. "Feather Pluckin'" Openers are great, but the second track sets the tone for an album as a whole. The Presidents opened its self titled debut, wisely, with "Kitty." Placing "Feather Pluckin'" next on the tracklist may have been wiser, as the song plays like a thesis statement for the band, an absurd tale of guitarist monkeys and frogs rocking out "really really hard." It has lyrics about animals and references to rock music and dad humor, lest we forget what "that's totally feather pluckin' insane" implies. That's, like, eighty percent of the Presidents' discography in one track. On a deeper level, the song might be a play on the inability for humans to comprehend communication between animals, perhaps even poking fun at the ignorance of our kind by dumbfoundedly noting "Nobody taught them how." Or maybe it was just a song about secret animal jam sessions. Either way, it's a precursor to Punk Farm.
5. "Jazz Guy" Some people who are reading this might be unaware that the Presidents Of The United States Of America is still a functioning rock band who has released three records in this millennium. If you did know that, you're probably a member of Ludo. "Jazz Guy" is the highlight of 2000's barely noticed Freaked Out And Small. Artistic maturation is tough when your shtick is goofiness, but the Presidents nailed "Jazz Guy" by poking at an entire genre of musician: "I wanna learn all the chords / Solo 'till everyone in the room is bored" The song is sarcastic and cheeky, but it mocks the guy, not the jazz; singer Dave Dederer's first words are "I wanna be a jazz guy and play the greatest American music," and even the most serious jazz aficionado can't argue with the rampant indulgence referred to in the song. To further the joke, the album's next track "Meanwhile Back In The City" starts with a walking bass line and swing beat. Maybe he does want to be a jazz guy after all.
4. "Stranger" POTUSA (as the band is lovingly abbreviated) hails from Seattle. The Stranger is one of the city's alt-weeklies. "Stranger" has a double meaning: it's a song about people being infatuated with people they've seen in passing, but all the lyrics to the verses are culled from the Missed Connections section in the personal ads of the paper that shares the song's name. These personal accounts make for songwriting gold. "You, Lynyrd Skynyrd hat / Me, little kitty." "You seem pretty cool for a naked chick in a booth." "Stranger" furthers the mathematical principal of truth > fiction. Somehow, the song would not be the same if it came out today and was called "Craigslist."
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