Thursday, February 22, 2007

The politics of nations got me down

I think that not living in Canada means I'm not able to totally understand Prozzak (technically Prozzäk). Ostensibly the cartoon duo Simon and Milo (the name under which they released their U.S. album), the actual minds behind Prozzak were Canadians Jay Levine and James McCollum, who developed the duo as a side project to entertain themselves during the bus rides between performances for their "real" band, the Philosopher Kings. They had quite the backstory behind them, as well as lots of animated videos illustrating their adventures as Simon, from the Isle of Man, struggled to find love, a task he never seemed to complete (that's making it sound too mushy--it wasn't at all; despite the fact that the music, complete with the accents--in addition to Simon's, tall guitar-carrying Milo is supposed to be Austrian--seems as if it might appeal more to kids and the fact that the lyrics can seem very young as well, I think Prozzak was supposed to feel slightly subversive to kids in a funny way...not that they were actually subversive...they were parodies, I guess, though exactly of what I'm not sure [the New York Times--yes, they even had their own article in it!--and maybe even the band's own creators would have you believe it's Europop groups, but I think that's a conversation for another time], and with some of the things they got involved in or said, you wouldn't necessarily want five-year-olds to be watching). If you want to sort of understand them (not that I totally do--as I said, I didn't really live through them), the song and video for their hit "Sucks To Be You" (and that title should give some indication of what to expect from them; sadly, I can't find a version of the video with the introduction, teaching us all the important life lesson that when your friend is down, the thing to do is buy him a milkshake...which apparently all bars serve), though I prefer one of their second album songs. For further viewing, you could watch their "legend" (i.e., backstory).

Omobolasire--this is a song that's easy to not like; it's definitely not to everyone's taste. It also, like Zoop's song a week or so ago, traffics in broad cultural generalizations. However, it's incredibly catchy, with a beat that feels designed to clapping along with, especially near the end. For me, "Omobolasire" (which I can never seem to spell correctly) has a lot more appeal than the more novelty-esque "Sucks To Be You;" it's more energetic, fun, and happy, too, which may have something to do with my favoring it. Regardless, expect a bouncy pop song. Prozzak seem to draw a lot of comparisons to Europop, but, though I guess I can see where those are coming from, I don't know that I totally agree with them; some of the beats, maybe, and maybe even some of the songs, but some of their songs seem less...vibrant and bright, I guess, than what I associate Europop with; that probably has something to do with the vocals. There's also (acoustic) guitar in them, as should probably be expected when one of the characters is always carrying a guitar around with him. You'll probably have this song stuck in your head for days.

To buy Prozzak's debut album Hot Show, go here (physical). I still need to buy their second album, but I've heard good things; you can buy it here if you want to (physical). Their first album came out in the late '90's and their second in 2000 (later followed by a U.S. album mixing the two); they released another album in 2005, but from what I've heard, it's more serious and less poppy.

Next up: Melodifestivalen! C'mon, Sanna, we're counting on you!


Nick said...

Ah, good choice! I love Prozzak (in fact, they were one of the first bands featured on alienhits). Definitely get the second album. I prefer it to the first, actually. Monday Morning, Saturday People, and Be As are all FANTASTIC!!

Troy said...

I can't believe you posted Prozzak!

I was gonna post about them next!

LOL... You're awesome.

I think I may do a prozzak post too... probably talk about their 2nd album tho :P


Poster Girl said...

I think I may have to buy it! I'm not sure why I haven't done so before now.

Strange! :) I'm looking forward to your post--you'll have a better sense for them than I do.

Greg said...

The Simon & Milo song I know really well is "Get a Clue", which was used as the theme song to the (awful) Disney Channel Original Movie of the same name. They played the video on the Disney Channel constantly. My brother and I loved it. I downloaded their US album and didn't like it as much, but maybe I'll give some of it a second chance.

Poster Girl said...

I think I remember hearing Disney "remixed" the Prozzak songs for the Simon and Milo album, but I can't imagine there was that much difference between them. Still, it is in a very hit or miss style--it's an easy sort of song to not like!