Sunday, June 26, 2011
Back in the Day #17 (Quadruple Header): Moloko
Whoa. So, apparently I haven't done one of these little flashbacks since last August. That's a pretty big fail, as these aren't exactly time consuming or particularly tough to jot down. So, let's relaunch Back in the Day with a band that warrants a quadruple header of music videos out of the vaults of my personal history: Moloko. A Clockwork Orange references aside, Moloko is one of those groups I stumbled upon during my adolescent obsession with checking out as many soundtracks as possible from the library. Though they never hit it big in America (though many have heard "Sing it Back"), Moloko were basically "music from and inspired by" superstars. My first run in with them was circa the summer of 1997. Ah yes, I remember it well. Age 12, wearing my Tamagotchi on a lanyard around my neck, painting door murals at Art Camp, running about in the woods playing capture the flag...and having absolutely no shame about really, genuinely enjoying the films like, um, Batman and Robin. I've seen Batman and Robin more than a couple times and you just need to shut up and deal with that because 1. I was twelve. 2. it had bright colors. 3. I did think it was hilarious. 4. I've always really liked Poison Ivy. 5. motorcycles. 6. everyone else at school liked it too. No, I wouldn't have jumped off a cliff if everyone else at school was. I mean, please, I hated those kids. My point is: when you're 12 these things tend to seem more appealing than they actually are. Also...we're way off topic. MOLOKO!
Moloko had a song on the Batman and Robin soundtrack (which was not a bad album, all things considered) called "Fun for Me." If you remember the movie the way I do (which you are likely fortunate enough not to), this song is played as Alicia Silverstone goes to the sketchy land of the Gotham miscreants pre-motorcycle race. I didn't own this CD, but my friend E. (who was also in Art Camp), did. We were pretty sick of an older camper's domination of the boombox for the last couple weeks. She was obsessed with Beck, and while I do enjoy Beck and wound up purchasing Odelay...we'd been listening to Odelay on repeat for days and days and days. Enough was enough, obviously. One of us had decided that it would be a good idea to exact our revenge take-over via the construction of the weirdest mixtape we could manage with the tools at our disposal. As we were 12 and really didn't own too much that could be described as 'random' or 'odd' at that moment in time, the cornerstone of our effort was going to be "Fun for Me." Honestly, I don't even think we managed to finish putting together the tape. The song did, however, turn up on another of the personal mixes I tried to force on my friends during our carpools. If they'd actually listened to my mixtapes, they probably would have been way more into legit music instead of Hanson, but no, no, they just ignored the knowledge I'd accumulated from my precious soundtracks. Their loss, obviously.
Post-Batman, I encountered Moloko on other soundtracks. The truly oddball "Indigo" showed up in Mystery Men, but it was "The Time is Now" on the 2000 Sex and the City TV soundtrack that made me start actually seeking out their other music. "The Time is Now" was pretty much 16-year old me's favorite song. It's also a song I can karaoke the fuck out of if necessary. Because it's slow, I tend to avoid it, but, I mean, I slay that shit. Million goddamn Singstar points. True fact. I dig Moloko and sought out Do You Like My Tight Sweater? and Things to Make and Do like a junkie in search of a fix. Long before we had Lady Gaga, we had Roisin Murphy. Granted, Murphy never took the costumed avant garde approach to pop music quite as far as Gaga now has, but her music certainly accomplishes something significantly more enigmatic than Gaga's rah rah dum de dum ga ga repetitions have yet to. Me and my camo-print Tamagotchi were clever enough to catch on back in the day. The band proper may be, for all practical purposes, broken up, but I can still use them as one of the many reasons my record collection from that time period forward started slanting more towards Anglophilia while everyone else went through that Goo Goo Dolls/Matchbox 20 thing.
Moloko / the time is Now from Xelob on Vimeo.