People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People in the World (album review)

Happy Wednesday!

I found this album after listening to the Johnny Hobo album on youtube which is a shameless segue into something I’ve been thinking about which is the ways I get music and why.  I’ve noticed that I oscillate between youtube, spotify, and soundcloud in this orborostic journey to the “ideal music app”.  

However I have come to appreciate the difference in features and have made this chart for your enjoyment:    

Music Apps

I couldn’t pass when this album immediately passes the “Trio Test”:
1. great band name Andrew Jackson Jihad (AAJ – it’s a bonus they have a cool initialism(1))
2. eye catching album art (ALBUM ART PICTURE)  
3. intriguing album title “People Who can Eat Other People Are the Luckiest People in the World”  


The album was released by Asian Man Records on September 11, 2007. The title is derived from a line in Kurt Vonnegut‘s book, Hocus Pocus[4] which in turn is a reference to Barbra Streisand‘s song “People.” The album was recorded and mixed by Jalipaz Nelson at Audioconfusion in Mesa, Arizona.” (Source: People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World, Wiki)

Bands who name their albums after Vonnegut books tend to get my attention. “People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World” is AJJ’s second album.  Its genre is listed, seemingly paradoxically, listed as folk punk/anti-folk, but as you’ll see it fits the self contradictory and patchwork style this band has.  

I love how these 3 are connected in the inspiration of the AJJ album.

People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World (link)

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty; all music composed by AJJ.

No. Title Length
1. “Rejoice” 3:15
2. “Brave As a Noun” 1:14
3. “Survival Song” 2:28
4. “Bad Bad Things” 1:59
5. “No More Tears” 1:02
6. “Bells & Whistles” 1:28
7. “Randy’s House” 1:23
8. “A Song Dedicated to the Memory of Stormy the Rabbit” 3:04
9. “People II: The Reckoning” 4:08
10. “Personal Space Invader” 2:59
11. “People” 2:17
Total length: 25:17

(Source: People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World, Wiki)

Thoughts:

  1. I love this song for the lyrics, the horns give it a nice ska sound.  I like the “rustic” choice of including before and after song moments like at the beginning and end of this song. I like the “realist-optimist” philosophy (link to “Rejoice” lyrics)
  2. The first thing to strike me about this song other than the conflicting angry-lyrics to upbeat-banjo is how it ends just so abruptly when listened to alone. This song is a good example of anti-folk where the narrator of the song criticises the main culture and follow stylish trends and makes the jab at art “If this is how you folks make art it’s fucking depressing” (link to “Brave as a Noun” lyrics) but then goes on to say how cowardly and hermit he is and how he is “too cowardly to take a stand I want to keep my nose clean”.   I like the general sense of humour in the lyrics and structure of the song.
  3. Like banjo, “and we totally ripped off a man named Woody Guthrie”, reference to this song “Do Re Mi” by Guthrie (link to “Do Re Mi” lyrics) literally lifting the second/fourth stanza for their 4th stanza , mention impressive length (lines: 32), I like the story arc with the last lines “And I give thanks to all of you for listening//To the Story of how We learned to survive” (link to “Survival Song” lyrics)
  4. Obligatory murder ballad (at least one per folk album) (link to “Bad Bad Things” lyrics)
  5. “No more racism//no more discrimination//no more fat dumb fucks keeping people out of our nation” (link to “No More Tears” lyrics

    Image result for trump golfing

    Fat dumb fuck *trying* to keep people out of our nation

  6. This song gets straight weird. (link to “Bells & Whistles” lyrics)
  7. FYI the song ends at 1m18s.  The rest is silence. Can verify. (link to “Randy’s House” lyrics)
  8. I assume Stormy is the rabbit in the album art. RIP Stormy. I also like how the story of Stormy can be read from either the pov of the rabbit or a human, a nice meditation on mortality. (link to “A Song Dedicated to the Memory of Stormy the Rabbit” lyrics)
  9. Really like the acid guitar at the beginning, right about 2m it almost could be split into 2 songs (given their avg song length [2m30s] it would make sense) which works clever with the references to bipolar with the song going from depressive mellow to manic aggressive (link to “People II the Reckoning” lyrics)
  10. I really like the whistling sound, it sounds like a “UFO” kind of sound, gives me a nice image of a desert sunset,
    mauve desert

    desert sunset

    “sounds like shit” is great at the end, kind of a SJW type character in the song (link to “Personal Space Invader” lyrics)

  11. I really like the closing lyrics “and people are my religion, because I believe in them//and people are my friends, and people are my enemies//i have faith in my fellow man//and i only hope he has faith in me” (link to “People” by AJJ lyrics) Here’s a link to the song by Barbra Streisand – People (link to “People” by Barbra Streisand lyrics).  

 

Overall:

 

Taken as a whole I generally enjoy the album.  It’s an aural amalgamation of noises that I like individually and in other genres (bass in psychobilly, acoustic/banjo in blues/folk, acid guitar in…well fuck it what genre hasn’t used acid guitar?) and it works despite itself quite to my pleasure.  This musical patchwork style fits with their band name and eccentrically long album title, and even some of the songs using “swatches” of lyrics from other songs.

The lyrics for each song are creative and ambitious in a modest way.  None of the songs’ length is padded with unnecessary lyrical repetition which results in tight short songs at an average length of 2m30s.  All together with the quick succession of upbeat songs and the generally fun lyrics the album is easily listened to on repeat a few times.  

I’m sure there are more Easter eggs in the lyrics I’m missing, especially considering I haven’t seen the play Funny Girl or read the book Hocus Pocus yet.         

Footnotes:

  1. This is not an example of an acronym:
    “a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of word sand pronounced as a separate word, as Wac from Women’s Army Corps, OPEC from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation.” (Source: Dictionary.com definition 1)

    Rather an initialism:
    a set of initials representing a name, organization,or the like, with each letter pronounced separately,as FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation.” (Source: Dictionary.com definition 1)

    I realise that the second definition of both includes the other but in a commitment to clearer communication, I like to make the effort to use the acronym/initialism differentiation.    
  2. Anti-folk: “(sometimes antifolk or unfolk) is a music genre that seeks to subvert the earnestness of politically charged 1960s folk music. The defining characteristics of anti-folk are difficult to identify, as they vary from one artist to the next. The music tends to sound raw or experimental. It generally mocks perceived seriousness and pretension in the established mainstream music scene.[1]” (Source: “Anti-Folk” Wiki)

    Basically, if I’m reading this right, it’s saying “Anti-folk bands take the piss out of the politiko-folk?” This seems to fit AJJ.
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