619. Happy Mondays - Bummed (1988)
1. Country Song
2. Moving In With
3. Mad Cyril
4. Fat Lady Wrestlers
6. Brain Dead
7. Wrote For Luck
8. Bring A Friend
9. Do It Better
This is by no means my favourite album to come out of Manchester, that said it seems to encapsulate not only the sound of Madchester, but also the attitude, the people and the city itself quite well. It just sounds like Manchester.
It isn't for no reason that this album cover is such an emblematic image in this city. This is the Happy Mondays in the golden age of factory records, that golden age that came just before the sharp downfall. Ecstasy is here, so are raves and the Hacienda is properly pumping now, with house music and drugs running freely.
Manchester would never be as crazy as this again but the whiff lingers on. And that is why at the end of the day, even if it isn't comparable to Joy Division or even Magazine, this is an album to be cherished. I have lived here for 8 years so this touches me at a personal level, and even if you find it hard to think of Shaun Ryder touching anyone in a way that isn't probably illegal, it does. But even if you've never been here listen to it and try to get it, you'll be a better person for it.
1. Wrote For Luck
2. Country Music
3. Do It Better
The album's lyrics are characterised by cartoon scenes such as the Chicken licken gang [: "Henny penny, Cocky locky, Goosey loosey, Turkey lurkey" from "Moving In With"), dark character stories, and references to drug use. The dark aspect of the lyrics are frequently matched by the music; this is especially evident in the Joy Division-inspired "Brain Dead," a song which combines gloomy keyboards with the music found elsewhere on the album. The bleak music is complimented by lyrics telling of a "Grass-eyed, Slash-eyed brain dead fucker" who "rips off himself" and "steals from his brother." Also, before the band were forced to change the title, the opening track "Country Song" was called "Some Cunt From Preston", the original title arising from a joke about two deaf people in a bar mishearing that the live act on stage is playing country and western. "Bring A Friend", a song about porn films, includes the notorious line "Well I might be a honky/But I'm hung like a donkey".
However, it should not be misunderstood that the album is a particularly gloomy one. Many of the songs have cheerful melodies and similar lyrics. This is best illustrated by "Lazyitis" (which borrows a melody from the Beatles' "Ticket to Ride") and the energetic "Do It Better" which famously includes the lyrics "Good good good good, Good good good good, Good good good good, Double double good, double double good." These lyrical themes were later explored in the film 24 Hour Party People, which satirizes both the critical acclaim and disdain for the band's lyrics.
The only version of Wrote For Luck that is not the remix: