I mistakenly and regrettably thought I had already posted a work by the fantastic and terrifically named Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine. They produce lounge covers of Hot 100 hits, which I suppose in an age of YouTube parodies is no longer notable, if it weren’t for the fact they are so damn well done. I don’t know if it’s scientifically possible for everything to be oversaturated, but it sure feels that way – I just watched a Grimes video and was left thinking how in the fuck did this rack up 33 million views? Damn Daniel just rocketed to fame and achieved calling-in-a-false-report-of-matricide-level backlash in a 24 hour period. The level of sweeping unjustified visibility just makes it all the more confusing that Richard Cheese isn’t raking in the bitches in a snow leopard fur coat.
It’s difficult to pick one song to illustrate the creative genius of Richard Cheese. He covers a variety of hits from the 1980s to “Hotline Bling,” and at least for me, the emotional impact of a lounge cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” is very different from Khia’s “My Neck, My Back.” I settled on Nirvana’s “Rape Me” because I think it illustrated the personal appeal of Richard Cheese best. I find a rapid (but pleasant) oscillation between giggling at the silliness of the concept, being impressed by the actual product, and falling down the mind-fuck rabbit hole wherein I realize the place of genre in music and the level of assumptions and conditioned emotional responses that go along with it.
Nothing like the bleakness of grunge to highlight the sense of ease that accompanies lounge music, and a man in a animal fur tuxedo doing it well to confuse the fuck out of you.
When left to it’s own devices, my skin falls somewhere between unfortunate and never-leave-the-house-again. After dutifully going to the dermatologist every three months since I was sixteen, my doctor and I had an explosive breakup when I told her to go fuck herself and then cried as she stormed out of the room. After that I took the Trust No Bitch approach to medical decision-making, and started making exhaustive lists of every medication and product I’d ever taken, taking note of classification and mechanism of action and common side effects. I don’t advocate the belief in the internet as a form of medical training, but if you get the sense your concerns are being ignored, or that just maybe that bitch is even dumber than you are, find a reputable source of information with nothing to sell (like the Mayo Clinic) and advocate for yourself.
Jo March from Little Women
To be honest, I always wanted to be Beth. Poor, lovely, helpless, blonde Beth who died before any of her less attractive qualities could be revealed. That was womanhood to me, being pretty and offending no one. But in the back of my mind Jo always stood out, because she was a writer which was what I wanted to be. As time has passed it’s become clear that if Beth is the ideal of femininity I sometimes struggle against, Jo is Leslie Knope riding on the back of a lioness holding a collection of arguments by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For all Beth’s saccharine pronouncements of love and beauty in the world, and her sacred place as the moral center of the March household, it was Jo selling her hair that moved me the most, even as a child. Jo was the only one who got shit done. While the rest of her family were running around with chickens with their heads cut off, bemoaning the financial future of the March household, Jo actually did something. She didn’t ask permission, she didn’t look for praise or sympathy, she just saw what needed to be done and did it. With that kind of drive, is it any wonder why she lacked patience for Laurie, who was a bit of a pansy anyway? Jo demonstrated a sense of self-determination I truly admired, but took years to appreciate, and taught me being viewed a stubborn, manly, bitch was more than worthwhile trade off for actual accomplishments.
“Let’s go, Michael son, we’re taking you home.” has got to be the most depressing lyric in all of musical history. But goddamn this song is beautiful.