Robert Christgau, excerpts from Consumer Guide, November 21, 1989

MEAT PUPPETS: Monsters (SST) Supposedly a combination of their two 1988 albums (a mirage omelet, thanks a lot), this is really the guitar-god record Curt Kirkwood always had in him–on all but a couple of cuts the arena-rock bottom that’s an interview fantasy for those who haven’t caught them on a ZZ Top night powers his chunky riffs and psychedelic axemanship. What’ll keep them from turning into plutonium is the utterly unmacho vocals, brother harmonies making even “Party Till the World Obeys” and the one that begins “Tie me up/Get it right” seem like critiques of power, which is what they are–psychedelic in the nicest way yet again. A MINUS

MEKONS: Rock ‘n’ Roll (A&M) If you love rock and roll (which is possible even if you slum the spelling with apostrophes), but don’t think Rock and Roll (much less Rock ‘n’ Roll) a propitious title right now, you could love this album, which takes their love-hate relationship with America to the bank. Musically, it’s rock and roll despite the fiddles sawing louder than ever, almost as Clashlike as the promo claims, with Steve Goulding bashing away louder than ever too. Lyrically, in great song after great song, rock and roll is devil’s-breath perfume, capitalism’s “favourite boy child,” a commodity like sex, a log to throw on the fire, a “shining path back to reconquer Americay.” Are they implicated? Of course. Do they love it? Yes and no. A

EDDIE MURPHY: So Happy (Columbia) The failure of this wicked Prince rip to scale the charts reminds us once again how difficult it is for defiant outsiders to fracture pop stereotypes. Murphy will never be El DeBarge, but he’s perfect for cartoon funk, and over the years his wheedling croon has gotten serious. Maybe the problem is that his sexual urges still don’t emanate from very deep inside. Often, in fact, they’re inspired by his bathroom reading–he’s big on locations, spends an entire song convincing her to do it in a chair. Inspirational Dialogue: She: “Are you close?” He: “If I get any closer I be behind you.” B PLUS

PIXIES: Doolittle (4AD/Elektra) They’re in love and they don’t know why–with rock and roll, which is heartening in a time when so many college dropouts have lost touch with the verities. You can tell from the bruising riffs, the rousing choruses, the cute little bass melodies, the solid if changeable beat. But not from any words they sing. They’ll improve in direct relation to their improved contact with the outside world. Getting famous too fast could ruin them. B PLUS

Robert Christgau

Der Kommisar, Falco

GERMAN ORIGINAL LYRICS
Two, three, four
Eins, zwei drei
Na, es is nix dabei
Na, wenn ich euch erzähl’ die G’schicht’
Nichts desto trotz,
Ich bin es schon gewohnt
Im TV-Funk da läuft es nicht. –
Jah, sie war jung,
Das Herz so rein und weiß
Und jede Nacht hat ihren Preis,
Sie sagt: “Sugar Sweet,
Jah’ got me rapp’in to the heat!”
Ich verstehe, sie ist heiß,
Sie sagt:”Baby, look,
I miss my funky friends,”
Sie meint Jack und Joe und Jill.
Mein Funkverständnis,
Ja, das reicht zur Not,
Ich überreiss’, was sie jetzt will. –
Ich überleg’ bei mir,
Ihr’ Nas’n spricht dafür,
Währenddessen ich noch rauch’,
Die Special Places sind ihr wohlbekannt,
Ich mein’, sie führt ja U-Bahn auch.
Dort singen’s:
“Drah’ Di net um, oh oh oh
Schau, schau, der Kommissar geht um! oh oh oh
Er wird Dich anschau’n
Und du weißt warum.
Die Lebenslust bringt Di um.”
Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

Hey man, wanna buy some stuff, man?
Did you ever rap that thing Jack?
So rap it to the beat!
Wir treffen Jill and Joe
Und dessen Bruder hip
Und auch den Rest der coolen Gang
Sie rappen hin, sie rappen her
Dazwischen Kratzen’s ab die Wänd’. –
Dieser Fall ist klar,
Lieber Herr Kommissar,
Auch wenn Sie and’rer Meinung sind:
Den Schnee auf dem wir alle
Talwärts fahr’n,
Kennt heute jedes Kind.

Jetzt das Kinderlied:
“Drah Di net um, oh oh oh
Schau, schau, der Kommissar geht um! oh oh oh
Er hat die Kraft und wir sind klein und dumm
Dieser Frust macht uns stumm.”

“Drah Di net um, oh oh oh
schau, schau, der Kommissar geht um! oh oh oh
Wenn er Dich anspricht
Und du weißt warum,
Sag eahm
Dein Leb’n bringt Di um.”

ENGLISH TRANSLATION
Two, three, four
One, two, three
Well, it doesn’t matter
Well, when I tell you the story
None the less,
I’m quite used to it
It won’t be running in TV-Funk (magazine). –
Yes, she was young,
Her heart so pure and white
And every night has its price.
She says: “Sugar Sweet,
ya got me rappin’ to the heat!”
I understand, she’s hot,
She says: “Baby, you know,
I miss my funky friends,”
She means Jack and Joe and Jill.
My understanding of funk,
yeah, it’ll do in a crunch,
I understand what she wants now. –
I think it over,
Her nose does the talking,
While I continue to smoke,
She knows the ‘Special Places’ very well;
I think she takes the metro, too.
There they’re singing:
“Don’t turn around, look, look,
the Kommissar is out and about!
He’ll keep his eye on you
and you know why.
Your zest for life will kill you.”
All right, Mr. Commissioner?

Hey man, wanna buy some stuff, man?
Did you ever rap that thing Jack?
So rap it to the beat!
We meet Jill and Joe
And his bother hip
And also the rest of the cool Gang
They rap to, they rap fro
In between they scrape it off the walls. –
This case is clear,
Dear Mr. Commissioner,
Even if you have a different opinion:
The snow on which we all
ski downhill,
every child knows.

Now the nursery rhyme:
“Don’t turn around, look, look,
the Kommissar is out and about!
He has the power and we’re little and dumb;
this frustration makes us mum.”

“Don’t turn around, look, look,
the Kommissar is out and about!
When he talks to you
and you know why,
tell him:
‘Your life is killing you.'”

translated from German to English via azlyrics

Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

TIME – 81-83 / PLACE – New York City.

NY Times Style Magazine has a pretty groovy thing on this thirty six month period in the Big Apple.Were those three years an inflexion point?

A polarizing Republican in the White House. Protests for equality in the streets. A new wave of sexual self-identification. This was N.Y.C. in the early ’80s, during the 36 months in which it changed art, design, activism, food, literature and love — forever.

Frank Bruni makes the case.

Actors reminisce.

24 hours/Oral History.