My original 5 Quirky Songs that Make Me Immensely Happy post is closing in on a decade old, so I it’s time for a refresh and reboot. I dug deep for 8 more quirky songs that bring me joy, this time exclusively pulling tracks from my record collection.
Within this list, you’ll find 5 songs from LPs, and 3 off 7-inch singles.
Alright… Let’s begin!
Beat Happening: Red Head Walking
First up is Beat Happening with their song “Red Head Walking.” K Records label head Calvin Johnson has long been a focal point in the underground music scene dating back to the pre-grunge days of Olympia, WA. His band Beat Happening puts him front and center, and this song is quite indicative of his quirky dance moves and deep baritone vocals.
In part, I love it because I’m a ginger, but it’s also an all around fun song! Johnson’s vocal styling is always on point, regardless of the song, but pair that with the lyrics on “Red Head Walking” and that’s enough to bring a sardonic smile to my face:
Heed what this wise man says
Keep away from red heads
BOAT was among the first bands I covered on FensePost way back in 2006, so they will always hold a special place in my heart. Frontman Dee Krane’s throaty vocals and sometimes self-deprecating lyrics make for equally quirky and fun songs that easily get stuck in your heat. “Metabolism” is off the band’s 2020 LP Tread Lightly.
The album opener is a song about getting older, and it’s one almost all of us can relate to at some point in our life. 2020 was the year I turned 40, so to say aging was on my mind is an understatement. Here are the lyrics:
My hairline fades to the backLyrics to “Metabolism” by BOAT
My metabolism’s way off track
They say there’s wisdom when your hair turns white
Your favorite dogs they still might bite
There’s a lot on your mind all of the time
I distinctly remember when my mom turned 40. We had a surprise party for her and she received a gag “Over the Hill” mug as a gift. I’ve always associated 40 with that mug, though now that I’ve topped that peak, I don’t really feel any different.
BOAT’s approach is like mine: one with a hint of sarcasm and a little self-deprecation. Quirkiness aside, I miss going to shows and seeing these guys live…
The album came on black vinyl and as a highly limited edition of 100 on pink wax. Guess which one I snapped up?
Fishboy: Half Time at the Proper Name Spelling Bee
Fishboy is another artist that’s been both a longtime favorite and one that dominates the quirky song theme. Nearly all songs by the band are fun and a little strange thanks to Eric Michener’s comic book style of creating albums. (Of late, they are usually paired with comics he draws himself.)
Albatross was an early rendition of this thematic concept album style Fishboy developed, and many others followed. The story the album follows can be summed up in the sub title’s somewhat vague plot description: How We Failed to Save the Lone Star State with the Power of Rock and Roll.
Tucked into the middle of the album/story is “Half Time at the Proper Name Spelling Bee” which you can hear below:
The Halo Benders: Don’t Touch My Bikini
“Don’t Touch My Bikini” is the second from K Records’ Calvin Johnson to be on the list. This one, though, is from The Halo Benders. Featuring Doug Martsch, who would go on to front Built to Spill, The Halo Benders is probably my favorite group featuring Johnson. It’s a little edgier and a little catchier.
And “Don’t Touch My Bikini” is probably among the more memorable things to hail from the band. Take a listen:
In addition to getting the 7″ single treatment via the wax I shared in the video I shot to accompany this post, it found a welcome home on the LP God Don’t Make No Junk (which I have on cassette).
Jens Lekman: You Are The Light
I love this song. Not only is “You Are The Light” by Jens Lekman a fun and quirky song with lyrics guaranteed to make you smile, the accompanying music video is on point!
What makes this one so great is that it’s such an oddball love song:
Yeah I got bustedLyrics to “You Are The Light” by Jens Lekman
So I used my one phone call
A song to you on the radio
The song can be found on his 2004 LP When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog. I picked up the SC25 version on green vinyl. SC25 marked Secretly Canadian’s 25th Anniversary with a handful of reissues on colored vinyl with corresponding OBI strips.
Modest Mouse: Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
Sometimes all you need is a funky bass line and Isaac Brock’s strange lyrics. Yes, it’s “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” by Modest Mouse off their 2000 LP Moon & Antarctica. Modest Mouse is no stranger to quirky songs, as many by the band would fit the bill–even those that could be considered to have more serious lyrics.
For me, Moon & Antarctica was seminal in what would come as I dove deep into indie rock around that time, and bands like Modest Mouse and Built to Spill helped pave the way for an obsession of a lifetime.
Suburban Kids with Biblical Names: Marry Me
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names hails from Sweden and is often reminiscent of Steven Merritt of The Magnetic Fields. Deep vocals with strange-ish songs about love and sadness; sounds about right, huh? “Marry Me” follows suit, perhaps more than any other song by SKWBN:
The single for “Marry Me” was the only release the band had on vinyl (that I’m aware of) aside from a split with a few other bands including Half Handed Cloud. The song is also the opening track off the group’s lone LP #3.
Kurt Vile: Loading Zones
I can’t tell you how much I love Kurt Vile’s “Loading Zones” off his 2018 album Bottle It In. Vile’s lyrics read and sound like they shouldn’t work, which is one of the many things that makes his such a great songwriter. That said, “Loading Zone” fits perfectly. It shouldn’t work as a song, but it works REALLY WELL as a song!
Thematically, it’s about freeloading from loading zone to loading zone to avoid paying for parking. Brilliant! And it’s catchy and fun and the video above puts a cheesy-ass grin on my face.
I park for free
One stop shop life for the quick fix
Before you get a ticket
That’s the way I live my life
I park for free
Vile proves time and again that he can write a good song, quirky or not!
My copy of Bottle It In is on cool baby blue wax! Check out my unboxing video below:
What quirky songs from your record collection would you add to a list like this? Let me know in the comments!