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Philosophy of the World

The Shaggs - Philosophy of the World
The Shaggs
"Philosophy of the World"
Rounder Rooser Label, 1980
(Re-release of the original
1969 album)

Front cover enlarged

Back cover

Imagine an album of songs with badly written lyrics, sung by a nearly monotone singer, and accompanied by people who can't even tune their instruments, let alone play them, and you have an idea of what The Shaggs' "Philosophy of the World" album is like. Make no mistake...these are not avant garde musicians with a sense of irony. They are just a trio of young girls trying to fulfull their father's dream of being a rock band promoter. It's amazing that they got as far as the studio, much less actually recorded. As bad as the girls sounded, Dad could not be dissuaded from the project. "I want to get them while they're hot," was his answer.

Much has been said about this band, which is to pop music what Ed Wood was to film. It's as if aliens from another planet found these instruments and made noise with them with no sense of music at all. The electric guitar player doesn't even get the basic "bum-titty, bum-titty" rhythm of backup guitar right; she plays "titty-bum, titty-bum" accompanied by a clueless bass player, and a drum player who launches into wild, arhythmic solos for no apparent reason.

Yet I have to say the music is strangely compelling. I found it hard not to be charmed by the utter naïveté of it all. It's not for everyone's taste, though. I played a cut from the album at a recent social event. At first, people streamed into the room from all directions to find out what the awful noise was. Many left after hearing enough (usually about 30 seconds will do), but one of the people who stayed behind actually asked to hear it again.

You can find out more than you'll ever want to know about The Shaggs by exploring http://www.shaggs.com/, which features an MP3 of my favorite song from the album, "My Pal Foot Foot."

Official Shaggs Web Site: http://www.theshaggsonline.com/

Copyright © 2000-2010, Julie Mangin. All Rights Reserved. April 2, 2016