100 for 2000 – #40. Ugly Duckling – Taste the Secret

To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.

2003 – #10. Ugly Duckling – Taste the Secret
(Emperor Norton)

Friends of mine liked this record. And in particular a girl I liked. So sue me. I bought an album I would never normally buy because a girl I liked liked it. I have no idea where that girl is anymore, and even Ugly Duckling have fell off my radar. But Taste the Secret was awesome.

So it’s the last album for 2003 and looking through my iPod, this album gets played A LOT. It has everything I love about music – energy, lyrics, humour, smarts, fun. It just happened to be in hip hop.

In the end though, it’s all about the smarts. Beautifully made fun of in Dumb It Down, a song in response to their label telling them to dial down the clever lyrics. And it is clever – I’ve yet to meet a musician who doesn’t love Opening Act, a spot on dissection of what it feels like to be the first band on that no one cares about.

More fun – Turn It Up, although tries a little bit too hard to be a hit single, is great on it’s own terms. Witty, hilarious, exciting. Mr Tough Guy is a cheeky attack on gangster rap and it’s followers. Potty Mouth is wordplay about swearing. All great tunes, all should have been hits.

Then there is the hilarious theme of the record -the Meatshake. It’s a fictional fast food place that sells what sounds like liquid kebabs, and their fictional competitors, the veggie hut. Their fight goes over a couple of songs and a few skits. It’s weird and wonderful.

I went back and got their older stuff, and keep an eye out for new stuff still. I guess I’m not in a place, life-wise, where much hip hop comes on my radar. And in 2003, hip hop seemed pretty shit from the outside.  Which is why it’s great to find little gems like this one.

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