#83, "Other 99," Big Audio Dynamite (1988)

Today I was supposed to do "Mayonnaise" by Smashing Pumpkins but I am so tired of talking about Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Corgan in particular that I banished them from my list and added an essential tune that I'd forgotten about earlier in the countdown. I'll come clean when we get to that one. I felt I should let you know. 


Last week was Joe Strummer week, as it included a Mescaleros song, a Clash song, and a song Joe covered with the Mescaleros which I mentioned in the write up. I love Joe obviously but in the Clash continuum I'm really more of a Mick person. I tend to like his Clash tunes a hair better and I LOVE Big Audio Dynamite. 


Does anyone else? I feel like they're underrated but don't actually know. Pete likes them of course but Natalie is the only person outside of my household I can recall ever mentioning them. Is it because they haven't really toured the United States probably since the 90s (apart from maybe an appearance at Coachella or something)? Or is it because they were kind of the Sublime of the 80s in that they shoehorned every musical genre they liked into one project? It is a lot. Chaotic. There are a lot of samples. They were both dancey and political before that was fashionable. 


When I first started listening to them in the early 2000s, I recognized "Rush" but couldn't place it. Later I realized that a version of it appeared on the So I Married an Axe Murderer soundtrack, which I owned (it's used in the butcher shop montage for those familiar with the film). "Rush" probably should have been the one to represent BAD on my top 100 list because it is so good, but I have a lot of songs on this list that are the band's biggest hit and wanted to give myself more credit as a BAD fan than that. 


BAD has a ton of great videos! Unfortunately they did not make a video for this particular song, but you should watch them if you are even a little interested. They're weird and theatrical and make excellent use of costumes. I don't know where this came from because the Clash were so straight laced and Mick was famously impatient with this stuff (or maybe just extremely moody). Either way, they're great. 


Regarding "Other 99," this track is in my top-two BAD songs because it's musically on point but mainly because of the lyrical content. Essentially: don't beat yourself up for not being the best. I think that attitude has come into fashion recently and we will be happier, more centered people because of it. Moving from a place where we are prioritizing ambition and success (however one defines it, monetarily, creatively, in terms of one's career trajectory, etc.) ahead of relationships and emotional well-being. Like, you even see professional athletes choosing to be there for the birth of their child instead of playing in a playoff game. That's great and increasingly normal. I can only imagine how novel it was in 1988, knowing how odd it struck me 20 years ago when I began to digest this concept.