Let’s start this track-by-track analysis with a bold, daring “PRIMUS SUCKS.”
Now, let’s begin.
1. Pork Chop’s Little Ditty: Pretty much a twenty-second intro to the album. Nice banjo playing. This track is later revisited in track 14.
2. My Name Is Mud: This may be the best song on the entire album. The story is hilarious (so I kissed him upside the cranium with that aluminum baseball bat), and the bass is very, very well done. But hey, that’s Les for ya. Guitar solos (yup, there’s two) are pretty damn good as well. Watch the video.
3. Welcome To This World: Interesting song. Great bass intro. Typical Les vocals… then the explosion of bass and drums and guitar, then back into subtlety, then back again, and so it goes. Lyrics are friggin’ great. Bass in the middle nearing and during the guitar ambience/solo is great. Pretty good song.
4. Bob: Ah yes, Bob. Bob was a friend who took a belt and hung himself in the doorway of the apartment where he lived. Not a happy story. Very, very low bass. Must have been either a 5 or 6 string. Very unusual guitar licks. The part that starts around 1:18 sounds like something out of a nightmare. Well… maybe. There are a couple of those interludes. Guitar is again very strange sounding. Les’s vocals get weirder as they go, until near the end he just kinda loses it.
5. DMV: YES!!! FREAKIN YES!!! How in God’s name does he do that with the bass? The drums sound great on this song, and the guitar solo at 3:24 is only made better with the strange improvisation Les does on the bass. He takes his fingers, and taps the frets while he drags the fingers… it’s unbelievable. Just listen.
6. The Ol’ Diamondback Sturgeon: Hmm… very repetitive. Not sure what to make of this song. Let’s skip it and move on.
7. Nature Boy: I love this song. The bass that sounds like it’s coming from a rocking ship (sounds weird, I know), the guitar is standard sounding with a sort of talk box feel to it. Each chorus is like a musician’s wet dream. Guitar solo: 5/5. End of conversation. At 2:40, the song takes a complete 180º turn. The drums get more frantic. The bass speeds up… and then… it all goes into this completely wonderful jam sort of thing. And the bass… Jesus H. Christ. The man is a god. Someone put up a shrine. People will come, I swear.
8. Wounded Knee: An interesting percussion piece. Not very long. Drums, xylophones, wooden chimes… you name it. Very atmospheric. Makes you feel like you’re stranded on an island, and you want to leave now.
9. Pork Soda: I still laugh after I hear this song. No one knows what the hell he’s saying. I read a response Les wrote when asking what the lyrics were, and he said they were “the Lord’s prayer sideways.” I tried it; it didn’t work. Bass goes up and down. If you listen to this for too long, you get paranoid. “Grab yourself a can of pork soda/ You’ll be feelin just fine/ Ain’t nothing quite like sittin round the house/ Swiggin down them cans of swine.” That’s all I got. Yay for me.
10. The Pressman: “I AM THE PRESSMAN! ACKNOWLEDGE ME!” Great, great, great song. Great guitar solo. Lyrics are actually really deep. Drums kick on this song (pardon the pun). The whistling and the intensity of the drums near the end give this great feeling of uncomfortability. And then it’s over.
11. Mr. Krinkle: Upright bass, tremelo guitar, steady drum beat. Great combo. Sounds like they had a lot of fun making this song. Three minutes into the song, it takes on this more scary tone. Very strange, yet good.
12. The Air Is Getting Slippery: Funny. Banjo, upright, steady beat, awesome vocals. Very, very funny. Did I mention it was funny?
13. Hamburger Train: I always thought the idea for this song was to make people who were already high on something scared out of their minds. I listen to it, and I’ve never done drugs, and it scares the crap out of me. We can only imagine taking that big, daring step into the realm of “Altered Consciousness + Frightening Surroundings = Dear God, Get Me the Hell Out of Here!” Great instumentation, though. If it matters at this point.
14. Pork Chop’s Little Ditty: We have come back to the first track and expanded on it. This is not only longer, but better. Great banjo, nice foot tapping (???), and an interesting fade out all together.
15. Hail Santa: Ok, so I’m still scratching my head at this one. It’s weird bass, ringing bells, and… that’s it. Not much else on the song.
Well, that’s the track-by-track for ya. Overall, I’m giving this a 5, perhaps not for the instrumentation (which still deserves a 5 anyway), but for the unique feel the album has. This is a band that is hard to categorize. This also applies for bands like Tool, the Residents, or Tom Waits. But Primus will always be known for their eccentricity, both through the singing and through the instrumentation. If you don’t like to listen to an album more than once in order to take the full effect in, this is by no means for you. But you’ll come to appreciate it over time. I know I did.