Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Heartland – Mustache

So do this lot not use mirrors or what?…


Martin Kavka: Attention musicians: are you searching for more interesting ways to react to being dumped than the standard please-please-please-take-me-back routine? Here’s one option. Against a cookie-cutter Nashville template, passively-aggressively imply that your ex’s new boyfriend is gay by focusing on his mustache. (With a mustache like that, he must wear a speedo!) Of course, you can’t actually call him gay, because mustachioed Alan Jackson is a good red-blooded straight American man, just like you. But making a joke will succeed in steering the conversation away from your own pitiful singledom. Indeed, since you just keep harping on about how he looks like a porn star — so talented in bed! so well-endowed! — the conversation will probably turn to how you must be the gay one. God, she was so right to dump your lame ass.

Dave Moore: I like the part where he adds the diplomatic qualifier “on some guys they look great,” but on the whole it’s trying too hard for… y’know, mustache jokes.

Iain Mew: Sorry but, however you push it, the mere concept of someone having a mustache is just not that funny.

Anthony Miccio: Country hack bandleader wishes he had Jessie’s girl, crying “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” over his rival’s oh-so-dated mustache. Goatees are cool, though – how else could he cover his double chin? – and a thoughtful aside makes clear he’s not ripping on Alan Jackson. Guess he must be singing about Kix Brooks.

Anthony Easton: The details, the writing, the guitar, the sense of humour, the sing along chorus, the vocal work, all sort it out to a solid 7 or 8. I sung along, I laughed, I liked the throw away Alan Jackson reference.

Michaelangelo Matos: Wait — aren’t country guys allowed to have mustaches? Even ones “straight out of 1979”? (I know, “Alan Jackson he ain’t,” but still.) Either way — wow. This was already up there for me by the time it got to the bridge of “Jessie’s Girl” with the singer muttering “Un-frickin’-believable” over it, but I cannot WAIT to hear this in a bar.

Chuck Eddy: Guitar riff has some “Summer of 69” in it, most strikingly around the two-minute mark when the singer says “unfreakingbelievable” — possibly even as much 1985 Bryan Adams hard pop as Rascal Flatts’s excellent recent “Summer Nights” has. And it should be noted here that Rollie Fingers, primary protagonist of the song’s ad-hoc youtube video, originally grew his handlebar just to secure a $300 bonus from Charles Finley, and was traded from the A’s the Padres in 1977. But in the photo I saw, at least one guy in Heartland has a mustache, too, if not quite a ’79 one. I think they secretly miss 1979. So do I.

Edward Okulicz: A good country song can be like a drink of whiskey to soothe your problems; this one is like having a wise-cracking sidekick telling you the guy who stole your girl is ugly and has VD, which is, surprisingly, much, much better.

Hillary Brown: There needs to be more eccentric country like this, especially if it reaches back to the same era as its subject for its riffs. I need to go dig out my best of Thin Lizzy.

John Seroff: ProTip: If you want to make a novelty song, there should really be some element of your song that’s novel. No such luck with this sour grape screed that surreptitiously (and without much benefit) borrows hooks from MJ’s ‘Dirty Diana’ and DLR’s ‘Just Like Paradise’. The nudge-nudge-wink-wink lyrics would sound weaksauce at a UT coffeehouse poetry slam.

Alex Ostroff: Light, funny and tuneful. Any other one-note joke would wear out its welcome by the midway point, but it doubles as a vital PSA. If “Mustache” draws even one person’s attention to the fact that most men cannot pull off awkward lip-adorning facial hair, it will have earned its

Additional Scores

Martin Skidmore: [6]
Kat Stevens: [7]

22 Responses to “Heartland – Mustache”

  1. Matos and Miccio are right — I clearly deserve to get my card-carrying True ’80s Powerpop Fan Club membership suspended for confusing Bryan Adams with Rick Springfield, duh. And “Jessie’s Girl” obviously makes way more thematic sense here than “Summer Of 69” would have. (Still think “8” was the right score, though.)

  2. I am confused about Martin K’s homophobia call out. Chuck, can you also provide a list of other songs about mustaches, as you did for laundromats

  3. I don’t hear the homophobia in it either. Surely he’s just describing someone really really lame. The porn-star-with-moustache is just as prevalent in hetero porn as it is in homo, too, so I think that it’s… reading something that just isn’t there.

  4. It was in the early-to-mid 1990s that I came to experience Speedos as gay-coded in US culture. I can’t tell whether this association arose because gay American men have often worn Speedos in order to facilitate being looked at by other men, or because straight American men came to think that wearing speedos meant that they don’t fear being looked at by men and therefore must be gay. It would be a great thing if those associations no longer existed.

  5. I think that the song is too blunt to be coded at all. The speedo is just cheesy here not faggy.

  6. Yeah, they really code “Euro” more than “gay,” per se. And while I know that in many places the two are synonymous, there’s a wide variance.

  7. In my experience, obv. I’m straight. And not trying to be overly prescriptive.

  8. More importantly, other than a brief chuckle over just how disgusted that “un-freakin’-believable” sounds, there’s nothing likeable or clever about this song. Wish I’d gotten my shit together enough to add in a blurb and drag its average down a little further.

  9. I definitely hear this as Southern US coded for “your new boyfriend is a fag”.

  10. I wonder if you would all be so convinced of this song’s homophobia if it belonged to a genre other than country?

  11. The only obvious bigotry here consists of random unfounded assumptions about people from the Southern Unitied States. (Though then again, I’m the guy who was never convinced that “Disco Sucks” was primarily homophobic, either. It’s not like John Travolta was gay in Saturday Night Fever. Urbanphobic, maybe. Or narcissitiphobic. Or spending-more-money-on-fancy-clothes-than-I-make-in-a-month-phobic. Or having-more-dancefloor-coordination-than-me-phobic. Which is even more than you can say for this song, which might actually be funnier if she’d dumped him for a jerk with a ponytail instead. But really Heartland are just saying he’s cheesy, and dated, and ultimately not as plain-old-regular as they are, and why would she want a guy like that? Any asperisons about gayness are in your imagination.)

    As for other songs about ‘staches, Anthony, that’s a great question, and I’m sad to say I’m not thinking of any yet. Though it’s worth mentioning that two notable ’70s-referent stoner-metal bands of recents years are named Fu Manchu and Mustach. The later of whom, fwiw, are from Sweden.

  12. really code “Euro” more than “gay,”

    Exactly….like, say, Borat. Or Eugene Hutz from Gogol Bordello, depending on what kind of underdrawers he wears.

    And the kind of mustaches they’re talking about, by now, are if anything more an ironic Williamsburg hipster item. So maybe you could say this song is anti-hipster, if you want. (There’s also something self-deprecating about it, I think — like, I’m way cooler than Mustache Dude, right? I have to be, he’s such a total cheeseball. But she dumbed me for him. So uh, maybe he knows something I don’t?)

  13. It’s just a funny song guys, you are reading WAY too much into it! These kind of tunes work well with cool videos. I would imagine the video for this song will be hilarious!

  14. FWIW, I was brought up and spent the first 25 years of my life just outside of Nashville and I repeat: I definitely hear this as Southern US coded for “your new boyfriend is a fag”.

  15. FWIW I was brought up and spent the first 25 years of my life just outside of Edmonton and I repeat: People did not code the phrase “your new boyfriend is a fag”

  16. Sounds like Edmonton was a swingin’ lil’ town.

  17. The Singles Jukebox gets its own racist-bottle-opener moment. Marvellous.

  18. Kind of hope they follow this up with a song called “Your New Boyfriend is a Fag.” Could be at least an [8].

  19. i am confused about what you mean edward o

  20. anthony:

  21. The new Heartland video has been released, I got this from, enjoy!

  22. Simon Reynolds on musical facial hair from the ’80s on: