I know what you've been thinking: "What's that ol' Clem Snide been up to these days?" The answer comes in the streaming-at-NPR form of their seventh album, The Meat of Life. It opens with a song depicting two of the worst things that can happen to you: getting dumped and ending up at Walmart. If that sounds just too damn depressing for a Tuesday morning, don't worry. It's a nifty song with a cool arrangement and besides, sometimes you've got to wallow in the pain. It's good for you. Or it's bad for you, but totally normal. As Thao Nguyen put it recently: "You want full immersion in the dissolution. You don't want to just take the language courses. You want to go live in the country of origin; you want to stay with a host family."
Anyway, Clem Snide has had a free pass with me ever since I first heard "Joan Jett of Arc" on a mixtape while zipping through back roads on the Olympic peninsula because -- I mean, because they wrote a song called "Joan Jett of Arc," for crying out loud, and that's worthy of praise in and of itself. Free pass or no, this new one sounds pretty good to my ears. If you've ever been to Normal, Ill., you know how hard it would be to write a song about that place, so again, I am showering points upon them. If this were the Olympics, their artistic merit scores would be, like, really high.
Stream at NPR until the album comes out Feb. 23.