Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Coconut" by Harry Nilsson (1971)



I had thought of a few things to say about Jimmy Buffet before getting into this song, but it turns out it's not by him at all but by Harry Nilsson instead – which is strange, because it just seems so Jimmy Buffet-esque and not so Harry Nilsson-esque. Well, not that I know much about either performer, except that Nilsson was buddy-buddy with John Lennon. I do know this song, largely due to Quentin Tarantino, who usually has a touch for soundtracking so deft that twenty year old songs instantly and irredeemably 'belong' to the movies he includes them in. “Reservoir Dogs” does this perfectly both with the 'opening song' “Little Green Bag” and with the ear-cutting special “Stuck in the Middle With You” - two songs that, through revisionist history, are now 'from' a movie released decades after the songs themselves were.

And then there's this. Wikipedia reveals that the song was written with only one chord: which makes sense, as everything about is screams monotonous and dull. It is, of course, variations on the sentence 'put the lime in the coconut' plus varying shrieks of 'doctor!' all sung in crap accents and 'voices'. I think it's trying to be clever and 'breezy'. It is, however, at any length, painfully dull garbage that outweighs its welcome before you ever get to the 'now let me get this straight' line.

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