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Love Songs for the Retarded

The Queers (1993)

By Tom BakerPublished about a month ago Updated about a month ago 5 min read

The name of the band and the title of the album will no doubt confuse and trigger some. No worries to the "Woke" crowd--this band is as politically correct as they come. Although they didn't start out that way.

I've been listening to this album, off and on, since 1995. What do I think of it? Well, it's pretty good. (Sometimes I can't get the words out.)

Kinda sounds like Screeching Weasel and the Ramones meet the Beach Boys. The Queers hold forth pop punk bubblegum sentiments of love and utter teenage bonehead hopelessness on fast, catchy rockers such as..."Teenage Bonehead," "Granola-Head," and (just in case you were wondering if they were trying to walk a tightrope between commercial accessibility and being mildly offensive), "Ursula Finally Has Tits."

"Debra Jean" is a song you'll wake up to with it playing on the digital MP3 player in your skull, on repeat, impossible as it were to divest yourself of it once it's ingrained itself in your subconscious wax trax. (Whatever the hell that means.) Also, "Hi, Mom, It's Me" and "Monster Zero," blitzkrieg style thrash-'em-ups that are infectious, and a lot of other adjectives and colorful descriptive verbal fangdoodle that is utterly meaningless.

"Granola-Head" reminds me of the first time I ever walked my personal tightrope between just being drunk and possible suicidal alcohol poisoning. It was at a party with a bunch of Muncie hippies sometime in 1997 (I had only listened to Love Songs a hundred and forty-seven times up until that point), and there were like these, kinda loose chicks there with dreds, and I was this little shaved head dude with a Bad Religion shirt, but I had a VHS bootleg of Eraserhead and a guy with the very memorable name of "Art Maize" (never could figure out if that was his real name or if he was using a pseudonym even) was, as his name would suggest an "ARTist", and wanted to watch it, and he had a kind of little round leather cap and seemed kind of cool. So.

And Dave brought over a bottle of Cherry Popov's Vodka. And I proceeded to drink most of it. I was probably close to death. It was a memorable night (most of it).

And Dave, as he was leaving (why, Dave, why did you leave me that night?), said, as per the popular Queers album, sort of joking about the people we were partying with "I don't want to be a granola head!" And I laughed. And Dave left.

Back inside, Eraserhead droned on and on, and everyone got progressively more blasted. I wandered around into the NEXT house, and up the stairs, but found it was kind of a spillover from the house that I had just left, and some tall skinny girl with hair like Wendy's of Wendy's fame showed me around these like scuzzy artists' rooms, and one of them was "the Jungle Room" and some space cadet had taken like a huge twist of vine or tree trunk or whatever and attached it to the walls so that it actually impeded entry into the room... I wonder what the fuck the landlord thought of it. The potential for BUGS and vermin and maybe vicious, nut-gathering squirrels seemed like a plausible threat.

And so I drunkenly came onto this girl, and was roundly rebuffed, and an Indian exchange student with a deformed ear (hey it's what I remember about him, okay?!), but who was a thoroughly handsome chap otherwise, tried to talk me out of throwing my rebuffed self down the staircase. Later, I was put in an old, most likely bug-infested chair sitting on the lawn, wherein I drunkenly drooled in my devastated, disastrous, desolate delirium.

When I woke up the next day, it was lying on a couch with some hairy hippy dude. Maybe we made love that night. I couldn't say and now can't remember. But I'm sure he was quite the gentleman.

So everyone is still passed out that morning like a Night of the Living Dead scene but minus the reanimation. (Bad. Maybe more like the party picture from Death Scenes where no one realized the stove was leaking deadly carbon monoxide. Party's over.) And I get up, and I had had, I estimate, a few Dos Equis, as well as all that vodka, and some girl was lying on a couch and she woke up and she had the requisite hippie dreds and told me how she wrote plays and loved Jim Morrison, and loved to be in love. I actually knew her for years, and, despite the fact that she "loved to be in love," I could never quite get her to be in love with me.

And then some very large woman came out fresh from a shower, wrapped in a bath towel. I took it this was all normal for these people. I can see all of this as if it were yesterday. Yes, I regret some mistakes. But, then, in a sense, as the Vandals once observed, "shit ain't worth a fuck, fuck ain't worth a shit, we're only gonna die, it's how we deal with it..."

At some point in the drunken, hungover morning, I went wandering outside in the crisp Muncie, Indiana morning sunlight, through rundown, somewhat puzzling neighborhoods until I saw a supermarket across the street through some bushes. I wondered how the hell I would get back to campus.

Art drove me back. He asked me to clean up some rust patches of my own vomit around the toilet first. On the way back, he talked about a play he was writing (apparently everyone in that house was a Beckett in the making) about the NEA and an artist denied a grant who goes on a rampage. I think.

Anyway, every time I hear this album, and specifically the song "Granola-Head," I think of that night now. Which is odd, because I had heard the album ten thousand million times before that night.

Now that the trip (or rather stumble) down memory lane is complete, I can tell you definitely what I think about the album, in one searing summation:

It's pretty good.

(Sometimes I just can't get the words out.)

vintagesong reviewspunkbandsalt rockalternativealbum reviews90s music

About the Creator

Tom Baker

Author of Haunted Indianapolis, Indiana Ghost Folklore, Midwest Maniacs, Midwest UFOs and Beyond, Scary Urban Legends, 50 Famous Fables and Folk Tales, and Notorious Crimes of the Upper Midwest.:

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Comments (2)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knockabout a month ago

    What a great meandering review & walk down memory lane, Tom!

  • I am familiar with the Queers - have been for a long time. I do like their sound and like some of their songs quite a bit.

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