November 21, 2012


Do the Mashed Potatoes! A Surreal Musical Thanksgiving Feast

Designed by Ronnie Fritz for
Designed by Ronnie Fritz for

Editor's Warning: This article comes from the tryptophan-addled brain of a Fuse writer who is deep in a turkey-related food coma. Read at your own risk.

With Thanksgiving upon us (and far too much food inside of us), this is the dark time of year when music fans realize there aren’t any worthwhile Thanksgiving songs in existence (with the exception of Little Eva’s pioneering “Let’s Turkey Trot”). That doesn’t mean Turkey Day is bereft of musical accompaniment, however. There are a slew of songs about thanks and the giving thereof (Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You,” All Time Low’s “So Long, and Thanks for All the Booze,” etc). But I think we can do better. When you let your mind wander into strange and stupid places, you realize there are, in fact, musical equivalents for each item in a Thanksgiving feast.

Obviously, there are the Cranberries. Their sweet but tart “Dreams” is the perfect side dish to an otherwise savory spread, but they’re a bit of an acquired taste. You have to take a taste of the Cranberries and let it linger to truly experience the fullness of their flavor.

James Brown provides us with the starchy standby, “(Do the) Mashed Potatoes,” a buttery dollop of hip-wiggling funk that’s best served with gravy. Better yet, have G. Love & Special Sauce cover James Brown’s Mashed Potatoes and mop that up with some Limp Bizkits. Or if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, we could always think of someone who evokes mashed potatoes. Who brings to mind a shapeless mush that’s only good when other flavors are present? Clearly, we’re talking about DJ Khaled here: Bleh on his own, but classic when you add the right seasoning.

Now what of the Thanksgiving centerpiece: Where do we turn to get the musical equivalent of a turkey? On one hand, we could look to artistic turkeys like Kreayshawn or Heidi Montag’s “singing” “career,” but why not stick to a more fulfilling, satisfying fowl? I’m thinking of a delicious, succulent Andrew Bird that’s been cooked in a Bowl of Fire and basted in his own eclectic mix of seasonings. At the very least, we already know he’s a Noble Beast.

For the Gen X vegetarians at Thanksgiving, they needn’t console themselves by listening to “Meat Is Murder” on repeat. After all, there’s plenty of Korn at the table. And what says “family dinner” more than a man whose dreads haven’t been washed since Easter screaming about “cheap f--ks” and “Ass Itch”? For the younger generation of meat-abstainers, however, there’s always a healthy helping of Casey Veggies. And you can take ‘em steamed or raw.

And now we come to a difficult problem: What of the sweet potatoes? Sadly, there isn’t an approximation of that in the musical universe. But what of OTHER universes? I can picture an alternate timeline where a band called the Yams holds a special place in rock history--and at our musical feast. Formed in 1967 by four British lads at boarding school, the Yams went by the Sweet Yams at first and specialized in pop-friendly psychedelica. Although they scored a Top 10 single with the seminal “Baker at the Fence of Forever,” the group saw their popularity wane when the Summer of Love went out of fashion.

After changing their name simply to “The Yams” and recruiting a new lead singer, the Yams recast themselves as a white-hot blues-rock outfit and rocketed back into the Top 20 with “Mama, Won’t You Glaze Me?” and its follow-up single, “Hard-Boiled Baby.” A grueling touring schedule garnered them a cult following in the States, but it proved fatal for their friendship. When they disbanded in 1972, they were all but forgotten by the mainstream--in short, the Yams were fated to remain underground.

Now that we’ve finished off the proper meal, it’s time for the best part: Dessert! And for T-Gives, that means a smashing piece of pumpkin pie. But be warned: Side effects of smashing pumpkin pie may include baldness and irritability. Consult your physician to find out if it's right for you.