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Collected Works

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Album Review

Thanks to heavy rotation on the fledgling MTV, upstate New York's Blotto had a hit with their surf music parody "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard" in 1981. The early '80s is the only period in recent pop music history that could have produced a silly, comedic, and sometimes hilarious novelty band like Blotto. Blotto: Collected Works provides a collection of the band's best work and shows a group of surprisingly strong musicians who didn't take life or music too seriously. This collection finds the band sounding very much like an East Coast version of San Francisco's Tubes. They cover a wide variety of musical styles in their novelty tunes, including surf music on "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard," Eddie and the Hotrods-style punk on "Too Much Fun," and pure new wave pop on "It's Not You" and "It's Only Money." Most of these tracks are well written and the better than average musicianship can easily be overlooked since the music is the foundation for lyrics that are often very amusing and clever. The gem of the album and the track that represents the band's unique gift best is the hard rock parody "Metal Head." Lyrics like "I gotta see a doctor but I'm too wasted to phone/want to customize my van but I ain't got one" perfectly sums up the life of the sorry hapless teenage metalheads everywhere. This song ends with a classic overly indulgent drum solo that captures the feel of the ending of a Deep Purple, Rainbow, or Kiss show. If you don't take your life or music too seriously and enjoy a good laugh, then Blotto: Collected Works is worth a look. The good time band even provides listeners with a karaoke version of "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard" so you can join in on the fun.


Formed: 1979 in Albany, NY

Genre: Comedy

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

One of the first unknown artists to capitalize on the MTV craze of the early '80s was a tongue-in-cheek New York band called Blotto. The group's novelty video for "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard" debuted on MTV during the initial hours of their premiere telecast and became an instant hit, remaining on their airwaves for months. Blotto originated as the Star-Spangled Washboard Band in the '70s. The group performed bluegrass songs and even appeared on Mike Douglas' national TV talk show. The band split up...
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Collected Works, Blotto
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