Money (That’s What I Want) by the Flying Lizards, 1979

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This is the kind of song that drives my wife nuts – the discordance, the weird sounds, and especially the unsinger. The guy who did the record asked a school friend of his to do the vocal, and told her, “Make it as bored and uncaring as you can.” And boy, did she.

This is a nice little bit of New Wave japery, but I personally always liked it because the girl sounded, minus the British accent, like the girl I was dating at the time. She was a tall redhead who, due to drugs or neglect or something, could not show the slightest bit of emotional response to anything. (I met one of her sisters – she was one of eight kids – and her dad, who was an famous expert on, of all things, the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and they all seemed normal.) I found it kinda kicky and avant-garde for a while (Moe Szyslak – “Avant-garde – weird for weird’s sake”) but it stated to creep me out after a while. (This is the same girl who I dated because “A Wedding in Cherokee County” was her favorite song, which I guess should have been, as Sherlock Holmes would call it, a clue.)

Classic ’70s moment with my weird unemotional girlfriend: I was to meet her at her bohunk apartment above a comedy club on Connecticut Avenue near the zoo in DC. She was a hour late.

“What happened?”

“I didn’t have any money for a cab.” She worked in Old Town Alexandria, so that was definitely a problem. (The Metro didn’t go that far up Conn Avenue yet.)

“So how did you get here?”

Shrugging her shoulders in that weird inhuman way: “I blew the cab driver.”

And my ’70s response? “I wish you’d told me that before I kissed you.”

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