Between Don’t Stop the Night and the release of Hippopotamomus in 1991, a considerable amount changed. The decade was new, the government was new and Thatcher-free (although still Conservative), the Berlin Wall had fallen and the Soviet block was dissolved. Creation Records, while still nominally supporting Momus, was increasingly drug-orientated and Momus’ failure to have a commercial hit was probably a factor in the decline of his relationship with the label. Attempts to move to Mute Records fell through, and Momus worked in his flat on the next album with minimal involvement from the label, listening to Gainsbourg, Mylene Farmer and British trip-hop and acid jazz.

Rather than a jaded view of perversion and sexuality, the new album would celebrate sensuality and take a more jocular, even joyful attitude to a liberated world view. This perspective would be European in style and take its philosophical cues from French intellectualism and eroticism. The main musical influence would be Vu de l’extérieur“, a 1973 album by Serge Gainsbourg (who died in 1991) which is a concept album with childish, sexual and scatalogical jokes and themes. In particular, the album includes a track called “The Hippopodame” about an encounter with a larger lady lyrically compared to a Hippo, and another song called “Pamela Popo” which plays with a dual meaning of Popo as faeces. The other decision taken by Momus was to present the whole project as if it were aimed at children – not actual children, of course, but the child within each person listening:

“…the part of us that refuses guilt, that plays with mud pies, that soils its nappy, that loves to suck and be sucked.”

This came across, unfortunately, as if the intention were to create an album of nursery rhymes and songs about sex. The use of childish themes, lyrics and tunes helped to foment this misunderstanding and is one of the reasons the album received 0/10 from the NME when reviewed by Betty Page. But by no means the only reason: this is one of the most misunderstood albums in the Momus discography and had a wide range of responses and critiques, from extremely positive to … not. I can only imagine what Alan McGee’s response was when first presented with the completed album.

The first problem was possibly the flat it was recorded in: described by Momus as a “bubble”, which suggests that outside influence: and critique: was lacking. And by “outside” I mean outside the music industry. Very few people would get the reference to Gainsbourg in the album title, for instance, and without that understanding I can imagine most members of the public, on seeing the album title, rejecting any thought of listening to it. Puns in album titles are not generally harbingers of greatness*. (Incognegro anyone?). There are other creative decisions on the album that, while artistically valid, are, commercially speaking, headscratchers. Firstly the cover:

(50p from a discount store in Peterborough in 1995: consider how unlikely that was!)

Designed by Me Company (Founded by Paul White) it features the album name (odd decision #1 in itself) in a modern capitalised font, with the artist name not in bold so it doesn’t stand out (odd decision #2) over an image of the Michelin Man (odd decision #3) which does have a vaguely Hippo like face which is just going to confuse a casual viewer more (odd decision #4): causing them to ask: why the Michelin Man? Why “Hippo”? What is the connection and why is the album just called Hippopotamus? Why have they spelled Hippopotamus incorrectly? Who is it by?

I may, of course, be underestimating the general public. They are, after all, well known for making good decisions.

Of course, the Michelin Man – whose “real” name is Bibendum – is used because there is a song of the same name, which we will discuss later. The CD cover includes further information about the album: it was partly completed by Doug Martin at The Spike, like the previous recordings. Douglas Benford (who provided the drum machine on The Poison Boyfriend) provides “wiggly electronic noise” under his DJ / remix moniker of Lovecut DB.

“Preacher” Harry Powell provides the baritone on the title track. Since “Reverend” Harry Powell is the killer in Charles Laughton’s film “The Night of the Hunter”, this is really the pseudonym of singer Ian Smith, who recorded some material on the label Golden Pathway under the Preacher name in the 80s. Momus provided keyboards for some of his tracks and his appearance here is reciprocal.

Backing vocals are provided by Vicky Cassady, Zoe Pascale and Tammy Yoseloff. The guitar soloing is provided by Noko, (Norman Fisher-Jones) who played with Howard Devoto in the band Luxuria. The whole album is dedicated to Gainsbourg. We also get a mention of the lyrics book “Lusts of a Moron”. (which presumably at this point did not include Voyager or The Ultraconformist?).

His new agent Angie Somerside is credited and her address given, and even more interesting, we get the following:

“Complaints: 127 Cleveland Street, London W1P 5PL”.

Since this is the actual address of the flat, this suggests that 1. Complaints were expected. 2. Complaints were welcome. 3. Any other kind of mail and fan visits (preferably female, no doubt) were welcome. I seem to remember writing to request to borrow a kettle when mine was broken at University. I also think: but cannot be certain: that this address was how I got onto some form of fan mailing list, through which I obtained a live compilation video in 1993. (Now, sorrowfully, long gone, lost in an attic somewhere no doubt being rediscovered at Christmas by David Bowie or Mel Smith).

Were there complaints? I would love to read them, and the replies. So let’s find out what they would have been complaining about…

Hippopotamomus

Squelchy noises: mud and muck, oomska, Preacher Harry provides baritone punctuation of the title and the name of the volcano Popocatepetl, Flanders and Swann provide the ghost of music hall past. Momus lustily and in a bass voice full of phlegm and God knows what fluids delivers the story of a hippo, who “loves only disgusting things”. As he fucks a fellow hippo the volcano erupts and seals him with the other hippo, just like the bodies at Pompeii. After what is presumably a long time he is found by scientists and along with his fuckee displayed at the Natural History Museum in an exhibition labelled “copulating artiodactyl mammals”. So far, a twisted Gary Larson cartoon. It’s a silly, but catchy song, with a great beat and cool synth noises. But what makes it a Momus song, what makes it HippopotaMOMUS, is the last verse:

“So press your nose against the glass of the case of the Hippopotamomus
Lithe, wriggling schoolgirl, blowing kisses, making eyes
So blithely unaware, as you snigger at my lust
You’ll be in this position by and by”

It’s this discussion of the erosion and eradication of innocence by circumstance that marks out the song and the artist as meaningful. Critics – one in particular – lambasted Momus’ use of schoolgirls and the underage in these songs, but in order for them to work, innocence has to be deployed as the other, innocence in all these songs is the perversion that cannot be countenanced. Sooner or later, by or by, that schoolgirl will be in that position. That’s not a perverse boast on the Hippopotamomus’ part. He can’t have anything to do with it, he is just stating a fact. As night follows day, the girl will become a woman, and she will mirror what she has laughed at in the reflection of the glass surrounding the Hippopotamomus and his mate: and find the source of the child.

I Ate a Girl Right Up

Note that in 1991 Jonathan Demme directed “The Silence of the Lambs” based on a novel by Thomas Harris and about Clarice Starling, an FBI agent who must enlist the help of a cannibalistic monster named Hannibal Lecter to help her track a serial killer. A huge hit and Oscar winner.

Now imagine in that same year writing a song about a man eating a girl “right up”, and NOT basing it on that film, but instead on a book by Christian Enzensberger – Smut, An Anatomy of Dirt (1972). This book has a philosophy of dirt as a marker of history, and moreover, that fascist movements are obsessed with cleanliness, and therefore to wallow in, consume and digest dirt is a solution to fascism.

You will not be surprised to learn that pretty much everyone who reviewed this album assumed this song was about cannibalism and compared it to Hannibal Lecter. Surprisingly few music critics had read Enzensberger’s work.

This is a fun song: the opening sound effect could be a hippo burping, then something which could be a fax machine receiving, then a bouncy bass line apparently mixed from a Game Boy, and the song begins. The narrator could be Bibendum, or any god of debauchery, as he asks forgiveness for eating a girl up not “just because I was hungry”, and he isn’t really sorry. This is the sexual being as child, wanting to fill itself up with sweets and gaining psycho-sexual pleasure from consumption. He understands the revulsion that lines such as
“I guzzled down her bowels, all squidgy
I gobbled up her breasts and tummy”
will generate, but denies he is a cannibal. He does this because:

“Everybody needs from time to time
To remember the fact that they’re an animal
To cross the line dividing clean from dirty”.

The song only discusses the consumption of the girl, not killing her, or the question of consent. It isn’t about killing, it’s about consuming and wallowing in our own filth. How the girl’s body became.. available.. isn’t relevant.

In the NME review of 6/7/91, Betty Page wrote:

“But then we must suffer ‘I Ate A Girl Right Up’, Momus’ response to American Psycho, a sort of polite sicko, a very English have-a-cuppa cannibal. “I don’t know what came over me,” he recites tweely. “I’d do it all again, it was yummy”. Imagine Neil Tennant as Jack The Ripper and there you have it. Sorry. Not funny, not ironic – violence against women is not a subject for humorous treatment.”

As respondents pointed out, as Momus would point out himself, this missed the point entirely. It isn’t a psycho or killer who is described. It isn’t about literal cannibalism, and it isn’t about violence against women. The violence is against civilisation, or against society. The timing though, as discussed above, was unfortunate.

Nevermind though: if nothing else, this is an experiment with new sounds and an attempt to integrate new technologies into the music.

Michelin Man / a.k.a Made of Rubber

Another jokey, sex driven song. Influenced by Chuck Berry and his “Ding-A-Ling” style doo-wop innuendo fests. The Michelin Man himself, Bibendum, an inflatable potential sex-doll was ideal for a bouncy and cheesy pop song. Literally “pneumatic” like the sexualised characters in Huxley’s Brave New World, and champion of consumption himself with his Michelin restaurants, the Michelin Man with his redesigned Hippo face was an ideal mascot for Momus’ purposes. This song itself starts with a bass line similar to that in Cameo’s Word Up, and describes a date between the Michelin Man and Josephine Baker, a French dancer, singer, Resistance-era spy and Civil Rights Activist. She must “Pump It Up ” (presumably a reference to Technotronic’s hit “Pump up the Jam” or the M/A/R/R/S hit “Pump up the Volume“) in order to use the Michelin Man until her bed is “junk”.

Momus had used, or mentioned, brand names before in his songs, but never had he actually incorporated a company mascot into a sex scene. The Beast with 3 Backs didn’t include a ménage à trois between Snap, Crackle and Pop, for instance. The reason for this of course, is that companies tend to be rather protective of their brands. And also it tends to turn the milk chocolatey**. And in this case, the Michelin Man logo was both used on the cover, and in the name of a song. He may as well have called the album Mickey Moumus and sung about a pair of unnaturally large ears with their enveloping lobes, and the good head that Walt Disney gave, despite being frigid.***

So at some point the song came to the attention of Michelin and was discussed at what must have been a very surreal board meeting where they read the lyrics out. Legal action was, not unsurprisingly, threatened. Alan McGee called Momus in for one of their regular meetings and they agreed to remove the song and alter the cover. In fact as I understand things all remaining copies were destroyed. Which is why my 50p copy in Peterborough four years later is so surprising.

The album was re-released with the offending song removed and a new but no less confusing cover.

A Dull Documentary

The song which totally sickened Betty Page owing to its narrative, and which is, it must be said, quite irritating to listen to from a sonic viewpoint. How irritating? Well, Momus doesn’t even include the lyrics on his own lyrics page from 1995 here. (But does include Michelin Man – naughty!)

A babysitter invites her boyfriend round and they have sex “by the light of a dull documentary”: apparently this was another song intended for the BBC album. The controversial aspect of the song is that while they are having sex the little girl they are babysitting walks in:

“When you open your thighs to me
I see the little girl stretching her eyes at me”.

The narrator recalls when he was five and witnessed something similar. He links this to Freud and his discussion of the “primal scene” – the first time a child witnesses the sex act.

“Makes me remember the good things I’ve seen
And I’ll go on providing this spectacle
‘Til we come or the little girl goes
Go on providing the rhythm of life”

Initially the little girl is playing Chopsticks on the piano and unfortunately this is the tune that accompanies much of the song, thus the irritation.

Betty Page said of the song:

“Hero Gainsbourg also had a bit of a ‘thing’ about sex with minors, so Momus starts bringing little girls into his stories. In ‘A Dull Documentary’ he has sex with a babysitter in front of the telly and carries on when the little girl comes into the room.”

This is a gross misrepresentation: the little girl is not involved in the sex: she witnesses it but the song is about losing innocence through gained knowledge. The first line is about the little girl trying on Mummy’s lipstick: entering the adult world: she sees the world she is practicing being a part of. The narrator’s own first sexual memory is of people shrieking and laughing: not a negative or abusive experience. Allowing the little girl to see what is happening is part of “the rhythm of life”: a kind of education, twisted, but well-intentioned. Momus has certainly sung about child abuse, but this isn’t really what is happening here in the way Page is implying.

Nor is it anything new, consider the song “Little Children” sung by Billy J.Kramer in 1964:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Children_(song)

“Little children, you better not tell what you see
And if you’re good I’ll give you candy and a quarter
If you’re quiet like you oughta be
And keep a secret with me”

Where was Betty then?

Marquis of Sadness

Enigma had released the single Sadeness (Part 1) in 1990, thus the Sadness / De Sade pun was fairly corny already. Nevertheless, De Sade was still terra incognita for most people: his books were still banned in Britain as was Pasolini’s version of 120 Days of Sodom. For Momus, De Sade and French erotic fiction in general was a route to sexual liberation, both personally and for the framework of this album.

Co-sung by then flatmate Vicky, this song is the tale of a new writer in residence at a University who brings all the female poetry students in to read him their “bad but intimate” verses and no doubt to discuss all those erotic French writers such as De Sade, Gide, Paul Verlaine etc. Although a bitter and sad man, the poetry the girls write is evidence “Of our desire to make him desire us”. The verses are sung chiefly by Vicky as the girls, the chorus is Momus as the writer in residence:

“I’ll get along quite nicely in this university
In my little office with its sofa and its key
They’ll call on me at all hours for gin and sympathy…”.

The chorus sung by Momus has that choppy 1980’s keyboard in the background, otherwise we are in the album’s natural territory of video game samples and barping brass synth.

The scenario overall is reminiscent of a Malcolm Bradbury novel such as “The History Man”, or the related Radio 3 sitcom “Patterson“.

The girls collapse into giggles at the end, apparently tickled: this album seems to employ method acting rather than previous Momus techniques of sonic dissonance or Brechtian Alienation.

Bluestocking

Thematically similar, a song about what we would now term sapiosexuality. A cheeky backing with what sound like spankings coupled with satisfied sighs leads into Momus declaring his love for someone because they are well read and “give head”: both physically and intellectually. This type of girl is sometimes called a “Bluestocking” from the 18th Century society of the same name. Originally it suggested a frumpy and perhaps sexless person, but that meaning is subverted here and since.

We also get a long list of texts which the girl has read, which could also serve as a primer for Momus’ work to date:

“Ovid, Anais Nin, the Song of Solomon, The Perfumed Garden and Georges Bataille’s The Story of the Eye The Petronius Satyricon, the Arabian Nights, the Decameron The Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days And Serge Gainsbourg singing songs to Sweet Jane B……Sacher Masoch and DHL**** Portnoy’s Complaint and mine as well Frank Harris, The Life and Loves Lusts of a Moron, Wings of a Dove The Latins of the Silver Age The triolets of Paul Verlaine Lautreamont and G. Cabrera Infante Mishima Yukio and Sweet Jane B”

Note the inclusion of Momus’ own lyrics book “Lusts of a Moron”.

The song ends with a reading of phrases from “The Lover” by Marguerite Duras. This is read by Zoe Pascale (a.k.a Catherine Brouard) of whom Momus said:

“it was Catherine who first played me Brassens, … and taught me sensual playfulness, and how to explore and share fantasies where anything went. She was my erotic professor and my entrée into French culture, and she had to have a cameo role on this record.”
Her reading is certainly erotic, very ASMR if you believe in such things, and brings side one to a satisfactory conclusion following a variable first half.

Ventriloquists and Dolls

Oh, easily the best song on the album. It essentially throws out the beeping and booping and jokiness and throws down a great bassline, rock drumbeat and atmospheric synth instead. Spooky aerial notes in the background give the impression of a city in the dark and under fog, with the production giving the right sort of flattened/locked-in sound that night-time fog would give. A music hall performance has finished and a ventriloquist steps out into the night that we can already hear is cold and gets into his Fiesta. A piano steps in to accompany this and establish a sense of drama. Moving into the chorus we get echoing backing vocals and hand-claps as well as a machine gun sound effect punctuating the last line here as the chorus lists pairs that live in symbiosis:

“Ventriloquists and dolls
Tailors and their dummies
Moving in parallel worlds
Like wolves and little girls
Gangsters and their molls”.

The piano remains for the second verse and a dramatic guitar part by Noko joins in as well, ramping up the tension as we hear about the ventriloquist’s flat, filled with unnverving dolls, one in particular:

“And dangling from the beams on tangled strings, a marionette
And his carving’s been so painstaking it looks for all the world Like flesh and blood
Realistic to a fault, his dolls are portraits carved in wood Of little girls”.

The second chorus is followed by a great, short, angular guitar solo that leads into and merges into the final verse. As the final verse starts the drum beat changes, with the bass drum now on every beat rather than every other, while the bass guitar plays a tight pattern in between each beat. This seems to make the overall song funkier and also creates a meter in which the lyric on each bass note is stressed allowing the singer to lay greater emphasis on particular words. We get the unpleasant image of the ventriloquist removing his wooden leg and then:

“And though his face is frighteningly ugly
and he takes her by surprise and very fast
The doll he crushes under him immediately agrees
to everything he asks”.

Apart from the synth and bass, the instrumentation drops out for the final three words, allowing us to pause and consider the insidious nature of the perversion under discussion, then crashes back in for the final chorus. The music becomes quieter after this, with atmospheric effects taking us back to that city at night, with the fog rolling in, and gunfire in the distance.

A great track, funky, rock oriented, with that manly guitar we were promised and a philosophical discussion hovering: is the ventriloquist doing anything wrong? A painted girl is not a girl, after all, (and as we will come back to), but where does that end? With simulated child abuse in virtual reality? Is there a moral line where the play of something becomes the thing itself, or where pretending to commit a crime becomes the crime itself? Is your inner self – your imagination – when imagining a crime, guilty of the crime itself? If so, how would you demonstrate there is intent and mens rea?

That is the chief puzzle of this album, and will be headed face on in the final track. I feel it is linked to ontological arguments: where the question arises: is existence a descriptive factor?Is a thing that exists different qualitatively to something identical in every respect except that it doesn’t exist?

It may be worth looking at that list of pairs in the chorus as well:

Tailors and their dummies: a confusion reminiscent of the 1987 film “Mannequin“.

Wolves and Little Girls: I think it is likely that Momus saw “The Company of Wolves“, if not there are highly coincidental echoes of that film in his work.

Gangsters and their Molls: the question there being who is moulding who, who is in control?

Please hand your dissertations in to the relevant Marquis. Bring Gin and some poetry…

The Painter and his Model

A very similar sounding song, lyrically, about another famously dysfunctional type of relationship. Here, the artist is reproducing his model within his artwork, by using pieces of her dress and underwear to represent her dress and her underwear. He then asks how he should represent her “Little pink mouth, with lips but no teeth”.

I do not think we are supposed to think for one minute he is going to remove and staple bits of the model to the canvas. (We have moved on from side one). It to me sounds as if he is representing the model, and sex with the model, by having sex with the model. The model becomes represented in the artwork by being the artwork. The lyrics name check “The Theatre and its Double”, a book, or rather collection of essays, by Antonin Artaud about this topic. He said:

“I cannot conceive any work of art as having a separate existence from life itself” ,

insisting that life and the imagined life are identical, and also:

“The mind believes what it sees and does what it believes; that is the secret of fascination”.

Both these statements and the evident philosophy of this song seem to put our errant ventriloquist from the previous song back on the hook: his artistic life is also his real life and the “painted girl” he crushes may as well be the real one. His salvation may rest in that additional requirement of guilty intent – “mens rea” – and the potential difference in impact of real and imagined actions. The case – for it is a case – with defence and prosecution, is building.

Musically, this sounds very 80s to me. Pleasant, slight, with a piano lead line which could be from any soul / funk band of the period.

A Monkey for Sallie

“Sallie” is Sallie Fellowes, who worked for the Art Department at Rough Trade and who Momus went out with for a while. She went on to marry Bill Drummond of the KLF and then divorce him. This song commemorates her and her brief involvement with Momus. Rough Trade wouldn’t last much longer either.

It’s hard to philosophise about this song. It’s about a monkey that is obsessed with sex: (there was no real monkey): it plays with itself all day and night and this song includes one of my favourite lyrical stanzas in all music: if anyone asks why I like the music of Momus… this:

“I bought a monkey for Sallie
And let it run amok
It jumps into our bed at night
And fiddles with my cock”.

What do the Beatles have, eh? “Blackbird singing in the dead of night…” Snore…

There is a touch of the sinister in the monkey’s behaviour: “It plays the barrel organ And sharpens kitchen knives”.

And it abuses Sallie and the narrator equally, and is quite “wicked”.

This all ties in with the Gainsbourg theme which informs the whole album, and allows us to now imagine Coco the Monkey (** again I guess) flinging popo, caca, spunk and god knows what else at his hapless human victims.

The actual music is bleeps and boops again, with what sounds like a saw being played in the background in the last third. Momus’ voice is very low pitched, to the extent that it sounds uncomfortable for him. He is not the walrus of love, nor yet the baboon.

Pornography.

Momus has said that this song includes samples from Warp’s Artificial Intelligence Compilation. That was ahead of the time, Warp would become huge later on in the decade. He seems however to be new to pornography, as he believes it is “just a young girl’s diary”. I am no expert on porn but I do not believe that any young girls put such things in their journals. But then, Momus did not see much pornography until he went on tour with Primal Scream. And then I suspect he saw far too much.

This is a slow paced , atmospheric song in the same mould as the previous , with no ambitions beyond being a pleasant sound space. It must be said however that Momus does not (or did not) really know enough about the way pornography is made or how its subjects are treated to sing about it so confidently or describe it as so harmless. But the chorus, with its “boop boop de doop” borrowed from sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, is attractive and potentially empowering: to something, in this case something heavily inspired by 70s German porn soundtracks.

Song in Contravention

A song in contravention of the theme and sound of the rest of the album, for starters. While writing this album, Momus was creating songs in several different idioms. The explicit / sexy songs were bound for Hippopotamomus. The more cynical, music-hall style, narrative driven work was held back for another album, The Ultraconformist, which would become a natural riposte to criticism of the current album, and there was also more modern, ambient and trip-hop based music, with science-fiction related concepts and ideas as well as spiritual musings which would form the basis for the next Creation album, Voyager.

This song is a sci-fi piece. It is inspired by Serge Gainsbourg in the theme of forbidden music (Mélodie Interdite) and the melody (Ballade de Johnny Jane). After the excesses we have been witness to on the album, and with the sure and certain knowledge of approbation to follow, this song addresses head on the issues of censorship and scandal I touched on in discussion above.

Section 28 of the Local Government Act in the UK, passed in 1988, stated that any Local Authority in the UK:

“shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. In other words, discussion of same-sex relationships in any way that saw them as acceptable was prohibited. It also assumed that homosexuality was something which could be promoted, i.e. was a choice of lifestyle. It prevented effective and balanced teaching in schools and encouraged bullying and discrimination based on sexuality. The law was not repealed until 2003 in England.

Song In Contravention is about Section 28, and about censorship in general, and continues the argument that imagining or singing about something is not the thing itself: thought cannot be a crime. It makes this argument by singing from the point of view of a prosecutor, who argues that the very song they are singing is immoral because of its content.

The first verse describes the song that we are listening to as “Exhibit A”: and we are warned that even listening to this much of the song “already makes you guilty of a crime”. The melody and theme of the song are beautiful, and we are led into a luscious chorus describing “this love in contravention, that they see fit to ban, that woman feels for woman, man for man”. It is made clear however, that you don’t need to share this love to support the cause: merely “to sing this song is a crime of love: sing this song”.

The second verse of the song makes it crystal clear that the lyric relates to Clause 28: an unnamed act of love is “outlawed by the Government this year”. The second chorus relates in a nutshell the issue raised by the entire album with respect to artistic expression and censorship:

“Song in contravention of sections of the law
That deal with making public private thoughts
With lyrics so explicit and descriptions so perverse
They constitute the crime that it reports”.

Especially now, in an environment where individuals can be prosecuted for Social Media posts and potentially for expressing an opinion, where context can be ignored in judging perceived offence, we need to carefully consider the import of this lyric.

Do we believe – individually or as a society – that art or expressed language can constitute a crime thus described?

I am sure we all agree in cases of personal attack or incitation to crime, racial hatred or homophobia, but what about art, satire, humour and parody? What about, as in this case, the concern that legislation can hamper free expression or dictate behaviours?

The song continues with a lovely middle eight describing the court waiting in the Perfumed Garden for the judgement and the final verse has the prosecution finally resting its case.

The music dissolves into sci-fi effects that sound like a spaceship ascending, as if we are being transported to another planet.

Maybe that’s for the best.

I am fairly certain that the outcome from Hippopotamomus was not what Creation Records or Momus would have ideally desired. Commercially it was a failure, artistically it was a qualified success with some critics but savaged by others.

This was hypocritical to say the least: the NME for instance had previously praised Momus for explicit content such as The Guitar Lesson and now turned on him for the similar content on Hippopotamomus.

His relationship with Creation never really recovered, but Momus now had other avenues for his output. The sci-fi material I described above would surface as the next Creation album, but a separate release would come before that and be released on another label. The next entry will concern “The Ultraconformist – Live Whilst Out of Fashion”.

Annoying Footnotes

*Yes I know, Aladdin Sane, Hairway to Steven, From Her to Eternity.. etc. etc. there are exceptions.*****

**Yes, I know it’s a different fucking cereal. Still Kellogg’s though, the sex obsessed masturbation fearing weirdo. Mr. Kellogg I mean, not the Coco Pops monkey, I have no idea what Coco’s attitude to masturbation is. He is a monkey, of course, so probably quite liberal in that respect. Flings a lot of Coco Popo as well I imagine.

***Yes, I know that Walt Disney having his head removed and frozen after death is an urban myth.

****D.H. Lawrence. Not “DHL”. There’s nothing erotic about couriers or delivery services. (Apart from Pizza Delivery in certain forms of adult entertainment: “Guten Tag, I have brought your 12″ large meat” etc.)

*****No, there are NOT more exceptions than the hypothesis I was trying to assert. Fuck off.

One thought on “The prosecution rests its case… #12 Hippopotamomus

  1. God!

    When I first got into this album I was physically nauseous with admiration and envy.

    This is so good.

    I don’t share all Momus’s perversions and tastes. I’m not so obsessed with sex. I don’t even LIKE some of these songs. I agree with many of the criticisms of them.

    BUT …

    Bloody hell! This is a perfect album. It’s so sonically luscious. And yet radical sounding and inventive. And so coherent; so 100% COMMITTED to its thesis and its aesthetic. The tunes are glorious. Big and romantic. The quirky synth bass riffs are funky as hell, not in the rhythmic sense, but in the messy, smelly body squelch sense. The beats are, perhaps a bit of their time, but were fine then. And the rest of the arrangements are incredible.

    Like

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