Someone once said of Louis Armstrong, "He was put on this Earth to make people happy." I feel the same way about the Kids of Widney High, whom a coworker introduced me to this week. I knew of them after reading an article in Answer Me! more than 10 years ago, but I'd never heard their work. I'll admit that it wasn't something I felt like seeking out. The sole purpose of "outing" this music seemed to be so that stoners could laugh at it.
Spinning Special Music From Special Kids (1989), Let's Get Busy (1999), and Act Your Age (2003) all day left me in a daze. The first album's hit me so hard that I needed prodding from my coworker to listen to it again and truly discover the raw, unflinching, devastating tunes it contains. I was interested (and my psyche was a little grateful) to hear that the follow-up albums are much more polished (almost as if Widney High had been auditioning students before deeming them eligible to enroll), and feature some undeniably kick-ass material: "Pretty Girls," "Christmas is the Time," and the unbelievably great "Life Without the Cow" [MP3]. It's as good as anything They Might Be Giants has ever done.
Of course, I got home last night and mentioned the Kids to fancylady, who launched into renditions of all the hits from Special Music.... Guess I'm late to the party on this one.