Stupid Stupid Stupid

CD Cover Black Grape
Radioactive / Universal

Review by Darren Kerr

With his band Happy Mondays, Shaun Ryder had a penchant for carousing and a reputation for being somewhat of a l'enfant terrible. In the wake of hits like "Wrote for Luck" and "Step On," Ryder's drug intake approached legend status and his once sizable performance abilities were reduced to sitting on a chair and slurring the repertoire.

Ryder made a huge comeback in 1995 with Black Grape, whose It's Great When You're Straight album signaled a return to form. With Stupid Stupid Stupid, the return is confirmed: the man is back, with a leer and a come-on.

Black Grape make sleazy music that yobs in bars will be singing along to. In Ryder World, the majority of the women are stinky or skanky, crack whores or booze fiends. And, not surprisingly, there is a strong anti-drug theme throughout the record.

But you don't wanna know about that, do ya? No, you wanna know if it shakes the mighty ass. It does. "Marbles (Why Do You Say Yes When You Mean No?)," the first single, boasts a chorus that you'll be singing while waiting for your dealer, for the cops to arrive, or just for your tea to boil. "Squeaky" has a rubber-band synth line that'll put bounce to your ounces, and "Get Higher" has a clever series of Ronald Reagan sound-bites that end with "Nancy and I are hooked on heroin."

Even though this band is Ryder's baby, there's credit to be given to those are instrumental to its upbringing. Kermit and Psycho, as always, add their great dub toasting to the record, giving it an even more gritty feel. The keyboards and programming of Danny Saber run an impressive gamut of sounds, from rollicking electric piano to freaky buzzing and howling. In fact, the way he produced this record has left it very everything-but-the-kitchen-sink full.

What are you waiting for, you bunch of yobs?!? Got out and get Stupid Stupid Stupid -- and then get pissed.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on April 3, 1998

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