Let's Listen: The Punk Rocky Horror Show


"Dammit, Janet" by Love Equals Death

Let me start by saying I find the name of the band chosen to play this song hilariously appropriate given what follows.

This one also seems to be sped up, though not by much—the time warp appears to be due to jumping straight from the dialogue to the song, rather than including the string bit dividing "to the bouquet" "Oh, Brad" and "the river was deep". It's a tad jarring, but I'll roll with it. The guitar bit in the background of the dialogue is really catchy, though.

Then we get to the song proper and LOVE. I love the way Janet's name is yelled out, love the drum beats replacing the deep piano notes, and love the Brad singer's voice. Every line is perfectly paced, with subtle highs and lows in each line, something SF/2F was missing.

Moving into "here's the ring", the instrumental is still really good but there's some really...odd cadence choices made. I'm not quite sure how to describe it. It's a bit like...you ever read a comic where the dialogue's really good, but reading it aloud screws it up because they've emphasized really unnatural words? It's a bit like the musical equivalent of that. And the line ends are drawn out a bit too long. I get that the original did that, but it doesn't really work with this faster pace.

Janet's verse marks further deterioration. Rather than varying things up, she just emphasizes the last two words of every line. Again, I get that it's a fidelity thing, but it's 1. really jarring after the first verse mixed things up so well and 2. doesn't really fit the music. Also, for some reason, the third "Oh Brad" seems to be missing some chorus members.

As we move into the duet it strikes me that Janet's voice is really flat. It seems like she's aiming for sultry and ending up with deadpan. It seems to be rubbing off on Brad, too, but he's still making an effort, which creates an odd effect when she goes "to do" straight as an arrow while he lets his voice dip a little bit.

We move into Brad's next solo verse and now he's just screaming. And he ran into one of the "Janet" cries. It's scary how fast this is derailing.

And then the back and forth cries, and he's screaming and she's deadpan and it'd weird, and then the song just stops and picks up again. Janet gives a bit of a laugh as the song fades out.

This, like SF/2F, is a song I really want the instrumental to. I really don't know what happened after the first verse, though. The song just kind of lost it. I suspect it's a fidelity issue. Things that sounded natural in the original are just off-putting here, and that's because in spite of sharing music and lyrics these are two quite different songs. It's a difficult tightrope to walk, but sometimes you just need to admit that you're doing something different and the old elements don't quite work. There's nothing wrong with that.

Well, anyways...