Follow TV Tropes

Following

Music / Crash Test Dummies

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/crash_test_dummies.jpg
Once, there was this kid who
Got into an accident and couldn't come to school,
But when he finally came back,
His hair... had turned from black into bright white.
He said that it was from when the cars had smashed so hard.
"Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm"
Advertisement:

Crash Test Dummies is a Canadian Alternative Rock/Folk rock band. Although they first hit it big in Canada with the mournful "Superman's Song," they are best known for their hit "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm", a song that showcases lead singer Brad Roberts' distinctive bass voice, as well as his frequently bizarre lyrical subject matter and style.

Not to be confused with The Incredible Crash Dummies.

Studio Discography:

  • The Ghosts That Haunt Me (1991)
  • God Shuffled His Feet (1993)
  • A Worm's Life (1996)
  • Give Yourself a Hand (1998)
  • I Don't Care That You Don't Mind (2001)
  • Jingle All the Way... (Yes, an album of Christmas Songs) (2002)
  • Puss 'N' Boots (2003)
  • Songs of the Unforgiven (2004)
  • Ooh-La-La (2010)
  • Demo-Litions (Cast-Off Recordings 1996-97) (2011)

Advertisement:

Tropes:

  • Answer Song: Not deliberately, but "Superman's Song" seems to be a rebuttal to "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath. While the latter has rejected the humanity he previously saved and is poised for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, the former is about embracing humanity.
  • Badass Baritone: One of the bands trademarks is Brad Roberts' deep, resonant bass voice, which he jokingly attributes to having a third testicle. He would later use it to take up Tuvan throat singing.
  • Being Good Sucks: "Superman's Song" discusses this in relation to the title character.
  • The Dead Can Dance: The music video for "The Ghosts That Haunt Me".
  • DIY Dentistry: The music video for "He Liked to Feel It" shows a boy trying to pull a bad tooth by tying it to ever more absurd things, from a taxi cab to a crane. It holds even when he's dangling from the string, until a man with pliers easily yanks it out.
  • Advertisement:
  • Godly Sidestep: The song "God Shuffled His Feet".
  • Growing Up Sucks: A variation in "Afternoons & Coffeespoons", which cheerfully lists ways that life can suck as people grow old — but ultimately comes down on the side of just rolling with it and doing one's best to enjoy whatever life brings.
  • Large Ham: Brad Roberts, especially on his solo live album Crash Test Dude which may be amongst the hammiest live albums ever made.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "There Are Many Dangers" has somber music. The first line of the song? "If your toast gets stuck in the toaster, do not put a fork in the toaster, while it is hooked up". Brad goes to mournfully croon his experience doing just this.
  • New Sound Album: Give Yourself a Hand was a complete overhaul of their sound, to the point where it is almost unrecognisable as the same band. Instead of writing humorous folk songs about God and body parts, sung in bass baritone, Brad started writing funk and dance songs about partying and sexual fetishes, sung in falsetto. There are also a few pop-R&B songs sung by Ellen Reid on the album, as well. There was some degree of Executive Meddling in that the record company rejected about 30 of their songs before releasing the album, but the band seemed to be having a good time.
  • Our Hero Is Dead: "Superman's Song": "I despair the world will never see another man like him."
  • Putting the "Medic" in Comedic: The music video to "Afternoons & Coffeespoons" starts off with a Hospital Gurney Scene of Brad Roberts being rushed into surgery while the lyrics muse about being "a little bit queasy" and "breathing not so easy". While he sings, the rest of the band members appear in an Imagine Spot as the surgeons operating on him. Eventually, a Hospital Epilogue ensues as the entire band plays outdoors, surrounded by the dancing patients and doctors (as well as The Grim Reaper, who ultimately never gets to claim anyone).
  • Revolving Door Band: For a majority of The New '10s, the "Dummies" moniker is really just Brad Roberts and whomever feels like playing with him at the moment. The original lineup eventually reunited for a North American tour in 2018.
  • Scatting: "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm."
  • Shout-Out:
    • Superman in "Superman's Song."
    • The title of "Afternoons & Coffeespoons" is one to T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
  • Silly Love Songs: Averted. Brad Roberts has gone out of his way not to write any of these, as he feels they're too easy and that there are far too many of them. They do occasionally pop up, such as "And It's Beautiful."
    • "Swimming in Your Ocean" could be considered a subversion. It's about making love, but the singer's mind wanders during the act on subjects as diverse as why God allows things like tornadoes and train wrecks, and whether or not UFO's might exist. He comes back down to earth at the end, only to wonder if he's impregnated his lover.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Ellen Reid on several songs on Give Yourself a Hand.
    • As well as "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead" and "Fundies Never Have Fun On Sundays".
    • And a few on Demo-Litions, which were recorded between A Worm's Life and Give Yourself A Hand.
  • A Tale Told by an Idiot: The premise of "Comin' Back Soon" is that the narrator explaining how his girlfriend has left him, but is too naive to realise it's due to his own selfishness, even though several examples of which are given in the song. "I Think I'll Disappear Now" is a sequel song that shows his failed attempt to rekindle the relationship, in which he continues the same behaviour by blaming his ex for his messy kitchen and turning to alcoholism.

Top