MP3s: Ten of them below the jump.
"Give me a throw pillow and a crowbar; I'll show you how to hit it with a nine iron." — Anonymous
A couple contributors to this blog have mentioned before how great the wild early days of Napster were, mostly because you could search for home recordings made by (and inadvertently offered by) the users sharing their Britney Spears and Eminem MP3s. However, the example Napster/Mic In Track recordings that have been presented have been few and far between. I would like to correct this oversight by presenting for the first time a comprehensive review of the recordings made by one specific person that produced some surprisingly entertaining songs.
This kid wrote his own material and performed the songs with accompanying percussion. It sounds like his drum kit consists of one (1) cardboard box and one (1) unknown metal object (pan lid? lamp shade? metal colander?). And as if that wasn't enough, this kid hit on the bright idea of overdubbing his recordings so that he could lay down backing vocals on his songs, a technique that's pretty obvious, yet I don't think I've ever encountered it elsewhere in the Mic In Track field. Les Paul would be proud.
Some of the songs he wrote are love songs or about relationships, but the more interesting ones are the ones about food. He sings about trying to get some ice cream from a fat ice cream man, about buying soft pretzels and hot dogs, and about chicken wings. Lots of chicken wings. Stinking chicken wings, even.
I found these songs to be extremely funny and charming, so I ended up downloading all the Mic In Tracks that I could by this artist. What follows is my complete collection of this anonymous kid's original songs. These files were untitled, so I have taken the liberty of providing them with names. A couple cover songs, alternate takes, and false starts are not included here, but will be included as bonus tracks in the inevitable CD release of this material in 2018.
"A Little Song I Wrote" (MP3)
Let's start off with an example of his overdub technique, as he sings backup vocals on a previously recorded song about ice cream, becoming a wizard, and comfortable underwear. In retrospect, he might have done better to record the backing vocals first, so that the lead vocals would sound louder, but you can't think of everything when you're already a singer and a songwriter.
"Just Go Away" (MP3) / "Please Don't Go Away" (MP3)
Here are two songs specifically paired up to give you listeners a mixed message. The first of the two features a guest vocalist, whom I'm guessing is a younger sister or perhaps next-door neighbor.
"Stinking Chicken Wing" (MP3)
This track is unique in this collection, in that there's actual background music, rather than the minimal percussion. Our singer gets a bit worked up and lets loose with some interesting imagery: "The FBI! Would see you fly! With your chicken stinking wing!" More unusual freestyling to come later in this collection.
"The Ice Cream Man Is Fat" (MP3)
A cautionary tale about buying ice cream from a fat, ugly man. This is one of three tracks you may have heard before, as this one has been featured on the Mic In Track page of the artist currently known as Stark Effect (see the links at the end of this post).
"Give Me One More Chance" (MP3)
This solo number starts out as a plaintive love song, but then turns into a song about the kid's shopping habits. It's good to know that he's definitely interested in buying some independent T-shirts.
"I Won't Break Your Heart" (MP3)
Another duet. I like their reason why one grownup would leave another: "I didn't want to leave you, I just had to go because of work."
"Willie Nelson Tribute" (MP3)
Here's an excellent tribute to Willie Nelson (or, as he's called in the song, W. W. Elson) sung to the tune of "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. Possibly one of the best examples in the genre of made-up pop songs recorded by bored teenagers in their bedrooms.
"Chicken Wing (transition)" (MP3)
A short piece of audio that acts as a transition between his "stinking chicken wing" song, above, and the final track in this collection. Also functions as a distant cousin to Ken's Death Metal Warmup Exercises Napster find.
"How Do You Stinking Feel" (MP3)
The pièce de résistance, the magnum opus, the ne plus ultra of this kid's recording career. He warms up with some variations on the lyric "how does it stinkin' feel", and then goes for broke in an awesome display of improvisation. The writers over at the MP3 blog Tofu Hut were so taken by this track that they transcribed it, which makes for fascinating reading. It's almost like a Robert Tilton sermon in parts: "Hangoozah! Zingazingoozah! Gummazingzumbingabeeyoo! Hmm hmm ha hmm hmm hmm ha mmbahzingazingazumbayeh!" This is definitely one of my favorite finds ever on any P2P network.
Well, there you have it. A digital equivalent to the abandoned cassette tapes found in resale shops nationwide. This all makes me wish I still had the tapes that I made when I was younger, but on the other hand I don't recall making up as many songs as we have here. I definitely hope we hear from this artist again, because he obviously has a knack for entertaining. At the very least, I'd like to find out if he ever got himself some ice cream.
Further reading and listening: Stark Effect's Mic In Track page (which includes some of the MP3s listed here) and his EP created with Mic In Track samples; The Evolution Control Committee's Napster Nuggets page; and the Burger King menu page (chicken wings are not currently on the BK menu, although you can get a Fried Chicken Wing combo meal at Burger King restaurants in Puerto Rico).