A Gloss on Beck’s “Loser”

In the time of chimpanzees, I was a monkey

In the beginning, we were all nonhuman primates. And in that blessed age, I was not as great as the apes. I was smaller, less attractive, and thus less prone to mating. So I turned to drugs, but was not as financially fortunate as others. I was resentful of their success and access to higher-grade controlled substances, while I was stuck with inhalants. That’s why there is

butane in my veins so I’m out to cut the junkie with the plastic eyeballs

Moreover, I coveted their everlasting supply of high-quality organic nutrients culled from local forests. One night, I had an idea: I’d get back at them with with the very dope they had forced me to use. I decided to

spray paint the vegetables

Fast forward to the present. After terrible millenia of evolution, things are not much different for us beta males. The alphas are still in power, but do not feed their pets well; further, they are prone to transvestism. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find

Dog food skulls with the beefcake pantyhose

Sometimes I like the feeling of emptiness after a long day. I’ll drive around at night with the windows closed and tune the radio to white noise. If I chance upon a stretch that’s abandoned enough, I

kill the headlights, and put it in neutral

and imagine myself as a race car driver. Such fantasies ultimately backfire and end with me aflame,

Stock car blazing with the loser in the cruise control

This would be an opportune time to introduce my special ladyfriend. She’s a nice girl and all, but suffers from intermittent yet progressively worse bouts of psoriasis. Doctors tried nearly everything: creams, salves, balms, extreme unctions. However, the only thing we’ve found that helps her out is the mountains, where it’s always sunny in the summer. Definitely not always thus in Philly. Anyway, because of her condition, my

baby’s in Reno with the vitamin D

I sent the bed with her to Nevada. My furniture situation is thus fairly unenviable. I have larger pieces, yet the memories of my absent love drive me to the smallest movable, eponymous with Eros:

got a couple of couches, sleep on the loveseat

We’ve had our differences, too. I didn’t like her family that much–real southern, not in a good way. But she’s a great girl and I guess it’s worth the extra effort. I mean, our nuptials weren’t ideal in the least. Her dad was crazy when he found out we were dating. He got in his pickup–the one with the gun rack–and drove straight to my house. I was eating Cheetos at the time and had no napkins around. Of course, I was feeling lazy and just wiped my crumb-encrusted hands on top. Others apparently don’t think things were too bad, though.

someone keeps saying I’m insane to complain about a shotgun wedding and a stain on my shirt

Don’t believe everything you hear. Or breathe, for that matter. If you’re in a muggy city on the eastern seaboard on garbage day and looking for a spot, you could easily end up with

a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve

Despite such odious offenses, there’s one thing you can do to remind yourself of the common humanity we share. It’s one of the leftovers from my heady days of huffing. Real intense feeling, especially the aftershave.

shave your face with some mace in the dark

If you’re so inclined, I can recommend something even more extreme. Pent up anger? Need help paying the bills? Creditors hounding you? Start by saving up the unemployment/stimulus benefits you receive, then set your domestic community ablaze: you’ll be

Savin’ all your food stamps and burnin’ down the trailer park

Alright, I know this is getting a bit crazy. Time to tone it down a bit. Knock it down a notch. Turn the loco to low.

Yo cut it

There’s something you’ve probably figured out by now. Perdition is near!

Soy un perdedor

So what if I know a bit of Spanish? In the end, it’s actually from a Latin word that means “completely fucked.” But if you’re not into speaking other idioms, that’s fine with me. I’ll translate it for you:

I’m a loser, baby. So why don’t you kill me?

[Ways you can do so: double-barrel buckshot, cheez whiz, speaking Teutonic tongues, drive by body piercing…]

Forces of evil in a bozo nightmare

I’ve always been terrified of clowns. There’s something monstrous and simultaneously sublime about them. A grotesque life-in-death. Making us laugh, cringe, cry, fear, despair. nothing is more evil than a clown. Not even death. Or life?

Ban all the music with a phony gas chamber

I hate cassettes. That hiss of sibilant white noise ever present in the background, sucking the life out of the music. In the beginning there was the hiss. And the middle and end of every recording. An endless struggle against the void. Futility defined.

One’s got a weasel and the other’s got a flag.

One’s on the pole, shove the other in a bag.

Like most folks, I have some wacky friends. They take strange objects like rodents and national symbols and put them in bizarre places. One of them had a weasel, and in some kind of performance art piece, stuck it on a flagpole. Another girl had this upside-down pea green hippie-like version of Old Glory. During this protest in Berkeley she kept taking it out of and putting it into a bag. This as opposed to burning it. Well, to each his/her own. Weird.

With the rerun shows and the cocaine nose job

The daytime crap of the folksinger slob

One of my ex-girlfriends loved TV but worked the night shift at a local flower farm. She wanted to watch TV after work like any normal person, but had to do so during the day when they show all the reruns. She ended up doing a lot of coke so she could stay up. But she had allergies, which were aggravated by the fact that we were both chain smokers. At the time, anyway. So she had to get an operation to clear out her sinuses, and got a discount with a cosmetic surgeon the doc was partnered with. Her nose was a bit rounder after all that, and a lot clearer. She also started using a neti pot. Anyway, while she was watching daytime reruns, I was writing crappy songs like this one.

He hung himself from a guitar string

A slab of turkey-neck and it’s hangin’ from a pigeon wing

People say my music is suicidal, but I had no intention of hanging myself. Otherwise, why would I be here now? What I mean is my crappy songs I was writing back then were a form of professional suicide. I’m glad things are different now. Thank God someone filled this one out with some beats and sitar riffs. Readymade, like Duchamp’s urinals. I have a real skinny neck and pick up pigeons off the street.

You can’t write if you can’t relate

If I couldn’t relate, I couldn’t write. Music, lyrics, anything. Obviously. I mean, if I couldn’t relate I’d just sing you all of the gloss I’ve written here rather than a bunch of random rhyming couplets that sound bizarre but really make sense when you think about them. You know? It does to me anyway. It’s not simply a strange amalgamation of images and shit from 90’s pop culture that somehow managed to capture the zeitgeist and define a generation more or less. Duh.

Trade the cash for the beef for the body for the hate

Can you relate to that? Or relate them together? Think of it this way: give someone money. You get beef in return–i.e., you buy food. Eat the food, nourish the body. Nourish the body, nourish the mind. Hate needs beef, hate needs money. I don’t mean racial, social, artificial, facial hate. I mean the fact that as you grow older, maybe wiser, you begin to hate life. But you have to keep eating to sustain yourself. The mind abhors the body and vice versa. Especially because the body always wins in the struggle by losing.

And my time is a piece of wax fallin’ on a termite
who’s chokin’ on the splinters

So I was reading this old book about a scottish dude who was a complete crazy loser like myself. There was this cool part I just had to update for today’s world. I just felt this great transtemporal communication between losers.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

Ok, that’s it. You get the idea, right?

Soy un perdedor

I’m a loser, baby. So why don’t you kill me?

Enough said.

Update: Just found an acoustic version of the song here. Thanks to If it’s good, it’s good for the link.


One Response to “A Gloss on Beck’s “Loser””

  1. Anonymous Says:

    “movables”- nice

    …you forgot to add the part about how going to Mexico and operating a hotel there with a few friends seemed like the best response to your feelings of alienation.

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