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IT’S LIKE THAT: Songs with St-St-Stutters

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Britney Spears’ name is not one we bring up often here on the Indie Ear, but I’m not going to lie to you, it does happen from time to time. So if you’re against such things, go to your other 5,000 favorite indie music blogs and catch up on all of your favorite redundantly named bands.

Anyway, here goes:

Right now, I’m going to tell you why I like Britney Spears’ current single, “Womanizer” (and before you throw stones, just to listen to me for a second). I like the song, because, it gave me an epiphany. You heard me, epiphany. While listening to the chorus–Boy don’t try to front, I, I know just, just what you are, are, are–it occurred to me that I absolutely love stuttering lyrics in music, love ’em!

Kids used to get made fun of on the playground for having trouble spitting out those first few words, “C-c-c-c’mon, p-p-p-lease, p-p-p-ass me the b-b-ball.” It may not fly at recess, but in music, stuttering is pure gold.

After listening to “Womanizer” I began racking my brain for other songs featuring stuttering lyrics, and boy, there’s a bunch. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but here are some of my personal favorites:

Sebastien Grainger, “Love Can Be So Mean”
I just interviewed Sebastien Grainger this week for an episode of Lunchbox, and wouldn’t you know it, on the first track of his debut album he drops a “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-baby!” before each build-up.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
Randy Bachman sang the famous chorus, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. B-b-b-baby, you just ain’t seen na-na-nothin’, yet” as a joke for his brother Gary who had a speech impediment. He intended to record the song in one take and send the only copy to this brother. Later, when the band’s record label was looking for a hit single, Bachman let them listen to the “joke” track and the rest is h-h-history.

The Who, “My Generation
The song mentioned above, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” got a lot heat from fans of The Who, claiming that the guitar chords sounded similar to “Baba O’ Riley” and the stuttering was very reminiscent of “My Generation,” which is a stutterer’s dream song:

Why don’t you all f-fade away
And don’t try to dig what we all s-s-say
I’m not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-g-generation

The Beastie Boys, “Ch-Check It Out”
Not only do the Beastie Boys stutter throughout the entire chorus–Check-ch-check-check-check-ch-check it out / What-wha-what-what-what’s it all about / Work-wa-work-work-work-wa-work it out / Let’s turn this, turn this party out–but they also pay tribute to the stutter by including it in the song title.

DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, “Boom! Shake The Room
Will Smith takes stuttering to new heights with eight bars of brilliantly speech-impeded-filled rhymes:

The the F-F-F-F-Fresh P-P-P-Prince is wh-who I am
So tell my mother that I never wrote a whack jam
But some times I get n-nervous and start to stutter
And I f-fumble every w-w-w-word for word I utter
So I just try to ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-chill
But it gets worse-a but worse-a but-but-but worse still
I need the c-c-c-crowd to k-k-k-kick it to it
They help me calm down and I can get through it

David Bowie, “Changes
This track could hold its own on both an “All-Time Greatest Songs” list as well as an “All-Time Greatest Stuttering Songs” list.

Phil Collins, “Sussudio
Phil Collins improvised this now famous lyric in the studio, and throughout the recording process for his album, No Jacket Required, he couldn’t find a better lyric than “Sussudio,” so he just stuck with it. During the chorus I give Collins double-bonus points just for the fact that “Sussudio” on its own is a stutter, but when he sings “Su-Sussudio” Collins stutters within a stutter.

Huey Lewis & The News, “The Heart of Rock and Roll
Huey Lewis only lets one stutter rip in this popular 80’s tune, but it’s a memorable one: Th-Th-Th-Th-They say the heart of rock and roll is still beating!

Tim Fite, “Camouflage”
In Tim Fite’s thought-provoking song about people wearing camouflage he imitates a scratching record during the song’s hook, “C-c-c-camouflage, it’s hot this season!”

Rihanna, “Umbrella
“Under my umbrella-ella-ella, eh-eh-eh.” Still can’t get this stutter out of my head.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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GIFs via Giphy

Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.