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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.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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