Give Pop a Chance: The Genius of Bloodhound Gang’s “Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss”

Give Pop a Chance: The Genius of Bloodhound Gang’s “Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss”

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From Hefty Fine, 2005

Bloodhound Gang may have built its reputation on potty-mouthed rap-rock, but there is far more to frontman and chief songwriter Jimmy Pop?s craft than innuendo and cheap laughs.

Many of the Gang?s songs are about sex, and ?Uhn Tiss?? is, on the face of it, no exception to this trend. But scratch beneath the dirty talk and reveal not just ?The Bad Touch? part two, but rather a concealed attack on mainstream pop music, an over-sexualised media culture and the hordes of followers who are happy to forego self-respect and artistic merit for a quick fuck and mindless hits that go ?uhn tiss, uhn tiss, uhn tiss??

The chorus consists of two lines:

?I?ve got somethin?, and it goes thumpin? like this

All you need is my uhn tiss uhn tiss uhn tiss?

Notice that the words themselves are non-sexual, non-violent, and in general family-friendly, at least when no attempt is made to discern a deeper meaning. It?s as unchallenging and easy to digest as all the other empty pop vibes that dominate the modern club scene. When compared to the chorus of The Bad Touch (You and me baby ain?t nothin? but mammals so let?s/do it like they do on the Discovery Channel), these words are vague and ambiguous. Singer Jimmy Pop has shunned lyrical frills and opted for the generic, hiding smut behind a veneer of radio-friendliness and, you might think, laughing at the clubbers who just think it?s funny ?cos it?s about sex.

But to be fair, sex sells. Bloodhound Gang has (almost) stayed relevant through two decades by catering to the public?s enduring appetite for the off-colour. Stylistically their work often takes its cue from the punchy in-your-face-ness of the Beastie Boys and the cocky, oversexed swagger of pre-1990s Chili Peppers. It is perhaps surprising that in a society often branded ?over-sexualised?, the Gang are one of few bands to mould their entire image, and the preponderance of their artistic output, on a teenage boy-esque fascination with sex.

Jimmy Pop is an intelligent guy, though, whose lyrics stem from a higher intellectual current than what seems apparent at face value. To deny him his due because of what he says is to grossly overlook his perceptiveness and ability to lampoon through imitation, even if his own output appears to suffer artistically as a result. But therein lies his genius ? Pop is not only a wizard with words, but he uses songs like ?Uhn tiss?? as a sort of meta-commentary about the style of music ? and the culture ? it seems to fall into so neatly. ?Uhn Tiss?? laments the laziness of modern pop music not with its words, but with its own shallow, manufactured musicality. After the second chorus, the song breaks into a lengthy bridge (as many of their songs do), in which a seductively-voiced woman repeats the ?uhn tiss, uhn tiss, uhn tiss, baby? refrain over a stuttering synthesiser. Then we get another chorus before the woman plays us out once more. It?s musical gonzo journalism at its best, in which Pop is both cultural anthropologist and puppet master, a keen student and observer of popular culture who nonetheless revels in his own ability to make the hordes dance by speaking their language.

For a deeper look at the message behind the song, watch the video. The toilet-cum-nightclub setting hits the point home once and for all: popular music has fallen to shit, and morons are still lapping it up. We have lost pride, not just in our art but in ourselves. We emerge victorious from a dingy toilet cubicle having tongued the girl in the next stall through a glory hole, then flee the scene before ? God forbid ? we start getting personal. But we?re cool with that. This is the culture of one-night stands and one-hit wonders. Like the ?songs of the summer? we listen to for five minutes every year, we use people and music for the fleeting, passionate impulses they ignite within us, and when the thrill is over, we toss them aside, content with never seeing them again.

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