#14 – “Sensurround” (1995)

L.K.: Holy radical bridge change, Batman. So, there are two versions of this song, and the second is WAY MORE ROCKIN’.
A.S.: It is, although I think I might prefer the first one (the one on the Power Rangers Movie OST over the S-E-X-X-Y EP one).
L.K.: Wait, really? Hmm… Guess I tend to gravitate towards faster tempos.
A.S.: Normally I do too, but this might be an anomaly in my usual tempo-preferences.

L.K.: Though in both versions, the instrumental bridge is way more laid back than the rest of the song, so they both feel about equally out-of-place.

A.S.: Yeah, the one on the S-E-X-X-Y EP feels a little more out of place, while the PRMOST one feels like it’s there to create tension while the rest of the song is suspended.
L.K.: Also it has John Linnell going “ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba.” It might be a minor little thing though, but I really like the ending from the EP version much more than the one from the soundtrack. That wavering pitch thingy on the last note of the song… is there a more technical term for that?
A.S.: I think it’s just Eric Schermerhorn or Flansburgh or whoever’s on that guitar holding out the note and bending the string to get that effect.
L.K.: Oh, I meant whether it had a name or not, not how it’s done on guitar… though that works too.
A.S.: I don’t think so, it’s just a slow sort of incidental tremolo thing produced by the amplifier. So, even if I do prefer one version of the song to another, the preference is pretty marginal; they’re just slightly different takes on a great song.
L.K.: Yeah, the core song itself is great, so which version you prefer boils down more to personal preference. Most people seem to prefer the second version though.
A.S.: I can see why, I guess the louder, the better.
L.K.: Well, not just louder, but also faster and a little more polished-sounding.
A.S.: Yeah, I think that’s something else that might turn me off from it a little, but again, it’s only very slight.

L.K.: Though re-recordings of stuff aren’t necessarily better (i.e. “Edith Head”).

A.S.: The song itself is the sort of high-speed, major-key power-pop that John Linnell is particularly adept at writing, also exemplified in “Till My Head Falls Off,” “Thunderbird,” “The Cap’m”…
L.K.: “Can’t Keep Johnny Down”
A.S.: “South Carolina”. Speaking of, is it me or does the “Accidentally in a coal mine” part of “Sensurround” remind you of the “And I won some damages” part in “South Carolina”? Or I guess it should be the other way, since “Sensurround” came first.
L.K.: Only vaguely. I wouldn’t say it really jumps out at me.
A.S.: It only jumped at me listening to it now, but it makes sense – the songs are in the same key and those parts of the song use a lot of the same chords, too.
L.K.: I wonder how on earth this song wound up in a Power Rangers movie, of all things. I’m looking at this soundtrack and there’ s a Devo track on here too! And… Van Halen? Weird.
A.S.: And Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Red Hot Chili Peppers.
L.K.: Ah, Red Hot Chili Peppers, how on earth are you getting in there before Devo? (or TMBG, but I’m not holding my breath for that to happen)
A.S.: I guess Hagar-era Van Halen’s inclusion on this doesn’t really surprise me.  I can kinda imagine Sammy Hagar singing the Power Rangers theme song.
L.K.: I guess an extremely brief snippet of the song actually is heard in the film, which is more than you can say for most songs on the soundtracks of crappy movies. At least TMBG rescued it from obscurity to semi-obscurity by rerecording it and elevating it to B-side status.
A.S.: What a strange deal.  It’s not like the song’s subject matter suits Power Rangers at all.
L.K.: What, in utero babies sensing Sensurround?
A.S.: And ending up deformed.
L.K.: It’s definitely weird subject matter, though it is one of the rare TMBG songs whose meaning is pretty straightforward  from the lyrics, or at least the main idea is, if not necessarily all of the fine details.
A.S.: Nah, it’s almost entirely straightforward here, except I guess the kind of abstract idea that Sensurround is actually produced somewhere in the Earth’s core.
L.K.: Yeah, that part is kind of open to interpretation. It’s a metaphor. Probably.
A.S.: I still can’t believe we’ve gotten so many great songs off the bat here and not just a bunch of non-album, less-than-one-minute instrumentals or something.
A.S.: “Grassroots Internet Revolution,” all the “Fingertips”es… they will have their day.

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