#60 – “Too Real” (2000)

[“Too Real” found 19 minutes, 24 seconds into podcast]
L.K.: Ok, so is this some sort of “ironic” parody of cheesy pop music or what?
A.S.: I have no idea if he’s trying to be ironic here.  There’s so little known about it; for all we know, it could be something left over from the Mono Puff days.
L.K.: The instrumentation is just so cheesy though. The lyrics.
A.S.: Yeah, the lyrics are super fucking cheesy.
L.K.: Cheesy style of singing, just pure queso all over.
A.S.: The instrumentation helps the “irony” case too, but part of it is that a lot of the fidelity seemed to have lost between the Dial-A-Song tape and whenever that tape was recorded for the podcast.
L.K.: Yeah, do we have a date of when this was on Dial-A-Song? Or an approximate year, at least?
A.S.: 2000, according to the good folks at TMBW. So, pretty soon after Mono Puff…
L.K.: Even by that point… it still sounds too out of date.
A.S.: Was Flansburgh ahead of his time then with this one? Did John Flansburgh write the world’s first chillwave song?
L.K.: I mean Mono Puff’s stuff was a lot more sort of funky-retro though. This is… I mean I’ve heard stuff that sounds like this, but I don’t really know what the proper term for the genre is.
A.S.: It’s kinda yacht-rocky, which, ya know, is really cool again for some reason.
L.K.: But it’s too dorky to be cool.
A.S.: If Flansburgh was really going for a retro-80s soft-rock, tape-warble irony here, he completely predated the whole chillwave thing by a good eight years. Or maybe the tape the song was on really did warp somehow or something.
L.K.: And this is just too… it’s why I’m convinced it has to be some sort of a joke. Wonder what made them decide to put it on a podcast years later.
A.S.: Even that podcast predated chillwave. I mean, I really don’t care for chillwave at all, but it just hit me how similar this song is aesthetically to that whole movement.
L.K.: I don’t know anything about the genre, I just can’t imagine anyone singing this with a straight face. For as much as non-fans make fun of songs like “Doctor Worm”, generic mainstream-ish lyrics like the ones in this song are really much stupider at face value.
A.S.: Which is partly why this isn’t the fan-beloved classic that songs like “Doctor Worm” or “…Puppet Head” are.  And irony all in all is very troublesome in music, although a little bit of it is okay. For the most part, the Johns seem entirely sincere about their music, so something like “Too Real” is a-okay. I’m really wondering right now, what the fuck is the point of this song?
L.K.: I was just wondering the same thing. Surprised it didn’t get recycled to the “battle of the bands” thing from TMBG Unlimited.
A.S.: That would have been a good place for this. What would the band have been named?
L.K.: No clue…
A.S.: Hornsby Hornsby. That’s my answer and I’m sticking with it.

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