My Top 1000 Songs #571: Waiting For Mary

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

So, hey, remember that one time, last week, when we talked about how one of the most challenging acts in recording history, the Butthole Surfers, managed to make an alt.rock 90s hit and it was actually... pretty great? But, to be fair, this was not without precedent.

Personally, I find Cleveland iconoclasts Pere Ubu far more unapproachable than the Surfers, who at least have a fair number of ridiculously fun songs. Aside from one of their earliest punk-era singles, I find the Pere Ubu catalog pretty impenetrable. Yet in 1989, the band managed to get the unexpectedly catchy "Waiting For Mary" onto MTV's 120 Minutes--yep, there was even a delightful video! Band mainstay David Thomas restrains his distinctive hiccup vocals, making them merely eccentric. And like the Surfers' "Pepper," it could've just been a momentary novelty song, but turns out to have real staying power, something I still enjoy playing now and again. (The album, Cloudland, has a few decent numbers, as did the LPs that followed, but nothing as undeniably infectious as "Mary," and for the most part I still find the band one of those "respect 'em but can't play 'em" acts.)

Even more unbelievable... late night tv appearance, with David Sanborn and Deborah Harry!