28 August 2007

The ethical paleontologist has a list up of her top-five dinosaur songs and, given my recent penchant for posting rock videos…how can I resist a list of my own?

First, place crests down, is the haunting song of Parasaurolophus as reconstructed by Dr. Carl Diegert of Sandia National Lab and Dr. Thomas E. Williamson of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (seen above). I won’t even go into how they did it although these pics give clues, click ’em for more info.

It sort of reminds me of Close Encounters…maybe Parasaurolophus is trying to communicate to us across the depths of time. What’s that girl? A well?

What? Oh, never mind I guess you want drums and guitars and stuff? The rest in all their wetubey goodness are below the…


Charmer, “Mesozoic Mind”

Next up is this cult classic by Charmer. Charmer? Google apparently preserves no trace of this band aside from this song (correct me if I’m wrong). Get a load of the bassist …shouldn’t he be in the horns section?

The song comes from the 1987 video Dinosaurs! I watched this movie approximately 700,000 times as a child. The film messed me up in a lot of ways. First, it convinced me that I’m much, much smarter than Fred Savage which is probably not true. Second, it led me to the conclusion that learning a lot about dinosaurs would win me the respect of my peers and probably a girlfriend. This also turned out not to be true, at least not until I went to college.

At the moment, you can find a link to the entire video at the Mesozoic Mind website. Yes, there’s a whole website devoted to this animated music video. Apparently I’m not the only one with the entire lyrics to this song etched into my brain like initials on a school desk. Every couple of years I find myself absent-mindedly singing to myself “you can keep your Cenozoic, but I’ll take my Mesozoic my-hy-hind.” This is troubling.

The movie as a whole is a bit hokier than the music video, and calling Kentrosaurus ugly seems totally uncalled for, but it’s worth watching if only for the young Fred Savage whining “Wait a minute, there’s nothing but rocks here. Rocks are just…rocks!”

Wait so what are we doing?

Oh yeah, so this is the first song I actually thought of although calling it a “dinosaur song” is quite a stretch:

Built to Spill, “Big Dipper”

Julia was giving demerits for scientific inaccuracy so the lone dinosaur mention in this song “that brontasaurus(sic) must have stood a thousand miles high” isn’t going to be winning any awards from her. Anyway though, it’s a good song and one of their ‘hits.’

Hey, here’s a fresh one:

Scout Niblett, “Dinosaur Egg”

I will admit that I thought the name “Scout Niblett” was a joke the first time I heard of her. But I suppose I thought the same thing about “Cat Power.” It’s an okay song, but again only barely dino-themed, in spite of the title. I like some of her other stuff rather better.

These kids are having fun, and the song is about dinosaurs, maybe, the lyrics are inaudible:

Oh My God Elephant, “Dinosaur”

If we really loosen up the standards and start accepting entries from bands with paleo-themed names/albums the pickings get rather richer…

There’s Dinosaur Jr. of course:

Dinosaur Jr., “Tarpit”

“Tarpit” is about the closest thing to an actual “dinosaur song” by Dinosaur Jr. They were originally called Dinosaur, but changed their name due to a conflict with a san francisco psychedelic ‘supergroup.’ Now the actual Dinosaurs have been long forgotten, but the juniors changed the sound of American music and paved the way for Nirvana (among many others)….

And we can’t not mention Marc Bolan of T. Rex/”Bang a Gong”/”20th Century Boy” fame. T. Rex started out as Tyrannosaurus Rex with drummer Steve Peregrin Took and their sound was very different from Bolan’s later electric swagger:

Tyrannosaurus Rex, “Stacey Grove”

I don’t think any of Tyrannosaurus Rex’s songs have anything to do with dinosaurs but it’s kind of hard to tell what the hell any of their songs are about, if anything. Here’s the lyrics to Stacey Grove

Stacey Grove he’s a roaming prophet of mine,
Hat full of wine.
Stacey Grove he’s a roving catcher of skies,
Forecaster of eyes, so no lies.

Dungaree dome is decked like a pagan temple to Zeus
He drinks acorn juice.

Roasting his feet by the furnace of peat,
He roars at the boars who massively sleep at his feet.

Antelope head his beard skylark red
Is tucked ‘neath the good of his summer sun hood.
And now that the gate of his evening is late
He sits on a log picking ticks off the back of his dog.

Oh he’s a nice cat

Got that? Moving right along.

I’ve always wanted to get into Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, many of their song and album names are geo/paleo-in-jokes like Iridium Controversy, “Carbon 14”, Dancing on A’a, “Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous” etc. I’ve never been successful, try for yourself (although I don’t recommend watching this video at 2:30 AM after your washing machine mysteriously disappeared):

Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, “Lost in The B-Zone”

Finally, I know that pterosaurs aren’t dinosaurs, but Pterodactyl deserves a nod, especially since they went to Oberlin:

Pterodactyl, “Polio”

You folks all know that Greg Graffin of Bad Religion has a doctorate in evolutionary biology right? But he thinks Edaphosaurus is a hadrosaur! I know, I know he meant Edmontosaurus It’s an honest mistake…

Okay, I’ll bet this looks like shite, and I’ve gotta check all the embeds, but if you’ll pardon me, the moon is passing into the Earth’s effing shadow right now! This was a good way to keep myself up.

POSTSCRIPT: I’m not a superstitious person, but first the washing machine, then every single one of the embeds failed, then I while trying to fix them I accidentally deleted my Silver Jews/S. J. Gould mashup!

I think all the videos are working now, also the artist/song names link to youtube. I may try to resurrect the previous post, although like dave says “you can live again, but you’ll have to die twice in the end.”

I’m going on vacation…seeya suckas!

8 Responses to “Melozoics”

  1. Chelsea Says:

    Fred Savage did go to Stanford. (So, yeah, you are smarter than him)

    Did you have those dino sheets he has in the video? I had those sheets. Well, my brothers and I shared them. Also, I really wish that someone would upload some clips from this so I can be freaked by how much I liked it 17 years ago.

    This Charmer song really gets really Mountain Goaty in the middle a bit. Can you please say more about how J. Mascis paved the way for Nirvana?

  2. laelaps Says:

    “The song comes from the 1987 video Dinosaurs!”

    I entirely had a flashback when seeing that video (I remember all the Gary Oldman-hosted ones from that era too…). That film gave me the false impression as a child that I could just hit a rock with a hammer and it would split open, revealing a perfectly preserved fossil (working in the NJ marl pits definitely proved to me otherwise). This is an awesome companion to Julia’s post, and I’ll make sure Zach gets it into The Boneyard. Well done!

  3. Jeremy Helm Says:

    well it’s not all that i hoped i’d recorded that night, i’m thinking my battery died. i’m surprised i uploaded it, but then again it’s unlisted, it’s brontosauri

  4. Julia Says:

    Yay! More dinosaur songs! I’ll play them when I get home (don’t want to serenade my coworkers any more than I already do…).

    Don’t think these were in the Boneyard 4 – can I put this in the next one (I’m hosting)?

  5. Neil Says:

    Thanks to all for the comments.

    CM: No, I didn’t have the dinosaur sheets, but I knew people who did. I never had ‘fun’ sheets growing up which may account for my dour demeanor. I think I got that Dinosaur Jr. as the grumpy uncles of grunge story from Andrew Leland. Or maybe wikipedia. Here is someone making a similar argument in more detail (Kurt supposedly tried to recruit J Mascis to play drums?!)

    BS: I’m totally drawing a blank on the Gary Oldman stuff, I wonder if I ever saw them. If you dredge up any clips send them my way, that sounds amazing.

    Jeremy: Thanks for that link, Olio Wolof looks pretty cool I may have to go check them out in Sac. And thanks for all the Belgian beer.

    Julia: Feel free to pick it up for Boneyard 5. Hopefully I’ll have some legit material to include by then as well, although it’s clear that the masses love the pop culture!

  6. Ahil Mohan Says:

    OMG, thank you SOO much for all the effort put into making this page.

    Mezosoic Mind by Charmer was an old skool classic. I used to be obseesed with that “Dinosaurs” video. So glad i found this page and the website.

    Thanks again, made my day.

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