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Robyn Hitchcock “Uncorrected Personality Traits”


This song has been stuck in my head the last few days, probably due to some lingering parental guilt about any of the many times I fail to meet my high standards with Sylvan. Hannah and I are on the unschooling end of the spectrum and tend to disagree with the song’s premise, that children need to be corrected, but it’s still an extremely funny song. Every time I think of it I remember the time I was foolish enough to play it for my own grandparents and parents. They were, um, not as amused as I thought they would be.  Enjoy yourself some Robyn Hitchcock!

Edit: As Greg points out in the comments, this song is clearly a satire and making fun of the clinical/authoritarian/paranoid approach to raising children. I need to take some time to think through these posts a little more before I publish!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Greg permalink
    04/15/2011 09:30

    The mocking of the therapeutic/psychiatric establishment was the reason I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it.

    I love it when someone can pull of humor in their music, without surrendering their whole songwriting perspective to it (although I love Weird Al as well). There are few Luna lyrics that make me laugh out loud. Nilsson & Hazlewood as well, sometimes just for their general approach. The Drag City smartasses starting with Pavement and going through Will Oldham, David Berman, and Bill Callahan. What artists come to mind for you in this vein?

    • Kaleb permalink*
      04/15/2011 17:45

      You’re totally right about the intent of this song, I feel the same way and didn’t give Hitchcock the credit for making such a great satire. See my edit to call out the point you made about this song.

      The first funny line for an otherwise “serious” musician that pops up to me is on Modest Mouse’s “Summer”, when they put in the beeper noise and Isaac goes “Whoa, who’s paging me now?” They have a bunch of other funny lyrics as well. A lot of hip-hop boasting is funny: “With a dick in your ear you still couldn’t fuck with my sound,” from Xzibit on Talib Kweli’s “Down For The Count”, Ice-T has a ton of ridiculous stories on his old records. Mogwai is one of many instrumental bands that’s pretty amusing with their song titles, a lot of surf guitar is silly funny. I think Belle & Sebastian and the Mountain Goats are more serious lyrical groups that work in some humorous lines with some regularity. Should start a list!

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