Five Pop Bubblegum Trash Songs I’m Still Proud Of

From 1997 through 2000, I wrote a series and released a series of songs under the moniker Pop Bubblegum Trash. Many of these songs, while fine attempts at creating music, are not things I’d willingly play for people other than myself. But there are a handful that I’m still relatively proud of, and here are five in particular that I think are worth a listen. As I prepare the the PBT comeback album for RPM 2011, it’s fun to look back at what I was doing with music eleven years ago.

“Nice and Round”
The best song Pop Bubblegum Trash ever did features a mix of loops from the Acid DJ and Acid Rock programs that Sonic Foundry put out in the late 1990s, plus my vocal. It could probably benefit from some remixing and remastering, but I think it still stands up as a song. If I ever did a live show, I’d still put this song on the setlist. Oh, and we even made a music video for it.

“Little Fascist Panties”
I’d made two or three NSFW instrumentals by the point I finally got around to writing “Little Fascist Panties,” which is, I think, why this one actually kind of works. It’s a great dance track, and it’s just a wee bit naughty. What I still love most about it is the interplay between the tribal chanting and the the various female vocal samples that repeat dance/pop song cliches in the background. We made a video for this one, too. But it’s, uhm, really naughty, and I’m not sharing. It used clips from various porn videos that were floating around Kazaa back then and only barely managed to avoid being pornography itself. Get me drunk at my house sometime, and I may find it on my computer for you.

“Six String Symphony”
Before the full-length album I released in late 2000 (Ascent), I put out two EPs, and promptly forgot about most of the songs I’d written for them. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, when I was searching for a soundtrack for my video of the Boston Apple Store opening that I rediscovered this track, which is still a really fun listen. One of my favorite things to do back in the day was to bring into a single song clips from all of the various genres that Sonic Foundry sorted their loops into. This is a prime example of that.

“The Whistle Has Blown”
“The Whistle Has Blown” was recorded for a proposed MP3.com compilation/benefit album that never saw the light of day. It was one of the last tracks I did for the band before quitting music to focus more on my writing, and therefore the only complete “lost” track in the band’s catalogue.

“U Don’t Know”
The oldest song in the Pop Bubblegum Trash catalogue, it was written in a Bradford College dorm room and in the college’s computer music studio in the immediate aftermath of a failed relationship and a series of ill-advised crushes. Aside from the drum beat (a sample provided with the program I was using in 1997, Digital Orchestrator Plus) and the string section that repeats throughout the verses and choruses (which was written by Nathan Keyes), this one was all me. I still listen to this, written when I had so much less of a clue than I do now on what makes a pop song tick, and marvel at the fact that it works. It’s also the song at the heart of my favorite musical performance memory of all time. Nathan and I, under the name Thin, performed this song, complete with its since-lost instrumental intro, at a Bradford open mic in 1997. We took the stage while the intro played and the crowd actually seemed to roar at our theatrical opening. Nathan played the power chords on his guitar, I sang, and we let the computer do the rest, and it was just plain awesome.

For more Pop Bubblegum Trash, be sure to check out “Five Hundred Fifty-Five Words on ‘Penguin in E Minor’” and stay tuned for the eventual release of the 2011 RPM Challenge album.