Released in 1995 on Sony Records
Chris Ballew - bass, vocals
Dave Dederer - guitar, vocals
Jason Finn - drums, vocals
These guys have been my favorite band since I was in second grade. The first cassette tape I ever owned was their self-titled debut and I haven't put it down since (of course now it is on disc). Somehow PUSA gained a huge cult following and sold over 4 million copies of their first album, despite their low budget production, their low budget music videos, and their low budget live shows. And through it all, they have managed to stay true to themselves.
PUSA s/t is a definite must have for any alternative rocker. With highly unique use of three string guitars, two string basses (simplicity is beauty!), and incredibly off the wall lyrics, you can't go wrong. Songs about spiders, strippers, and big fat couch potatoes make for some very interesting and entertaining music. There have never been another band before, or since, the Presidents that can come close to their style.
One of PUSAs edgier songs, the chorus of Kitty has a little more of a hard rock feel to it, while the verses have a mellow chill out mood, and its one of their few songs where the f-word makes an appearance. This song is definitely a favorite among fans, and most of the time at live shows, this is where the mosh pit appears.
Animals seem to be the topic of a good majority of PUSA songs, and this is no exception. Many random and irrelevant animal references are the lyrical make up of this track. While the words don't exactly make sense (then again, when do their lyrics ever make sense?!), this one goes down in my book as one of their most fun songs. Its definitely a "sunny day" track.
Lump was one of the few PUSA songs to ever see airplay. A flat-out, straight rock number, this was their breakout song, and possibly their most recognizable. Weird Al parodied Lump into "Gump", written about the film character Forrest Gump. But IMO, this is one where he didn't do it justice. Lump is a PUSA essential, and if they ever made a greatest hits album, this might be first on the list.
A haunting love ballad coming from the eyes of Chris, to a stripper with wild orange hair, and dark dark eyes. Stranger shows a little of the bands softer side, and their infatuation with a naked chick in a booth. This was my least favorite song on the album when I was younger, but thats when I had no real appreciation for music. Now that I am older, I realize thats its just another near perfect song, on a near perfect album.
We all have that friend that never really does anything, and just kinda sits around watchin TV, and hes a little overweight...well, Boll Weevil brings that character to life. Chris tries to convince his fat friend to get off the couch and enjoy the sunshine (often with speedy and unintelligible lyrics), but to no avail. A beautiful blend of funk verses, and rock chorus, this one is sure to please.
Here it is. The PUSA we all know and love, and their ode to fruit. Peaches was the other hit song from the band, and it simply is about...peaches. Movin to the country, eatin a lot of peaches. It goes into detail about where peaches come from, and the many uses there are for them. It comes equipped with a hilarious video of the band performing under a canned peach tree, and eventually being attacked by random ninjas. Pure PUSA genius.
Their ability to mix two genres in one song comes together yet again for this track. Rubber band motor, thimble sized cylinders...what else would power a dune buggy fit for a spider? Don't ask me where they come up with this stuff, but it works. Kind of a grungy, pop-rock feel here, with a nice clean riff from Dederer for the hook.
We're Not Gonna Make It
After listening to this song, you wonder how it could be so true. How such an awesomely unique and talented band, could go so unnoticed in the grand musical scheme. This song showcases lazy and lackluster musicianship from the entire band, but I'm fairly confident its on purpose, and meant as a joke. Its obvious this was done in one take, but it comes out hideously catchy, and fun to sing along to.
Kick Out The Jams
Yes another version of this song, but with the PUSA twist.
I'm still having trouble figuring out if there is a hidden meaning to this song or not. Lyrics about lizards, and worms entering holes in frogs booties...its hard to tell if they mean something sexual, of if they really are just singing about animals. Thats whats great about this band. This one is kind of a slower, eerie song, and it will no doubt leave you a little perplexed.
Chris portrays an old man, on his back porch, playing guitar and eating peaches through a straw. Its got a heavy bluegrass feel to it, with some nice work from Jason Finn. This is a song that really illustrates the lyrics. You listen to it, and you feel like you're there.
I'm not really sure what to say about Candy. Its another one with a little bit of a grunge influence. Again, its either about sex...or knowing them, it really is about candy. You'll just have to listen for yourself and make your own judgement.
Naked And Famous
Best track on the album IMO. Excellent opening guitar riff. It starts out as a laid back, easy going, but very melodic political song. Some of the best lyrics Ballew has written lie within. At the end of the song, it goes from easy going and laid back, to another mosh pit tune made perfect for headbanging to. Perfect closing track. This has all the elements of a great song, and is one of my favorites to date. (There are a couple bonus acoustic demos of this on the re-release...pick it up!)
I chose not to rate each song individually for this review. But instead I will rate the album on a whole. Every song is so different, but somehow it all maintains the same feel. Nobody has ever captured that quite as well as the Presidents. As I said, every track is near perfect, without over doing it. They have the ability to make you laugh, think, bang your head, and lay back and chill all in the same few minutes of writing. Front to back this is one of the best albums I have ever bought, and I would recommend it to any fan of music. I give PUSA s/t a unanimous two thumbs up.
Recommended Tracks -
Skippable Tracks -
Sorry, there are none.
Overall Rating - 5/5