So why is The Dandy Warhols’ Welcome to the Monkey House on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?
While I could be wrong, my sense over the years has been that The Dandy Warhols are not always the most respected of bands by way of many music fans and critics. Just as one example, the All Music review of Welcome to the Monkey House casually lobs words and phrases around like “smirky,” “empty-sounding,” “gloriously blank,” and “cleverly stupid” (cleverly stupid? We talking about Roman Roy from Succession here or what?).
At the risk of being wrong twice over, I disagree with Heather Phares at All Music and I disagree with the general take that the Dandies aren’t good. While certainly the band has a very particular hipster, posing (yet not poseur) vibe, if you can dig, they are a damned good rock ‘n roll band.
With that, let’s dive into the Monkey House.
I’m pretty sure the band has never leveraged electronic effects* better than on “We Used To Be Friends,” and overall it’s an absolute crusher. As ever, The Dandy Warhols are masters at conjuring incredible alt rock hooks while maintaining a fine pop sensibility. And Courtney Taylor-Taylor’s use of a falsetto vocal range on the chorus here really sets the song apart as truly unique.
* After listening to “We Used To Be Friends” a bunch of times during the writing of this piece, the electronic effects started to remind me of those used by U2 on albums like Achtung Baby and Zooropa.
“I Am Over It” leverages a nice dark and synth-y hook and slightly odd effects to create a very specific and cool mood.
“Plan A” shows off what great pop craftsmen The Dandy Warhols are. The chorus is delightfully catchy, and the song overall is groovy and, dare I say, cool in a hipster kind of way.
And if that ain’t cool, well then I suppose I ain’t cool then*.
* Which, if you’ve been following these here best 1,000 albums ever proceedings, you know that I am perfectly fine with!
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to The Dandy Warhols’ Welcome to the Monkey House
If you’re a TV fan, you might be familiar with The Dandy Warhols by way of their association with the 2000s show, Veronica Mars. It’s a very good show that’s even forward leaning in some respects, in terms of that it’s a quirky drama with a lot of comedic elements, a strong female lead character in Kristen Bell (who is great in everything), and a really nice mix of mystery and teen drama/soapy bits.
The theme song is “We Used To Be Friends,” which fits the mood and vibe of the show perfectly, somehow.
It also made me consider that the 2000s were boom times for great TV show theme songs. There are a few great ones these days (Succession particularly jumps to mind) but many shows have gone away from lengthy credit sequences in favor of a title card, or perhaps a very short intro sequence a la Breaking Bad (I’ll add that the slightly longer retro guitar sequence that fronts Better Call Saul is magical, I must say).
Beyond the obvious 2000s theme songs from classics like The Sopranos and Mad Men, another great example is the use of The Von Bondies’ “C’mon C’mon” as the theme song for Rescue Me. That show happens to be another quirky drama with a lot of comedic elements, though one where the comedy, led by a great cast fronted by Denis Leary, usually worked better than the dramatic elements.
Anyway, “C’mon C’mon” as used by Rescue Me – a show about firefighters in New York City post-9/11 –helped to evoke a sense of spirited defiance and community along with the sensibilities of the show.
It still gives me chills.
Some stats & info about The Dandy Warhols – Welcome to the Monkey House
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Alternative Rock, Indie Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 3 out of 5 stars
- When was Welcome to the Monkey House released? 2002
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #491 out of 1,000
The Dandy Warhols’ Welcome to the Monkey House on Spotify
A lyrical snippet from The Dandy Warhols’ Welcome to the Monkey House that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe
A long time ago, we used to be friends but I haven’t thought of you lately at all.
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.