Whole Hog for the Macho Jesus

by Shrug

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about

Whole Hog For The Macho Jesus, the new eight song disc from the long-time Dayton pop/rockers Shrug's, seems to be a kinder, gentler sort of Shrug than seen on previous releases such as Everything's Blowing Up Roses and their last self-titled release.

Whole Hog's opener, "Wakeup, Sugarplum", finds the rockers taking it a little easy - until the chorus kicks in, that is. Add in some well-placed bass walk-downs and an already great song becomes unforgettable. Next, the light, alt. country "Further and Further" checks in, followed by "Laughter Tax" - one of my favorites on the record (though it was a tough to pick just one). "Laughter Tax" is a melodic, mid-tempo pop song with a sweetly sung chorus - "Give me laughter tax for my sins/it burns at first but it feels so nice when it begins." The beautiful, folksy, "All Around the Underworld" spotlights Weidner's songwriting skills even further, with lyrics like "Your car will emerge through explosions of birds/and huge half-truths and tiny words/I was born to sift this sand/and kiss the darkness where it stands." The chorus then digs deeper into Weidner's melancholy subconscious - "All around the underworld/fame is just a pretty girl/so sing her songs..." He sings with a voice full of character, telling the story in a way that each listener can fabricate their own illusions. The remaining tracks, "Color Me Gone", "She's A Ballad", "Age Nowhere", and "Heroin(e)" are the kind of intelligent pop/rock Shrug is known for - although not quite the "I've got scratches on my arm/and I don't know how they got there" Shrug, but they still rock.

Weidner rolls his poetic lines off of his tongue like pearls and his strict use of perfect rhyme pays off each and every time. His words, paired with the solid musicianship make Whole Hog For The Macho Jesus a must-have.

Rhonda Everitt
i-see-sound.com

credits

released 15 October 2005
Tod Weidner: lyrics, guitar, vox; Eric Cassidy: guitar, vox; Dan Stahl: drums; Bryan Lakatos: bass; Patrick Himes: production and engineering; music by Shrug

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Track Name: Wake Up, Sugarplum
Wake up, Sugarplum, it's time to be a genius
Time to beat your brain into a perfect circle
Wake up, Sugarplum, up off the matress
Wash your face and face the faceless, muddled masses
Wake up, Sugarplum, put on some coffee
Hesitation breeds resistance
And I'm not feeling your breath on my neck for nothing
This time

Wake up, Sugarplum, up from sedation
Face the nation, they await your answer
Wake up, Sugarplum, into the mainstream
The time is right for you to be the one to save us
Wake up, Sugarplum, gulp down the aspirin
You've been asleep for way too long
And everyone agrees that you should've known better
This time

It's nothing after all
It's nothing but a freak out
And after all
It's tough for you to speak out
So what if you got nothing to say today
We love you anyway

Wake up, Sugarplum
Wake up, Sugarplum
Wake up, Sugarplum
'Cause I'm not feeling your breath on my neck for nothing
No, I'm not feeling your breath on my neck for nothing
This time

It's nothing after all
It's nothing but a freak out
And after all
It's up to you to speak out
So what if you got nothing to say today
We love you anyway
It's nothing but a freak out
And after all
It's up to you to speak out
So what if you got nothing to say today
We love you anyway
We love you anyway
We love you anyway
We love you anyway
We love you anyway
We love you
We love you
Track Name: Further & Further
Whole hog for the macho Jesus
The pain medications never seem to please us anymore
Hail Mary and the saints preserve us
If Becky comes around tell her we're still nervous from the war

Worse came to worse
But if better comes to better
Let me take you for a ride
Until then, honey,
I'll be mailing dead letters from the passenger side

Five dollars on the coffee table
Six picks, seven digits
You're not quite able to recall
Let's have a big hand for the real go-getter,
The little homewrecker in the murder red sweater down the hall

Worse came to worse
But if better comes to better
Let me take you for a ride
Until then, honey,
I'll be mailing dead ltters from the passenger side

It's taking me further & further away
Further & further & further away
Further & further away from where I wanna be, yeah
Further & further away
Further & further & further away
Further & further away from where I wanna be, yeah

Skip ahead to the part where you say you want me
Skip ahead to the day where your ghosts don't haunt me
Skip ahead to the part where you say you want me
Skip ahead to the day where your ghosts don't haunt me

Further & further away
Further & further & further away
Further & further away from where I wanna be, yeah
Further & further away
Further & further & further away
Further & further away from where I wanna be, yeah
Further & further away
Further & further & further away
Further & further away from where I wanna be, yeah
Track Name: Laughter Tax
Back in the last days of Rome
They went for Nero man
Nero wasn't home
He was playing sax and violin
For all the slackers styling alone

It was a major affair
All the major movers and the networks were there
Waiting for something to happen
Through the smoke and noise and crap in the air

He gave them something that they've never seen
Kind of like what you did to me
Give me laugher tax for my sins
Burns at first, but it feels so nice when it begins
When it begins
Laugher tax for my sins

I gave my life to the church
I'm cloning Jesus through genetic research
I'm the patron saint of grieving
And the morals that you leave in the lurch

Not gonna say, "I believe"
I keep one in my hand, two up my sleeve
With my rosary, my collar
And the stack of silver dollars received

I'll give them something that they've never seen
Kind of like what you've done to me
Give me laugher tax for my sins
Burns at first, but feels so nice when it begins
When it begins
Laugher tax for my--

I'm dumbing it down
I'm kissing the ground
I'm living the life
I'm leaving your wife

I love it, I love it
I need someone to covet
A lover to smother
To leave me for another

So here's your thought for the day
You only try and dog me when the cat is away
I'll be conquered and divided
Hoping that you have decided to stay

You give me something that I've never seen
I kind of like what you've done to me
Give me laugher tax for my sins
Burns at first, but feels so nice when it begins
When it begins
When it begins
When it begins
Laugher tax for my sins
Track Name: All Around the Underworld
Your car will emerge through explosions of birds
And huge half-truths and tiny words
I was born to sift this sand
And kiss the darkness where it stands

All around the underworld
Fame is just a pretty girl
So sing her songs
But not too long

I am not the boss of me
At least as far as I can see
I'd like to bleed across the sky
The comet age has passed me by

And left me in the underworld
Fame is just a pretty girl
So sing her songs
But not too long

And I wouldn't want to be there
When they pull the veil away
To see this world for what it is and what it means today
Isn't it a pity that you never know forever 'til it's not
And this is not
This is not forever
This is not forever

There's an old friend that I had
Who just got tired of being sad
She packed and moved this afternoon
From Jackson Street up to the moon

Looking down upon the underworld
Fame is just a pretty girl
So sing her songs
But not too long
Not too long
Track Name: Age Nowhere
I'm a Christmas tree
On Groundhog's Day
I'm fillet mignon
On a TV tray
I'm a wet cigarette
In a lifeboat box
I'm all about intentions
But at least I'm here

To your guns, to your guns
Yeah the marching soldiers
To your boiling oil

I set a lump of coal
In your diamond mine
I saw your eyes light up
Were they dollar signs?
I'm only flesh and cold
Whenever one winks out
I'm hanging in suspension
But at least I'm here

To your guns, to your guns
Yeah the marching soldiers
To your boiling oil
I try to salvage what I can
From my weekend in the sun
'Til age nowhere strikes again
Age nowhere strikes again

To your guns, to your guns
Yeah the marching soldiers
To your boiling oil
I try to salvage what I can
From my weekend in the sun
'Til age nowhere strikes again
Age nowhere strikes again...
Track Name: She's A Ballad
I never had the taste for the obvious adrenaline
The subtle spiked fingers are more my speed
And now these tiny violent symphonies of anger and acetylene
Are rooted in my insides growing like a weed

She's a nervous habit
Anyone can see
She's a ballad
She's a ballad to be
She'll be the ballad of me

I tried to float away on some innocent oblivion
To wash away your face in the rain of my brain
I tried to change the luck of the lies I've been living in
But all I ever get is try again, try again, try again

She's a nervous habit
Anyone can see
She's a ballad
She's a ballad to be
She'll be the ballad of me

Bring on the boys singing "be-bop-a-lu-la"
Bring on the whores and the businessmen
I can count on one finger the reason to do this again

I save a little taste for the Cherubim and Seraphim
In the all-night laundries and the opium dives
I say a little prayer from the soft sanitarium
For all the poor suckers with the love in their lives
Go on and save yourselves
It's too late for me
Go on and save yourselves
It's too late for me

She's a ballad
She's a ballad to be
She's a ballad
She'll be the ballad of me
She's a ballad
She's a ballad to be
She's a ballad
She'll be the ballad of me
Track Name: Color Me Gone
I don't think you're who you say you are
You never could fool me
Your magic lamp is killing
What your truth could never be
And you're just some deadly old idea
Done up with mirrors and smoke
And I'm nothing but some passerby
Trapped in your inside joke

I was talking to your daddy, girl
He said to say "Hello"
He asked if you're the same surprise
That burned him long ago
And my tongue turned into leather
And my lungs turned into steel
And I knew at once that I had got
The wrong end of the deal

Sing it loud
Sing it clear
Light a candle for the ones who cannot hear
'Cause I tripped and broke my halo
And stained my brand new wings
Paradise lost
Color me gone

Well I took a trip 'cross the railroad tracks
Into your sordid past
The one you left behind
When you found out it would not last
And your legions of admirers
Victims stood as one
And they drank a toast and cursed your name
And hoped you're having fun
Yes, they hoped you're having fun

Sing it loud
Sing it clear
Light a candle for the ones who cannot hear
'Cause I tripped and broke my halo
And stained my brand new wings
Paradise lost
Color me gone
Track Name: Heroin(e)
She's as dark as the truth and twice as sad
With three times the pain of leaving
A fourth as hard as coming back again
She's a fragile china cup
Of everything that leaves me grieving
With a lump or two of sugar added in
She interferes with how I think
'Til all I do is sit and drink her in
My blood flows thick and warm with her
I'll ride out any storm with her in wind

I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e)
I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e)
I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e) tonight
I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e)
I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e)
I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e) tonight, tonight

She's a page from the book that teaches me
However fast I'm learnin'
There's a life's supply of things I'll never know
She's a suicide of ecstacy
That leaves my body burnin'
And takes me where my darkest thoughts won't go
She never fails and barely tries
And through it all it's no surprise to me
That every slow release of her
Results in one more piece of her in me

What I would give
To lay down
By her side as the stars circle 'round
Not a word
Not a sound
By her side as the stars circle 'round

She's as dark as the truth and twice as sad
With three times the pain of leaving
A fourth as hard as coming back again

I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e)
I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e)
I'm her fix and she's my heroin(e) tonight...