The Bargain Bin

The Bargain Bin: The Bloodhound Gang’s HOORAY FOR BOOBIES


Working at a record store taught me a tragic truth; no matter how much you love your favorite albums, they’ll never be as popular as they deserve to be. Each month at Merry-Go-Round Magazine, I dust off some long-overlooked records, revisit my pretentious past, and explore how this music forever etched itself into my history. Eventually, all your memories get marked down and thrown into The Bargain Bin.

The other night, my wife, Brittany, and I got into a stoner conversation about what constitutes a guilty pleasure. You know, the kind of music you hate to admit how much you actually love. A few years ago, I decided to take a stand against the term and have often dismissed the existence of the guilty pleasure—I believe you should like what you like and not care what other people might think. Do you unabashedly love the Dave Matthews Band? Wonderful. Own that shit. Who cares? Literally no one. Don’t worry about it. Enjoy your life. 

However, I did agree that calling a song that you’re sort of embarrassed about enjoying—one that features such a certain level of cringe that it pains you to admit how much you like it—a “guilty pleasure” is the perfect descriptor. I might think that you shouldn’t consider the things you love guilty pleasures, but I can’t deny how perfect and universal the term is.

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“You know what?” I said confidently. “I don’t know that I’ve ever admitted this to anyone, but I think HOORAY FOR BOOBIES by Bloodhound Gang is an objectively good record. I wished for years that I could have an instrumental version of it, because some tracks are outstanding from, like, a technical point of view.”

“I have to say I’m shocked,” said Brittany.

“After four years of marriage, I’m still full of surprises, huh?”

The Bloodhound Gang first hit my ears with their mid-90s hit “Fire Water Burn.” Lead vocalist Jimmy Pop (née James Franks) sounds like he could be the obnoxious little brother of Butthole Surfer’s Gibby Haynes—sort of talk-singing more than rapping, as Haynes does on “Pepper.” I thought it was a fine enough radio song filled with childish innuendo, and I enjoyed mimicking its radio-friendly reversed “ɿɘʞɔυʇɿɘʜtom” from the chorus. I’ll never forget the line, “I’m not black like Barry White / No, I am white like Frank Black is,” but beyond that, I wouldn’t think much about The Bloodhound Gang again until I saw a video for “The Bad Touch” on MTV2 one morning before school. You know, it goes, “You and me baby ain’t nothin’ but mammals,” but fuck, I can’t even type the whole thing out without feeling weird. Just look it up. 

My first year of high school was filled with many of these types of bands. Some fell under the category of “bands my friends liked, so I guess I’ll try to like them too” and “bands that my crushes liked, so I’ll try very hard to listen to them or at least do a good job pretending that I have.” Goldfinger, Alkaline Trio, Dashboard Confessional, Reel Big Fish, Lifehouse, Mindless Self Indulgence… but none of it was for me.

(Sidebar: Later in high school, I would go on to date one gal whose favorite band was Jethro Tull, so I have had to sit through their 1999 album J-TULL DOT COM more than once. I also spent two years with a girl obsessed with Def Leppard, so I sat through their BEHIND THE MUSIC episode, the 2001 VH1 Original movie HYSTERIA: THE DEF LEPPARD STORY, as well as their VH1 STORYTELLERS concert. At the time, I desperately wanted to start a Magnetic Fields/Judybats tribute band, so I was miles away from where they were, and I couldn’t fake liking either band.)

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ANYWAY, many strong Gen X feminists helped raise me, so listening to garbage music like HOORAY FOR BOOBIES felt a bit… blasphemous? Like, I hated how the lyrics read like an unfunny limerick carved into the stall walls of a nightclub bathroom. “For a good time, go buy some better music.”

Outside of occasionally starting international incidents, The Bloodhound Gang is the equivalent of being the only Hooters in a small town filled with Bob Evans’. No, actually they’re more like the Spencer’s Gifts in any small town mall. Spencer’s is the one place in any suburban area where you could buy a blanket that says “WHO ATE ALL THE PUSSY,” a coffee mug that’s just some balls with a dick as a handle, and a dildo shaped like an alien tentacle today. Seriously, I saw all of these things at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg outside of Chicago with my friend Debbi a month ago.

So yeah, the more I thought about how “good” I remembered the record, the more I felt it was the right time to revisit it some 25 years later. I can happily report that listening to this album in the year 2023 makes me even more uncomfortable than it did when I was 14. If I could get an instrumental version of “Three Point One Four,” so I don’t have to hear a dude “sing” about how there’s not a lot of words that rhyme with vagina, I’d be happy. I didn’t need to recall the time I listened to “Mope,” the Falco and Frankie Goes to Hollywood-sampling song featuring a cameo from a crack-smoking Pacman 10 times in a row while on a camping trip. I didn’t need to hear the gross skit where a dude just coughs up a lung because, fuck, no one needs to listen to that. Or the song about a porn star or the one that interpolates Pink Floyd or the one about getting a lap dance from a crying stripper. It’s all just garbage.

But you know what I’m glad I heard? The Bloodhound Gang’s cover of The Association’s “Along Comes Mary.” What a truly well-produced and delightful cover filled with some fantastic samples, and it’s the one song that Jimmy guy’s monotone really works on. This one can stay a guilty pleasure.

Jack Probst
Jack is a freelance pop culture writer living in St. Louis, Missouri. His writing has also been featured in Pitchfork, Paste Magazine, CREEM Magazine, NME, and The Riverfront Times. He appreciates the works of James Murphy, Wes Anderson, and Super Mario. He also enjoys writing paragraphs about himself in his spare time.

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