Song of the Day: The Cramps

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Hyping the Misfits on Halloween -- and a great documentary on The Ramones -- have inspired me to do a week of classic punk here on your favorite MP3 blog. Today, we look at one of the most purposely absurd groups in the history of pop music: The Cramps.

Misfits gave punk an edge of horror -- the eerie, hopeless feeling you might get if you found a close friend cutting himself. The Cramps saw a sense of humor in goth, creating wild dances, ridiculous lyrics and adding a rockabilly vibe to the stripped sound of The Ramones and other emerging American punk bands. They looked dangerous -- they turned rock's sex appeal into zombie lust, then used it as a weapon -- but they were really just pranksters at heart.

That dualism drives "Drug Train," their best (of many, many) songs about drugs. The idea here is that you are so high you have no idea where you are. That is OK, they imply, because everyone else is totally mashed. Just dance around. You'll be fine.