Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Track of the Week: I Like My Toys by The Idle Race

The 1960's produced some funny sounding songs. Children's songs and general nostalgia for childhood on some psychedelic records seemed to suggest a longing times when a person has little concern for the outside world (which at that time was full of war, riots, protests and difficult social changes). And beside that, the pressures of adulthood can be daunting to say the least. One of the best examples of this sentiment in music appeared on the Idle Race's 1968 album The Birthday Party. And the song in particular I picked to highlight is "I Like My Toys."

In the song, the singer claims to still be enamored with his toys, ignoring his mother pushing him to get a job and grow up. And despite his professed age of "nearly 31," he is still (and probably rightfully so) treated as a child. His mother threatens to tell his father if he does not get a job. Reminds me of my teenage years actually.

But what makes this song really good is the production. Listen to the dramatic harmonizing at 1:23. By this point the song has slowly become more serious; if things weren't immediately dismissed seconds later. But then the singer reverts back to ignoring the world and returns to his toys. The background singing then switches to a bit of very carefree "ooh oooooh-ing" until the song ends with sounds like the sweeping away of his mind into another world.



Lyrics
I have a trainset and a garage full of cars
And a soldier with a gun
My mother says I should have more resposibility
As I'm nearly 31

I have a plane, I have a crane
That can lift up all my trains and all my cars
I have a boat that doesn't float
But a big machine that takes me to the stars

But my mother says I should get a job
Or my father she will tell
She says 16 years is a long enough rest
Though I say that I'm not well

I have a trainset and a garage full of cars
And a soldier with a gun
My mother says she'll break up all my toys and all my games
And she'll say I'm not her son

But your mother says you should get a job
Or your father she will tell
She says 16 years is a long enough rest
Though you say that you're not well

I had a plane, I had a crane
That could lift up all my trains and all my cars
I had a boat that couldn't float
So my machine and me are going to the stars

I Like My Toys by The Idle Race


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