1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear
#14: The Fast Food Rockers – The Fast Food Rockers (2003)
MATT KELLY valiantly warns the unsuspecting music fan to stay away from the horrendous 2003 comeback of Stock (of Aitken Waterman).
By 2003, the terrifying reign of the empty-headed bubblegum radio pollution of writing/production team Stock Aitken Waterman was a distant memory. But just like a horror movie villain, 10 years later Mike Stock rose from his pop-culture grave to blight the land with ‘The Fast Food Song’.
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Few alive at the time will have forgotten the sheer horror of turning on their music channel to see three idiots in primary coloured outfits jumping around shouting the name of fast-food restaurants over one of the most brazenly inane melodies to ever make the Top 10. Sometimes at night, as I toss and turn in my bed, I can still hear the tormented shrieks of:
“Oh Pizza Hut, oh Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut
McDonald’s, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut.”
Had it been packaged as children’s music I don’t think anyone would have minded, but Stock and FFR had plans to be a force in actual pop. It worked for one song before they fell off the face of the earth, but before their demise, FFR recorded and released a 50-minute-long album.
Is it all as bad as the ‘Fast Food Song’? Actually, no – a few songs stand out as being decently written with good hooks: ‘Unforgettable’ would have fit on a Kylie album and ‘Kiss Me Quick’ will go down a treat at the old folks’ home disco night with its enjoyably cheesy bass and melodically sweet chorus.
However, a couple of bright spots doesn’t get you through 15 songs. Listen to one track and you’ll think, “Well at least it’s not Crazy Frog.” Listening to it as an album is punishing – nondescript vocal performances and aggressively cheerful production that makes the Venga Boys sound like Tindersticks begin to eat away at your sanity.
Of the many low points, the most egregious is their attempt at the Ghostbusters theme – God knows why that’s here but it is, and its cut-and-paste dance beat and annoying vocal adlibs are intolerable.
It’s a deeply plastic album, with monotonous production that is almost proud about how generic it is, and the emotional range of a tree stump; the please-shoot-me-in-the-face ‘Strut Your Funky Stuff’ (spoilers: it is not funky) being a good example.