Mark my words: Caribou will be to alternative rock what the supermarket is to punk music. Ever noticed how many punk rock bands write songs—good songs—about grocery stores? There's “Supermarket Song” by ska-punk band Citizen Fish, “Supermarket Fantasy” by Ramones rip-off band Screeching Weasel, and “Lost in the Supermarket” by the Clash. Something about the endless isles of commerce just provides so much songwriting material--even though supermarket songs aren't truly about grocery shopping. ("Supermarket Fantasy," for example, is a lusty love song.)
Caribou are another matter. It's not really clear what makes the North American term for wild reindeer such a great musical inspiration. The Pixies already have a song titled “Caribou,” although arguably the song isn't really about caribou at all. (Someone told me it was about man's yearning for the nature that civilization separated him from, but my jury's still out on that.)
Local pop band The Honus Huffhines have also written a song about (but not really about) the antlered animal called “Nathan's From Montana.” Even this super short tune—with Elvis Costello-styled vocals and upbeat melodies—is ambivalent about the arctic beast, with lyrics like “Caribou is on the scene and grooving” juxtaposed to “Caribou…/ So average!” The song is so catchy and infectious (much like the Clash's song about supermarkets, which is really about the effect of mass consumerism on culture) that the subject matter of "Nathan's"—which again, is likely not about caribou—seems less important.
So the battle between caribou and supermarket songs (that aren't really about either) rages on. By my count, supermarkets are in the lead, with three songs to caribou's two. Your move, caribou. Your move.
The Honus Huffhines at MySpace
Photo from Honus HuffhineSpace