chipmunks on 16 speed

a hand-drawn illustration of 3 chipmunks, standing next to a rubbish bin with a sludgy guitar melting on it

i remember when this album came out. people were so surprised by how enjoyable it was to listen to. alvin and the chipmunks, a novelty act for children, only had to be slowed down to be annointed with the aesthetic legitimacy of vaporwave, the melvins, and new beat.

the fact that the rest of the instruments were tuned down to sludge-adjacency by the slowdown is a huge part of the effect. listen to that guitar solo in walk like an egyptian!

anyway i was thinking about this album again and listened to Rebel Yell on youtube where there's a pretty good bit running in the comments.

3 comments on the video for Rebel Yell Chipmunks on 16 Speed: 'This was the only track from Alvin’s solo career to feature Simon on backing vocals. The track was recorded in the wake of Theodore’s nearly fatal car crash and hospitalisation; tragically, Theodore was in Berlin recording percussion on the Chipettes third album when the crash occurred. Alvin was contractually obligated to remain in the U.S. while working on his solo album leaving him unable to visit Theo. While Alvin was unsure if he’d ever see his beloved brother again, Simon decided he would remain in the States to be with Alvin while Dave flew to Germany. Alvin and Simon cranked out this record in just two takes. You can really hear the fear and anguish in the vocals, especially Simon’s backing vocals. This will always be my favourite performance from A and S. RIP Alvin Seville, in our hearts forever!', 'This was around the time Alvin suffered his third overdose. Seeing this tour was honestly some of the hardest live music to watch. You could genuinely feel his pain and suffering, amazing show nevertheless', 'Maybe Alvin’s most bleak track from his Solo career. It speaks to the sad state of affairs he’s fallen into as the excess of the 80’s rolled on. The torturous conditions he’s put himself into as his distance from his brothers, especially Simon, only increased.'

delightfully, i took these comments at something approximating face value when i first read them, so it only really hit me when i started reading the band's wikipedia article and discovered they weren't actually three strung out brothers who got fucked up by the eighties.

chipmunks on 16 speed continues to surprise