Monday, February 16, 2009

From The Vault: Presidents of the United States of America - "Lump"

In honor (or dishonor) of president's day, why not dig up one of the worst song of the 90's? The Presidents of the United States of America were the product of the post-grunge mid 90's...and were pretty much the defintion of awful. At the time of its release, I was a freshman in high school struggling to not fail French class, Chris Webber was on the Washington Bullets and I had a pretty unhealthy obsession of eating peanut butter directly out of the jar. "Lump" played at least once an hour on MTV and it was as much a novelty song then as it is a forgotten novelty song now. Does anyone really care if they ever hear "Lump" again? I will let you think of that answer.

The song lyrics were derived from a dream Chris Ballew, lead singer, had while fighting pneumonia. The lyrics give a seemingly nonsensical description of a girl named or nicknamed "Lump", from the point of view of someone who knew her personally (and who is implied to have been infatuated with her) and who muses at whether or not she is still alive. Lump is, during the song, lying in a swamp. It is uncertain whether she is catatonic, unconscious, or dying. Her life, as it is described, seemed to have been a wasted one. She is implied to be unintelligent and/or disturbed ("Lump lingered last in line for brains / And the ones she got were sorta rotten and insane"). It is also implied that Lump was sexually promiscuous and failed to accomplish much ("She spent her twenties between the sheets / Life limped along at subsonic speeds"). The narrator concludes by suggesting that he is no longer concerned/infatuated with Lump ("Is this Lump outta my head? / I think so").

A second interpretation is that the song is a metaphor for the benign tumor Chris Ballew discovered in his head during his battle with pneumonia. This is partially evidenced in the lines ("Lump sat alone in a boggy marsh / Totally motionless except for her heart / Mud flowed up into lump's pyjammas / She totally confused all the passing piranhas") murky swamp being his brain and the piranhas being the many doctors that had missed the tumor.

No comments: