The Frogs

Racially Yours (Four Alarm)

In 1968, Charles Manson claimed that the Beatles' "White Album" was actually a blueprint for a race war that would trigger the apocalypse. While the Beatles were upset by this bizarre interpretation of their work, the Frogs might yet inspire such a war. The band's 1993 album Racially Yours -- which went unreleased until now -- is so incendiary that it should be kept out of the ghetto at all costs. Any Internet-ordered shipments to white supremacist camps must also be stopped. Children all over the world should be duly warned.

To be fair, the Frogs are not the new Manson family but Jimmy and Dennis Flemion, two brothers from Milwaukee, Wis., who are best known for their shocking subject matter and the patronage of the Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan. Recorded four years after their controversial gay supremacist classic It's Only Right and Natural, Racially Yours was deemed unreleasable by labels afraid to promote something that could be construed as racist.

Surprisingly, the album is less over-the-top parody than expected; in fact, it's relatively somber and serious, making interpretation even more difficult. Amongst watermelon and "kill whitey" jokes are nearly straight-faced odes to freedom and self-expression. The first track, "Truth," sets the tone with the declaration, "You wouldn't know the truth/ If it bit you on the ass."

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Sample of The Frogs' "Darkmeat 4 Sale"

<p align="center"> If your browser doesn't play the music automatically, <A HREF="http://www.sfweekly.com/media/2000-10-25/frogs.mp3"> download it here.</A> </p>

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Using absurdist wit, the Frogs make both white and black supremacists look like babbling idiots. In "The Purification of the Race," the brothers ask, "Would a tiger make it with a toad?/ I don't think so," while Nation of Islam-style race theory is espoused to ironic effect in "The Blue-Eyed Devil & the Brown-Eyed Angel." White guilt and insecurity are held up for ridicule on "Sorry I'm White" ("If I dropped my drawers you'd win"), while "You're a Bigot" points the accusatory finger inward.

Musically the Frogs toss out strummy folk and faux-stadium anthems, with an ironic attitude embedded in the source material. "Revolution" references both John Lennon and T. Rex's riot-themed tracks, while "I Had a Dream" sets Martin Luther King Jr.'s lament to a haunting piano ballad. In the end, however, any analysis of the music on Racially Yours will inevitably be eclipsed by the unsavory subject matter. This is one album destined to sit in the back of your CD collection.

 
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