366 Songs 016: Sidewalk Serfer Girl

“When fun is outlawed, only outlaws will have fun.”

There’s something about that line, spoken/sung in the middle of this song and – like much of it by that point – barely audible, lost in the noise and buzz that’s grown up around everything that’s going on as the song has gone on, that speaks to the appeal of Super Furry Animals as a band. It recalls Bob Dylan’s famous line “To live outside the law, you must be honest” (from “Absolutely Sweet Marie,” I think? Google agrees, but that’s not necessarily a sign of anything other than a lot of other people agreeing to misremember these things), but plays with it, just like so much of SFA’s music is a detournment of other music and genres (Listen to this song, after all, which starts with gentle acoustic guitar finger picking before being overpowered by powerchords, ELO-esque harmonies and a more “electronica,” to use the horrible-but-apt term, feeling as we approach the bridge). And it speaks to SFA’s attitude in general, which is a knowing playfulness, a self-aware sense of what’s going on but determined attempt not to become weighed down by the darkness and heartlessness all around. It’s not “If fun is outlawed,” it’s when, but you can tell from the line (and it’s delivery) that Super Furry Animals are perfectly prepared to break whatever laws they have to, in order to stay true to themselves, and have fun.

Who can resist a band like that?

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