Song Of The Day 1/6/2015: Hall & Oates - "No Brain No Pain"

B-Sides Week '15: Those of you who had "6" as the over/under for how many days it would take me to put a Hall & Oates song on the blog in the new calendar year, you can collect your Porsches now from your local dealership. Tell 'em Brenda sent you. (Also, if you had "Hall & Oates" in your pool for "Which of Paul's most peculiarly favorite artists will be put up first in 2015?" over Scott Walker, John Cale and Neil Hannon/The Divine Comedy, you win a Shakey's Pizza gift certificate. But don't mention Brenda to them. They're still bitter about the salad bar incident.)

"No Brain No Pain" was the B-side to one of H&O's best (albeit not biggest) singles, 1979's "Wait for Me" from the nervous X-Static LP. As you can tell the B-side veers the good ship H&O way off its R&B-pop course into something slightly more aligned with Devo. I'm not sure if the boys from Akron had made significant inroads into the music landscape in time for Hall & Oates to logistically have been inspired by them; if not, then H&O were even more prescient than I've been trying to tell you guys for 20 damn years. ("It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room." "No... it's awful.") (Additionally, pretty hurts.)

Lyrically Hall recalls the three mystic apes of Japanese maxim fame, the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkeys,* always a surefire literary device. Did you know those monkeys had names? Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru, respectively. Anyway, Hall specifically addresses the strategy of Kikazaru: "The monkey in the middle doesn't hear what he said/He just lets the ball keep flyin' over his head/Doesn't laugh when he's right, doesn't cry when he's wrong/He's a happy chimp jumpin', just keeps singing along." And then Kikazaru sings the chorus to the song, which appears to be about voluntary oblivion. The big lie we tell ourselves. Our reflexive talents at self-bargaining and compartmentalization. Later on they'd call it "Prozac."

* I understand that some versions of this cartoon symbol have the "See No Evil" and "Hear No Evil" monkeys in swapped positions - "Hear no" is on the left, "See no" is in the middle. I found nearly equal instances of both sequences in my search results. I am an adult who made an adult decision to spend 10 minutes researching this. Thank you for your sympathy.
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