Track: Ebeneezer Goode
Artist: The Shamen
Label: One Little Indian Ltd.
Summary: A fun, happy glimpse into rave culture.
First of all, I'd just like to write a quick disclaimer: I'm not a
big advocate of recreational drugs, and I'm not suggesting you take
any. I'm merely talking about a song which describes one of them.
Ebeneezer Goode is one of those subversive songs that's also catchy
and commercially appealing enough to actually make it to number one
in the charts. The music itself is great, with a funky little acid
line, a solid rave backing, and an interesting synthetic choir based
intro. The organ-esque sound in the chorus echoes the melody of the vocal and is
catchier than the hooks of a lot of other pieces of music that were
around at the time, but all of that is secondary to the song's main
feature: its lyric.
Apparently a few people were up in arms about the pro-ecstasy stance
of this lyric, which is somewhat missing the point. It's true that
the lyricist personifies the drug as the charming, happy party-goer
Ebeneezer Goode, who is "very much maligned and misunderstood."
Presumably, however, the song's critics overlooked the flip side of
this individual, as the lyric goes on to state how you should "go
easy on old 'Eezer" because "He's the kind of geezer who must never
be abused." While the song clearly paints him in a positive light,
it encourages people to be sensible and not go overboard.
A song is more than just a lyric, though. The music and lyric work
together so well because the music is exactly the sort of thing
people like to listen to at raves, so while you're listening to a
description of old 'Eezer, you're also enveloped by the sounds that
work best when he's around. This combination is much more effective
than either of its parts would be in isolation, and the complete
song gives a small glimpse into what raves are like by simultaneously
describing them while conjuring up such a vivid feeling of their
warmth and happiness that you almost feel as if you're at one.
This song isn't just a piece of rave music, but the experience of a
rave in music form.