Hey, it's the March of the Gay Parade!"
("oh how nice!")
The Gay Parade is Of Montreal
's third studio album and was released in 1999
. It's a cute, colourful window into Kevin Barnes' mind, where all sorts of fully-imagined, interesting people make their home. Like the Beatles
did with Eleanor Rigby
, Sexy Sadie
, Bungalow Bill
and countless others, Of Montreal has created a dozen quirky characters to tell stories about, with names like Tulip Baroo, Jacques Lamure, Hector Armano, and Nickee Coco.
"Yay! It's the March of the Gay Parade!"
The music of The Gay Parade is certainly gay enough. Mixing elements of psychedelic pop, folk, and doo-wop
style rock and roll
, every song turns out to be funny, sweet, and unbelievably catchy. It's not too dissimilar to their debut, Cherry Peel
, but it doesn't retain the intimate, stripped-down, home-recorded feel
that Cherry Peel meekly showed off. With bizarre-voiced back-up vocals, occasional background dialogue, and sound effects aplenty, all this album wants to show off is its sense of fun. It's impossible to separate that element from the music, and any serious attempt to evaluate the musical worth of The Gay Parade is soon abandoned. The fact is, it's far too easy to let yourself get swept along with it.
"YAAY, it's the March of the Gay PARAAADE!"
Lyrically, The Gay Parade follows the formula of countless classic pop albums
. Most of the songs, when not telling silly stories about the imaginary folk of the Parade, deal with young, carefree, blossoming love
. Even songs that, by all rights, should be sad (My Friend Will Be Me, The Autobiographical Grandpa) end up having a tone of ringing optimism or contentedness. The happy parts of the album easily soar past "deliriously happy," which ensures that the depressing parts never dip past "a little out-of-it today, thanks." Of Montreal
flexes its fingers and manipulates your heartstrings with skill. I have to admit, I was not a fan of light pop music like this until I heard Of Montreal. I don't even like Pet Sounds
. It may be a little sad, perhaps, to divulge that The Gay Parade is the most fun I have on a regular basis. Even if indie pop isn't your thing (it wasn't mine), you should listen to a bit of this.
("I think he's losing his mind!")
All the people look so beautiful
While they're marching in the Gay Parade!
They make friends with trees and animals,
They gather up all their countries' flags and they BURN THEM!
1. Old Familiar Way (2:25)
2. Fun Loving Nun (2:17)
3. Tulip Baroo (2:10)
4. Jacques Lamure (2:31)
5. The March of the Gay Parade (2:55)
6. Neat Little Domestic Life (2:45)
7. A Collection of Poems About Water (3:57)
8. I'd Be a Yellow Feathered Loon (2:40)
9. The Autobiographical Grandpa (2:19)
10. The Miniature Philosopher (1:54)
11. My Friend Will Be Me (3:54)
12. My Favorite Boxer (3:01)
13. Advice From a Divorced Gentleman to His Bachelor Friend Considering Marriage (2:08)
14. A Man's Life Flashing Before His Eyes While He and His Wife Drive Off a Cliff into the Ocean (3:04)
15. Nickee Coco and the Invisible Tree (5:21)
16. The Gay Parade Outro (0:47)
All lyrical outbursts taken from song 5, "The March of the Gay Parade."
The Gay Parade - Of Montreal - 1999 - Bar/None Records