Essential Dan Deacon songs

February 18, 2010|By Baltimore Sun reporter

Dan Deacon makes music for children and inner children alike.

Equal parts earnest and eccentric, Deacon's songs range from explosive celebrations to ambient noise. Here are five essential Deacon songs, from the bizarre to the brilliant.

1. "Wham City" from the album "Spiderman of the Rings"

A nearly 12-minute ode to the collective of experimental artists and musicians, of which Deacon is a key member, "Wham City" is Deacon's opus. Fittingly, a gang of Wham City folks sing together on the song -- a triumphant, experimental epic.

2. "Big Big Big Big Big" from "Acorn Master"

Silly from start to finish, "Big Big Big Big Big" is a playful romp, with Deacon playing the manic maestro -- a role he handles with ease.

3. "Ohio" from "Twacky Cats"

A cheesy-sounding Latin beat kicks off this early gem, which shows shades of the gleefully eccentric music to come. "Ohio, is it too late? Ohio-ooo," Deacon croons in a hilarious falsetto, alongside gurgling synths. In February 2005, Deacon performed the song on WSAV, an NBC-TV affiliate in Savannah, Ga. The anchors couldn't help but giggle, and the video, later uploaded to YouTube, now has nearly half a million views.

4. "The Crystal Cat" from "Spiderman of the Rings"

Few of Deacon's other songs are as urgent as this one. It opens with an unrelenting beat and erupts into a surf-inspired dance party. Deacon tweaked his voice with effects pedals to make it sound like he huffed a few helium balloons beforehand.

5. "Of the Mountains" from "Bromst"

Though he has zany outfits and charmingly bizarre songs aplenty, Deacon has always been a serious composer at heart. This eight-minute track from his latest album, "Bromst," starts with xylophones and tribal drums that surge and ebb in movements. It's a vivid tour through Deacon's world.
-- Sam Sessa

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