The Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps” changed my outlook on life.
TODAY A FRIEND OF MINE sent me a spoof version of the Black Eyed Peas’ “My Humps.”
The parody by Peaches, called “My Dumps,” is pretty funny if your humor skews toward the scatological.
The Peaches song seems to be patterned after the Alanis Morisette version of “My Humps,” a slowed down, Tori Amos-style cover that brings the absurdity of the song into even crisper focus.
I remember hearing the original song for the first time. I used to drive around Louisville with my car radio on scan. My tape player was broken, almost everything on the radio was shit, and so I’d just let the scan function reveal the depths of the garbage out there in the world three seconds at a time, stopping if I heard a snippet of something interesting.
“My Humps” caught my attention. I heard Fergie’s repetitive insistence, “My hump. My hump. My lovely little lumps.” I stopped the scanning and let it play out. The lyrics were so stupid, I was sure it was some kind of a joke. The word “hump” as it applied to the female body only called up images of old crones with osteoporosis, and “lumps” in reference to breasts only made me think of self exam cards hanging in the shower and mastectomies.
“What the fuck,” I said out loud, alone in the car. The part where she says, “Check it out,” made me laugh an incredulous chirp. I waited for the DJ to cut in afterwards and say something about how funny it was, but the station went right into the next song.
I was energized in my disbelief. When I got home later that night, I said to my roommate Chad, “Have you heard that lump song? Is that shit real?”
He didn’t know what I was talking about.
I’d ask people, “Have you heard that lump song?” Most of my friends are not big on popular music. No one knew what I was talking about, and I almost started to think I must have imagined or dreamed the song.
Then one day, I was on my way to the movies with my friend John. He was one of the only people who could handle my radio scanning habit, and as we sailed into the theater parking lot in my Olds 88, I heard the Shasta commercial, “Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” of the opening of the song.
“This is it! This is the lump song. Listen to this shit. I can’t believe it’s real,” I said.
“Turn that shit off,” he said.
“No, no, no. Listen. Is this real?”
John tolerated the song, unimpressed. He looked lethargic and bored. I was there with my head cocked and my eyes wide, as incredulous as I’d been the first time I heard it. I’d laugh once in a while. When the part where the guy goes, “I said hey, hey, hey, hey, let’s go,” came on I could barely contain myself.
“It can’t be real. It can’t be serious! Whatcha gonna do with all that breast? All that breast inside that shirt?”
“Who cares? It sucks,” John said.
We went into the movie.
Was this the moment that I became an adult? There were plenty of stupid songs that got airplay while I was growing up — songs that were vapid and silly — like “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” or “Abracadabra,” or “I’m Too Sexy.” Some of these were songs I hated, some I just didn’t pay much attention to, but none of them seemed to have the mixture of dead-seriousness and profound idiocy mixed with a hefty dose of braggadocio that delighted me about this song.
I had turned a corner. Something this dumb wasn’t something to get angry about. It was something to be examined, to be savored and enjoyed. It was a testament to the silliness of our times, to the depths of consumerism we had sunk to, to our culture’s complete lack of shame and self-examination as a whole. And I could laugh at it.