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“Dolby’s Top 10 Head Automatica Songs”

There, this is about as far from Soundgarden as you get. When I first heard Head Automatica in 2004, it sounded fully immersed within its time, with Dan the Automator, already a proven DJ from Deltron 3030, on the knobs.
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10 “Scandalous” (Popaganda)
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At this point within Head Automatica’s solid sophomore effort Popaganda you’re every bit due for a song that’s sort of slow. As the first deliberate number on the album, “Scandalous” does a nice job of taking down the tempo but not making things TOO serious, still crashing the party with a requisite tongue-in-cheek irony and emotional ambiguity, detachment.
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9 “Curious” (Popaganda)
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Those mellow Fenders chime delicious with crisp power chords on this one and given some maybe more un-patriotic, un-tough guy culture dominating Clear Channel et. al., this song definitely could have been a radio hit.
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8 “God” (Popaganda)
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Oddly, being that they’re as pop/rock as a snack made by Nabisco, Head Automatica aren’t typically masterful arbiters of concision — but on this cut they do settle into somewhat of a direct, quarter-note statement, and the result is lively and refreshing. I remember this song being very critically acclaimed because of its themes of mortality of the self. True, but it could have got by without them, too.
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7 “Disco Hades II” (Decadence)
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This is one of those songs that’s so weird that it undeniably leaves an impression, but still, nobody would deny that it’s a quintessential Decadence track — Automator’s infectious, incessant drums every bit aptly soundtracking the lyrical subject matter which is about dancing, or TRYING to dance (the Caucasian equivalent, in other words).
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6 “At the Speed of a Yellow Bullet” (Decadence)
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Great opener off their first album Decadence here, and what’s more, impossible to categorize — I mean the whole thing is already un-punk for Automator being at the helm, despite that Darryl Palumbo’s previous band was the hardcore Glassjaw (who in my opinion suck), and this is like one of those songs that’s just too crazy, nervous and full of feeling to even settle into any m.o. whatsoever. Not only will I take it, but I’ll listen to it probably 50 times, if I’m my 20 year old self.
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5 “Lying through Your Teeth” (Popaganda)
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Great, catchy song, but I sorta hate this jerk for being so good looking and having all those fine chicks in the video. Apparently that’s not easy either, haha.
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4 “Solid Gold Telephone” (Decadence)
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I remember playing this song while I was dish washing at our apartment one time and my hipster roommate who liked like David Bowie and stuff came in and asked “Who’s this?” And then I told him. And then he probably forgot. And that probably just about sums up Head Automatica’s career.
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3 “Graduation Day” (Popaganda)
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Tip-top tipper-offer at the startlingly precocious and taut pop-rock statement that is Popaganda. They were heading into this thing without Dan the Automator at the control helm, so you figure, they’d better have some songs in tow. Well, that wasn’t a question for very long.
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2 “Shot in the Back (The Platypus)” (Popaganda)
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It’s rare that a successful album centerpiece also acts as something that sort of takes down both the tempo and the volume a little bit — and the poignance of this song is only accentuated by following as it does the song “God,” which is a song about having Crohn’s Disease. “Shot in the Back” says… fu** it, I’m still alive. I won’t back down. Great song.
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1 “King Caesar” (Decadence)
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I swear to God I had this song on repeat right up through about the harvest moon in 2004, after having purchased the album in the summer. “Beating Heart Baby” is the lead single off Decadence? Wassupwitdat? Dan the Automator cakes layers and layers of poly-melodies over each other on this veritable feast of pop rock that comes replete with rhythm to boot. Dancing? Eh, that’s goin’ a little far. Glass raising? Yup.

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