As it turned out, Penthouse was the peak of Luna’s music. Two decades on, it remains their one indisputably great record, a fact that even Dean Wareham would admit.
But that isn’t to say they still weren’t capable of pulling off great songs — every single one of their albums had at least one killer track, even if I’m not going to write anything about “Tracy I Love You” or “Fuzzy Wuzzy” or “Speedbumps” or “1995” or even the brilliant cover of Mercury Rev’s “Car Wash Hair” they put out just a couple of months ago.
“U.S. Out of My Pants!” is probably nobody else’s favorite Luna song, but it’s pretty damn close to being mine. Starting off with a mutated bossanova beat, over witch Wareham and Sean Eden lay a fuzzy electric and a jangly 12-string guitar, leading into Wareham’s crooning opening.
It’s almost formless, with Justin Harewood’s bass circling around the guitars and the drumbeat, and you’ll be excused if you’re not really paying attention and miss the second verse, full of stream-of-consciousness punk references and half lefty culture war declarations.
East Bay Ray
And Ruby Foo
Said USA get out of my pants!
We made the world safe
For the Cable News Network
Light another pill
The house is on fire
I’m not sure what any of that means — I’ve always known who East Bay Ray and the Cable News Network, but I just now had to google “Ruby Foo.” But none of that matters, because it’s really the second half of the song that I love.
After one more round of the “bah-doooos,” drummer Lee Wall — Stanley Demeski was long gone — rocks up the beat just a skosh, and Wareham (and probably Eden) pile on the guitars. And I do mean pile on — a whole web of interwoven guitar solos wending in and out and around and in between each other for the back half of the song, until it finally collapses under the glorious weight of all of those guitars, and drifts slowly to its end.
“U.S. Out of My Pants!”
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