In Hear This, A.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well. This time around, we’re picking our favorite songs that feature s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g.
The Riverboat Gamblers have long been known more for their frenetic live shows instead of their studio albums. This reputation has persisted since the group’s early years, and though the band has always had great songs in its canon, it wasn’t until 2006’s To The Confusion Of Our Enemies that it offered a rallying cry for live shows that fans could take home with them. “The Art Of Getting Fucked” is the band’s best song (barely edging out “Ice Water” for that designation), and it’s all because the Gamblers elect to spell out their mission.
Live, the band’s vocalist Mike Wiebe is known to use “The Art Of Getting Fucked” as a way to push his performance to its apex, using the letter-by-letter chant of “Gambler” in the song’s bridge as an opportunity to work the crowd into a tizzy while he climbs speaker stacks, stray pipes, or anything else a venue can offer in order to launch himself into the crowd at the song’s climax. It’s an effective tactic, and one that’s made even more special by having a studio version that matches that intensity. “The Art Of Getting Fucked” is a two-headed beast, the type of song that makes a Gamblers show celebratory, but also proves that sometimes a joyous chaos can spill onto a record, too.
Photo by John Pesina