Six Damn Fine Degrees #77: Kasabian’s Club Foot (2004)

Welcome to Six Damn Fine Degrees. These instalments will be inspired by the idea of six degrees of separation in the loosest sense. The only rule: it connects – in some way – to the previous instalment. So come join us on our weekly foray into interconnectedness!

On the surface, Kasabian’s Club Foot is a macho song: “One, take control of me? – you’re messing with the enemy.” And there is, after the ominous intro, that one-two rattled beat making sure you are paying attention despite yourself. It’s the best use of a bass guitar outside of the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage. Yes, it’s possible to love or hate a pop song just because of the pace of its rhythm. The song steps straight on, not paying any attention to the left or the right. It’s wearing silver-studded boots, leaving messy prints behind. There is sweaty leather and unwashed hair in that little tune. The title is a red herring if there ever was one: someone is stepping large, seemingly able-bodied, sartorial and not giving a frigging fuck. In your face, Tony Manero. Club Foot is as subtle as a viking attack.

So when do the cracks show? For me, it starts with the lines: “Stalking ‘cross the gallery – all these pills got to operate.” Is he at the Louvre, up to his eyeballs on ecstasy? Does he think he can chat up the Mona Lisa? He may still look like a hard guy, but can you see him? He is out of his depth because his entourage is elsewhere. People are pointing. What a loser.

And the eggshells definitely crack with “all I got is a dirty trick”. Where does that admission come from? I’ve been in the presence of a pick-up artist last weekend (not willingly, mind you), and it was so very easy to make fun of him that my girlfriend and I went on imitating him in his presence for minutes, and he never caught on what we were doing. Chances are, he thought I was learning from him on the spot, using his lines on the defenseless female beside me. Nope. It’s done, mate, we can see through you, now step down and become normal.

And while there are football clubs that use Club Foot to psych themselves up for the game, it’s the video that brings it all crashing down: the band seems to play in a recording studio without central heating nor electrical power. What is the point of recording a tune of this volume in a studio that looks like a cheap movie back-lot knock-off of what innocent fools think the Abbey Road studios look like? Why is the singer half-naked, dressed only in a bedspread? I don’t know how the feeling of the song could have prompted such a socially critical music video. And no tough guy worth his salt is ever going to tell a woman: “I’ll tell you I need you.”

Join me next time for Kasabian’s You’re in Love with a Psycho. Just kidding.

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