Over the millennia since homo sapiens have climbed atop the food chain, animals have been the source of nourishment, tools, transportation, clothing, fuel—you name it. In modern times, they offer companionship, sport, guidance, study and LOLs. They’re a natural source of inspiration for art and music, serving as a source rife with metaphor or even just vivid anthropomorphized characters. In the hands of some oddball musicians, things can get weird in a hurry.

“Human Fly” – The Cramps

What’s better than personifying animals? Becoming a horrific hybrid with one. The Cramps pull off some creepy-cool “Flight of the Bumblebee” shit with that rattling guitar riff to open, and the late Lux Interior drops some wicked onomatopoeia. Abominations unto God have never been so fun!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3obgZTZ-rh4

“Tommy the Cat” – Primus

I remember as if it were a meal ago.” The first time I heard Les Claypool loopy-voice his way through Primus’ “Tommy the Cat,” I was hooked. I’ve often forgotten about it for months or years at a time but then will randomly crave it out of the blue. Claypool slides his fingers down the neck of that bass “like butter dripping off a hot biscuit” and there’s no stopping this nonsensical tale about an urban predator.

“Rock Lobster” – The B-52’s

Kitschy as all get-out, this off-the-wall romp comes equipped with a nasty guitar hook and is far less obnoxious than “Love Shack.” The shrill dolphin-like squeals halfway through are a nice touch.

“I Am the Walrus” – The Beatles

What must have stuffy suburban parents thought when the band that had once sang “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on Ed Sullivan started dropping lines like “Yellow-matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye”? Sure, whatever, you are the Walrus, John Lennon. Acid is a hell of a drug.

“Three Little Pigs” – Green Jellÿ

If Spinal Tap was a real band, Green Jellÿ would’ve opened for them. I was addicted to this song for about a week when it owned the #1 slot on the “Top Nine at Nine” on local radio. Rock star, Harvard-educated architect swine and a deus ex machina thanks to Rambo. Enough said.

“Surfin’ Bird” – The Trashmen

Ever heard an ornithologist stroke out? Now you have.

“Fire Coming Out of a Monkey’s Head” – Gorillaz

That otherworldly Gorillaz bounce. An intriguing and bizarre story about volcanoes, peaceful hill people and shadowy Strange Folk. Dennis Motherfucking Hopper.

“Animals” – Talking Heads

Animals think, they’re pretty smart/ Shit on the ground, see in the dark.” Sounds about right for a David Byrne lyric, and that’s before we even get to the manic and paranoid “nuts and berries” climax.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJwr2JLjc4c

“Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon

Best song to ever include a little old lady getting mutilated. Aaaaaahoooooooo!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhSc8qVMjKM

“Rain Dogs” – Tom Waits

A shambling kitchen-sink beat? Check. Throat full of gravel? Check. All clear to sing about late night surrealism, Mr. Waits.

“Birdhouse in Your Soul” – They Might Be Giants

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this song’s technically about a nightlight, not an animal. But whatever, still counts. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for killing Jason off and countless screaming Argonauts.

“The Bad Touch” – Bloodhound Gang

Sophomoric (and misogynistic) as all hell, but Jimmy Pop and the gang have a point: we ain’t nothing but mammals.

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