Before reading further, please listen to the song, if you're the type that does that sort of thing. I want to try a little experiment. While your ears are occupied, keep your eyes busy with these super scorchin' pics of '80s teen sex-pot and "Attack" singer, Stacy Lattisaw.
Now that you've endured that, do you have any idea how to play Ms. Lattisaw's proposed game? Me neither, and I've been listening to this song for years! Way to speak to your target demo (I'm guessing five-year-olds, or those with the mental capacity of such), Stace.
1982's "Attack of the Name Game" takes novelty to the Nth degree, presenting enough gags (a 16-year-old who's more squeaker than rapper, a wiggily voiced alien character, nameplay, a cameo from the squeaker's younger sibling) to make Lattisaw seem like an inspiration to the similarly eager-eager-eager-to-please Mariah Carey (is it a surprise that the no-less-gimmicky Mariah sampled "Attack" in 1999's "Heartbreaker?!?"). A lot of people look back fondly on Lattisaw, with good reason -- though she saw the height of her popularity during the early '80s, when she was a teenager, her youth was rarely exploited in her songs. She was (is?) a surprisingly powerful singer, sounding grown and often fantastic despite herself.
But not on "Attack," a place were candy-shop cutesy meets geriatric pacing (hit-or-miss producer Narada Michael Walden plays shuffleboard -- poorly! -- instead of crafting a beat Stacy would want to keep her time to). Un-funkified lameness aside, the major offense of "Attack," and what makes it so crappily intoxicating, is its aforementioned, sloppily realized setup. This is a high-level name-game, unnecessarily complicated by scattered consonants and the fact that we're introduced to it by that damn alien voice. Let's check the lyrics to try to figure out what the game is all about:
It’s Clack it back, I gotta Clack attack, I gotta Clee Cly Cloe the Clack a jack. Turn the Tyde, you gotta move the Myde, You gotta wham-bam funkify the Fyde: Clyde!
OK, the alien's name is Clyde, so that makes this the template:
It's (first sound of name before vowel)-ack it, back I gotta (first sound of name before vowel)-ack attack, I gotta (first sound of name before vowel)-ee (first sound of name before vowel)-y (first sound of name before vowel)-oe the (first sound of name before vowel)-ack a jack. Turn the T-(unused, last portion of name) you gotta move the M-(last portion of name), You gotta wham-bam funkify the F-(last portion of name): (name)!
Let's try "Rich!"
It's Rack it back I gotta Rack attack I gotta Ree Ry Roe the Rack a jack. Turn the Tich you gotta move the Mich, You gotta wham-bam funkify the Fich: Rich!
If this whole post isn't too Pee-Wee's Playhouse for you, I suggest you give this a try (and, as usual, if your name is "Chuck," you're in luck!). But seriously, the shit's hard and I don't think I'd be able to do it without looking off my template. Unless I heard the song like a million times, which I haven't, nor have many others as the song wasn't a huge hit or anything (AllMusic says it peaked at No. 14 on the R&B chart and at No. 70 on pop). Shocker that this one didn't catch on like it was supposed to!
Two more things that make "Attack of the Name Game" fantastic crap:
- Alien Clyde's description of his dance during the breakdown, which is just as confusing (if not more) than the name game: "Now, now put your left foot down / Now put your other left foot down / Now put your right foot down / Now put your good foot down / And walk like this / Well, get down earthlings, get down / Now put all three hands together and clap." Yeah, like that's possible.
- Stacy implores, "Come on, let's do Tina!" Whatever it takes to make it exciting.
Just to prove that I'm not a Stacy hater, I'm offering the non-crap bonus "I'm Down for You", which comes directly after "Attack" on her Sneakin' Out full-length, is a good example of her woman-child persona and finds Narada giving her something to really croon to. Love the call-and-response synth overload.
And, I'd also like to point to point you in the direction of two MP3 sites that consistently offer music that is actually, uh, good (imagine!): one soulful negro, which is home to exactly what its name implies (including some fantastic boogie, which rarely gets any kinda blog love) and B-Side Wins Again, which is concentrated on non-album rap tracks from (mostly) the '90s and sometimes is in French. I never really thought of structuring a sentence using the phrases "ooh la la" and "hip-hop." BSWA made me reconsider.