For those of you unfamiliar with Five Iron Frenzy, do yourself a favor and pick up their latest album, “Engine of a Million Plots”. It is an awesome record and I will think more highly of you for owning it.
I’d like to talk about the eighth track for a moment. Indulge me.
The title is “Battle Dancing Unicorns With Glitter” and these are the lyrics:
Shut your face / high school jerks / We’re about to show you how this works
Are we cool? / Laser beams / We’re about to awesome all your dreams
And you’ll say, “What are you, some kind of computer?”
and we’ll say, “A cyborg pimp from the future.”
And I’m going def for sheezy / I’m feeling a bit uneasy.
Let’s get this straight: / oh yeah, we are the champions
We’ll be battle dancing unicorns / oh yes / Battle dancing unicorns
It’s not too late / you could gamble on the heavy hitters
while we’re battle dancing unicorns / with glitter
Twelve-o-clock? / Party rock / We’re hip- hoppin’ and we can’t quite stop
Aggro hair / Grizzly Bear / Bet you’ve never met a thousand-aire
Then you’ll say, “Whatever, I think you’re moronic.”
And we’ll say, “Not really, we’re only bionic.”
And you’re still in high school / but have to acknowledge
that we are professors at Robot Spy College.
To be what I just can’t / impale myself upon the horns
I’m fighting just to be relevant / I’ll battle dance some unicorns
I’m battle dancing unicorns / with glitter.
I love this song. It is everything I’ve come to expect from Five Iron Frenzy. It is clever, sarcastic, and steeped in emotion.
To give you some background about the band and this album in particular, Five Iron Frenzy, or FIF, rode into popularity (at least in Christian circles) on a (short-lived)wave of ska enthusiasm in the late 1990’s. With passionate messages dipped in acerbic wit, they’re songs inspired a dedicated fan base that stayed loyal, even when the band disbanded in 2003.
Then in 2011, a miracle happened. When a countdown to a new website design was misinterpreted as a countdown to a band reunion, the former members of FIF began to discuss seriously the possibility of a comeback tour. And when they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000 in order to record a new album, their fans met that goal within the first hour of launching and raised over $200,000 by the end of the 30-day campaign. Thus was the new album born.
In “Battle Dancing Unicorns With Glitter”, we get to see the deep-seated insecurities of a band whose popularity is somewhat anachronistic. Is it possible for a band whose heyday was a decade ago to be relevant to its original target audience of high schoolers? In an age where fads pass faster than ever, FIF decides to give it a try, even if they get impaled.
Perhaps the reason this song speaks to me so strongly is because of my interest in writing Young Adult Fiction. Can I be relevant to kids whose language I struggle to understand (for sheezy?), much less speak? The only thing I can do is what Five Iron Frenzy did. Try.
I’ll just ignore the fact that there is no pent-up demand for the release of any books from me in the same way that there was a demand from FIF’s loyal fans. Because some times you just need to bluff it until you make it, right? I mean, am I cool enough to write in the first place?