Monday, January 29, 2007

Sound By Its Cover: A Date With John Waters

By Nate Seltenrich
Mon, Jan 29, 2007 at 5:04 PM

EastBayExpress.com web traffic counters report there is a possibility that someone, somewhere noticed that the regular Ear Bud feature Sound By its Cover has been absent in recent weeks. This report is preliminary and has yet to be confirmed by company statisticians. While that work is being completed, Sound By Its Cover proudly resumes its weekly publication schedule with a discussion of the cover art for a new compilation called A Date With John Waters.

Who is John Waters? A 60-year-old screenwriter/director/producer based in Baltimore who has worked to break the boundaries of acceptable filmmaking. His movies, the most famous of which is 1988's Hairspray, all center on themes of filth and debauchery. So do his ideal Valentines Day activities, according to a sticker on the CD cover that reads, "May all your Valentines be kind, raunchy, beautifully alarming, and know how to reciprocate." We won't fault him on the incorrect parallel structure of that sentence, nor will we on the album's piercing cover art, which shows a young Waters making eyes with the camera. His dirty, upturned collar, raised knee, and pencil-thin 'stache have sex and repulsion written all over them. On the wall behind him, a seemingly unrelated colonial mural. But what do we know, we're not John Waters.

The compilation features 14 songs "hand picked by John Waters to set the mood for your romantic escapades," reads the ever-helpful sticker. Turn the CD over and find songs like "Tonight You Belong to Me" by Patience and Prudence, "Big Girls Don't Cry" by Edith Massey," and "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake" by Eileen Barton with the New Yorkers. What an odd assortment. According to John Waters, it's the perfect soundtrack for February 14th. Take it from the man who made a movie called Pecker.

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