Computer Games

George Clinton

Capitol Records, 1982

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/22/1999

Sometimes, I get interested in an album for some bizarre reasons. Case in point: A few years ago, I was watching television, and a promo for Frasier came on. The focus of the promo was the dog in the show, and the background music was a deep voice chanting, "Bow-wow-wow, yippee-o, yippee-yay." Well, the last time I had heard that was from Snoop Doggy Dogg, and I was instantly hooked.

Of course, not being into George Clinton, I was too stupid to realize that the sound bite was from "Atomic Dog"... then again, everyone I asked had no clue what I was talking about, either, so at least I was in good company.

The album this track comes from, Computer Games, is an interesting, lighthearted work of funk that is a nice introduction to Clinton and his work - even if some of the concepts get a little tired.bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250

Obviously, the reason I bought this was for "Atomic Dog". The track does not feature the line in question much, but it is a fun track to listen to. When you hear the way this develops, you can better understand how artists like Digital Underground and a certain midget from Minneapolis (to speak his name around here would be like farting in church) have developed their own sounds. Granted, it took me two listens to this song to fully appreciate what Clinton was doing - but it was worth it.

Computer Games almost seems to cast specialized story lines for each song, and the listener not only hears the music for each one, but gets to follow along as if they were watching a sitcom's plot develop. Tracks like "Get Dressed" (a look at life backstage before the concert), "Pot Sharing Tots" (at least I don't think that's what Clinton is referring to) and the title track all suck the listener in and refuse to let go.

There are times, however, when letting go would have been the smart thing to do, like on the medley of "Man's Best Friend / Loopzilla". The first part of this is okay, keeping with a theme of dogs (and a rather enjoyable track as well), but "Loopzilla" is way too much of a good thing. I mean the first few repetitions of the song's theme are okay, but when both tracks are put together, this ends up being over 12 minutes of a beat that could have been laid down in half the time. What is this, a disco mix?

A few songs on Computer Games are okay, but don't stand out like their album-mates. "Free Alterations" and "One Fun At A Time" almost seem anti-climatic ending the album, once you've been through the title track and "Atomic Dog".

Having had limited exposure to Clinton's music before buying Computer Games, I had few ideas of what to expect from this album. And, in general, I wasn't disappointed at all with the final product. I don't know if this album is the best starting place for someone interested in diving into Clinton's history (one might argue it's better to start with a Parliament / Funkadelic album), but it's still not a bad way to get a taste of his music.

Rating: B

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Comments

by pick on March 4, 2011 12:11:12 PM
I don't know what song you are saying doesn't have that line in it, because the song "Atomic Dog does have that line (Bow wow wow yippy yo yippy yay)repeated in it several times.

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.