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HOMEWORK: Assignment #1: Pretty and Nice's "Massive U"


TRAILER: the making of Pretty & Nice's "Homework" assignment

1. HOMEWORK

As we have enthusiastically proclaimed with our keen supplement this week: Welcome back whoever you are! We at the Phoenix are of a giving sort, so as a way to fluff your cushion while you’re settling in, we present to you the inaugural installment of our brand new Homework series.

Students aren’t the only ones who must work their asses off to get ahead; grubby rock bands must do this too. As a way of keeping our favorite bands’ noses to the proverbial grindstone, we will be giving them “assignments”: custom songs written under cruel deadlines with unusual guidelines designed exclusively for our amusement -- or bemusement, depending on how the song comes out.

For our debut submission, we immediately thought of local prog-hop dynamos, Pretty & Nice, who, seriously, we just . . . we just love them so much. Despite this love, we still stuck it to them pretty hard with the rules for their assignment, which was kind of a bitch. Behold:

2. THE RULES

For our “Welcome Back” issue, please record one (1) song that:

  1. contains the phrase “welcome back”
  2. includes, somewhere/somehow, a reference to the guitar accents at the beginning of the Welcome Back Kotter theme—but nothing else Kotter-related
  3. insults the Green Line at some point
  4. includes the names of 10 local colleges (used however you wish: “Tufts” can refer to clumps of hair, “Emerson” can refer to Ralph Waldo, “B.U.” can be the first syllables of the word "be-yoo-tiful,” etc.)
  5. is rad

3. GRADING

And golly gosh did they deliver. "Massive U" is the sound of a band waking up surrounded by college kids backing up in beeping Ryders; a throbbing headache, a frustrated mutterance into one's morning coffee, spastic summa cum laude post-punk calisthenics. The band deftly met the required college quota, sneakily bending august institutions into makeshift phonetic patches:

we found a MASS-ive ART-ifact
TUFTS of her hair

the LONGY you wait
s-s-SUFFOLK-cate

There's a little dig at the Green Line ("my bloodlust goes green"), a formal greeting to the returning mobs ("welcome BAC to the game"), and the song is nothing if not heavy with radness. Thus!

Final Grade: A

4. THE SONG

Don't take our word for it. Here it is, our back-to-school gift for you . . .

DOWNLOAD: Pretty & Nice, "Massive U" [mp3]

5. NEXT ASSIGNMENT

Next month's homework will be assigned to: Hallelujah the Hills

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