Lost in the ’90s: Whale

Written by Lost in the '90s, Music

Swedish trio Whale burst onto the alternative music scene in 1994, instantly making a splash on MTV with their video for “Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe,” a song about…what, exactly?

Seeking candy, out of line
Broken kneecap, severed spine

Left for dead, left for good (seeking candy)
Left for dead, misunderstood. (back for more)

But you… (back for more)
Always came back for more…

You hobo humpin’ slobo babe
Get it off, get off, get off of me!

In any case, the video got plenty of MTV love, thanks to Whale’s sexy-in-a-crazy-way lead singer Cia Berg’s armpit-licking, brace-face displaying charm. So much charm that when the video was featured on Beavis & Butthead, Butthead immediately fell in love, identifying with her braces. Beavis, on the other hand was grossed out, yelling at one point, “EWWW! SHE’S LICKING HIS ARMPIT, BUTTHEAD!”

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/KMN9yKQIk2w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

WhaleOh, how about that music? Whale prided themselves on being somewhat uncategorizeable, throwing metal riffs, trip-hop atmospherics and Flea-inspired bass popping. Their debut album, We Care, boasted production from Tricky (remember him?), who even provided guest vocals on a few tracks. “Hobo Humpin’” very nearly crossed over to the Top 40 in those heady days of alternative radio, and based on that momentum, the band released a second single, the only slightly less bewildering “Pay For Me,” a song extolling the virtues of having a sugar daddy:

When gravity kicks my ass you better pay (oh money money)
For my tits to be fixed (yeah, to fix her tits)

With its über-metal guitar riff and thundering bass & drums, it may have been a little too heavy for new Whale converts, especially when the hip-hop scratching kicked in during the final instrumental throwdown. Of course, in a few short years, MTV and radio would be overflowing with nü-metal bands fusing heavy guitar and hip-hop – Whale just got there a little early, and “Pay For Me” sank without a trace. But hey! Cia got her braces off!

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/QwujYHLJay4" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

With a line-up change, Whale went on to release one final album in 1998 with the fantastic title, All Disco Dance Must End In Broken Bones. There’s just no way any album could live up to that title.

”Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe” peaked at #24 on the Modern Rock Chart in 1994.
“Pay For Me” did not chart.

Get Whale music at Amazon.