Spank Rock: The Upside EP

“Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?” This EP is meant for those who want it both ways.

Spank Rock

The Upside

Label: Bad Blood / Boyznoise
US Release Date: 2014-12-09
UK Release Date: Import

To say Spank Rock uses ribald lyrics is like saying the Grand Canyon is a big hole. What do you expect? However, we live in a world where one can hear explicit sexual lyrics everywhere, even on top ten pop hits. Nothing’s shocking anymore, so what does a hip hop artist with risqué inclinations need to do to be heard? For Spank Rock, the answer lies in a production full of drops, squeals, beats, and repetitions for which you can do more than grind. His lyrics may grab your attention for their outrageousness, but the reason they bear repeating listening has more to do with the other stuff happening on the track.

This is not to say Spank Rock’s latest EP isn’t dirty. Consider the opening to the urban jungle sounds of “Assassin” featuring Amanda Blank: “I rap about pussy / cuz my niggaz love it / show your clit / let me see you rub it”. No subtlety there, but that’s the point. While sirens wail in the background, mixed with the chattering of wild creatures, Spank Rock declares he is large and in charge. The police and animal instinct have no hold over him or his desires

Other songs rely more heavily on the noises to draw you in. “Back Up” begins with chanting and some sort of simmering hot electric tea kettle about to boil for almost a minute before the words start, and when the words come, their echoes and reverberations say more than the language that references everything from “beat the bitch” to “government drones” to “critical thinkers” without much thyme or season, or is that rhyme or reason”. In Spank Rock’s world, that doesn’t matter a heckuva lot; it’s all a bunch of “metashit.”

Which is not to say the music is crap; it’s creative, compelling, and beat-heavy in the best sense. However, the songs are meant to cause a physiological reaction more than a physical one -- no one will confuse this with heavy metal or aerobic tunes. The slinky sleaziness here belongs on a dance floor before a live audience looking to hook up, with the music if not with each other. Spank Rock manufactures an alternative world where smoking and drinking are encouraged to get one in the disposition, and getting in the mood is the be-all and end-all,

Once a person is in the right mindset, one can hold back or give in, please another, or service oneself. Whatever feels good is right and whatever is right feels good. This may be empty hedonism, but so what? There are no hidden agendas here. Whatever subtleties exist are confined to wordplays and sound effects; the music is meant to be transitory and ephemeral more than reflective. Spank Rock creates music for the now.

There is an old joke that goes, “Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?” This EP is meant for those who want it both ways. There’s pleasure to be found here, if this is the kind of thing that gives you pleasure.


From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.