Kurt Pankaus’1 2022 Uncle Fluffy’s Post-Apocalyptic Sing-Along is, and I know this will surprise, delight, and astound you all, a post-apocalyptic sing-along album.
The collapse of civilization doomed a nameless joe’s dreams of making it big in the now-vanished pop music field.
Or did it?
While CDs and MP3s are a thing of the past, the nightmarish hellscape in which the survivors of that thing we don’t talk about still have need of a talented musician. Our hero reinvented himself as Uncle Fluffy. Trading food and shelter for educational children’s songs, his catchy tunes teach kids valuable lessons relevant to their current circumstances, on subjects as diverse as hygiene, birth control, and childhood malnutrition.
Until I listened to this album2, I had no idea how much the world needed a collection of snappy songs illustrating the world those unfortunate enough to survive will live in. The lyrics are firm on the point that the exact nature of the apocalypse won’t be specified. What happened is not the point. The point is what the world after the fall of civilization looks like.
I regret to report the post-fall world isn’t fetish-wear, car chases, and defending atomic powerplants from encroaching hordes comprised of the political and minority groups hated by the author. Issues are far more practical and mundane.
Pankaus demonstrates an impressive range of musical styles, not to mention an adept hand at painting a very vivid picture of this future. I have my favourites—We Can’t Fight Infection Anymore is perhaps my favourite — but I liked all of the songs, which is rare for an album3. Despite often upbeat tunes there is always a melancholy undernote about what’s been lost. This is a funny album but it’s a very dark funny.
Uncle Fluffy’s Post-Apocalyptic Sing-Along is available here (Bandcamp).
The tracks are:
In which we learn the origin of our travelling singer.
Finish Your Rations
Admonition to kids to finish their rations because there are adults and kids starving just outside the razor wire barrier around the compound.
You’re Getting So Big (On the Inside)
Kids stunted by chronic childhood malnutrition are still people and should like themselves!
How can kids get good at foraging, building shelters, and executing food-thieves? Practice!
The “No Questions” Game
Sometimes it is more important to follow adult orders than to ask questions. Answers can wait until after the ambush.
Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow
Because there might not be.
We Can’t Fight Infection Anymore
Poor hygiene kills.
Leave Grown-Ups Alone
For there to be a next generation, kids need to give the adults alone time. But not the teens.
The Ones Who Care
Those who survived weren’t the lone-wolf survivalists but the people for whom others cared.
Lone-wolf survivalists won’t like this song.
Sometimes Grown-Ups Cry for No Reason
The phrase “post-traumatic stress disorder” might be as unknown as electric lights, but the adults who made it through that thing we don’t talk about are still suffering from PTSD.
The Tooth Truth
Novocaine and filling don’t exist any more, but at least people still have pliers.
Things Could Have Been Different
That thing we don’t talk about was entirely unnecessary. Maybe the kids will do better.
1: With the assistance of others. To quote:
Additional vocals on “The ‘No Questions’ Game” and “We Can’t Fight Infection Anymore” by Molly Atkins, Alex Schmidt, Tiffany Schmidt
Handclaps on “The Ones Who Care” and additional vocals on “Things Could Have Been Different” by Edmund Pankau and Malcolm Pankau
Art by Mady Skibski
Sound effects licensed from Pixabay and Free-To-Use-Sounds
Special thanks to Evan Cowden for the constant collaboration and lending me a bunch of equipment.
2: How is it I can appreciate and parse songs, which are basically poetry with tunes, but not poetry? Shut up, that’s how.
3: For example, I like David Bowie’s music but I only like about half of his songs. Unfortunately for me, usually I only like about half of each song.