strange behaviors

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  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

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Animal Music Monday: “We Like the Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too)”

Posted by Richard Conniff on May 16, 2016

A lot of people are turned off by zoos these days, because of that captivity thing.  This song skips happily past that whole debate, and instead plays on zoos as the place where city and suburban kids often feel their first connection with the animal world.  The writer is Walter Martin, bassist and organist with The Walkmen, and father of two young girls. Here he’s on his first solo album, from 2014. The singer is Matt Berninger, frontman for The Nationals.

Here’s Martin’s explanation:  “‘We Like The Zoo (‘Cause We’re Animals Too)’ is my tribute to

the lost art of the novelty song. Songs like ‘Poison Ivy’ and ‘Yakety Yak’ – all those Leiber and Stoller masterpieces – are a big part of my life. I didn’t want to put my name on an album that didn’t have room for that kind of song.”  Berninger adds that he likes seeing the animals at the zoo because, “I recognize something that’s inside of me.”

That harlequin look

That harlequin look

Both artists appear on a Day of the Dead, a charity tribute album to the Grateful Dead, being released later this week.

By the way, the loony dancer in the video, dressed harlequin-style, is the fashion model Lily McMenamy.

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