Here’s some music journalism for your Tuesday—on a food site, no less. Yesterday, Stereogum reported that chicken-centric fast food chain KFC has recruited Saturday Night Live alum and Portlandia star Fred Armisen to record a two-song EP vinyl of chicken jingles for the company.
This is the next step in KFC's aggressive ploy to convince consumers that their Nashville Hot Chicken—and, more generally, KFC's very brand—is cool. Just months ago, they recruited Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser to be the company’s newest fetching figurehead, transforming its timeworn mascot Colonel Sanders into a hunk, a real thirst trap. Physical vinyl records of Armisen's recordings are available—for free—at select record stores peppered across the country. But if you don’t live in the radius of these twelve stores, don’t clutch your pearls too tight: both songs have a home on the official KFC Soundcloud, a phrase I never thought I’d type.
As I’ve written before, KFC seems to be trying very hard to endear itself to a particular demographic: that of the urban-dwelling twenty-something, and perhaps even someone like me who's likely to regard KFC as a vestige of his suburban past. So, here are two capsule reviews for each song. I'm at the core of the demographic KFC is trying to win over here, which is why I think it's fair to ask: is this even working?
This peppy paean to the Colonel has way more plays than the second song—as of listening, 3,940 to the second's 1,779. I don’t know why. I've listened to it about nine times, hoping my initially churlish reaction might even out into pleasant tolerance. Or, better yet, that the song might will its way into my head through sheer persistence, becoming an earworm too difficult to shake. No dice. The song's chorus, its main draw, is arranged like a spelling bee—Arthur’s A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K rap transposed to a new era, substituted with the word "colonel." But without the fun. And though I can't see him, I can picture Armisen gesticulating wildly as he sings these lazy lyrics, and I'm cringing.
My rating? Far from a banger.
This one’s a little different. Armisen's “singing a different tune” here, if you will. Well, actually, he doesn't sing his lines. He speaks them. He overwhelms us with facts about Nashville, the great city, that he's gathered from a quick internet search. The facts wash over me like a middle school history lesson; I remember nothing. The guitar takes center stage here, and that's for the better. The riff is the musical equivalent of a down comforter—cozy, welcoming. Why interrupt that slumber with the sound of a man's voice?
Verdict? I’d rather have Ronee Blakley dispensing Nashville trivia.
KFC, I hope you're listening.
Which song is better? Did you get your hands on this record? Let me know in the comments.