Breaking Down the Lyrics: What Do They Really Mean?
The lyrics of “How Bizarre” by OMC (Otara Millionaires Club) are undoubtedly catchy and memorable, but they also contain a number of cryptic references and quirky phrases that leave listeners scratching their heads. Here, we’ll dive into the meaning behind some of the song’s most notable lyrics.
The opening verse, “Brother Pele’s in the back, sweet Zina’s in the front, cruisin’ down the freeway in the hot, hot sun,” sets the scene for the song’s narrative, which follows the characters of Brother Pele and Zina as they embark on a surreal journey. Brother Pele is a reference to Brazilian soccer player Pelé, while Zina is likely a made-up name.
Later in the song, the chorus repeats the line “How bizarre, how bizarre, how bizarre,” which can be interpreted as an expression of disbelief at the strange events unfolding in the story. The following verse introduces the character of “Captain Mike” who is “waiting for us,” suggesting that Brother Pele and Zina are on a mission of some sort.
Another notable line comes from the second verse, which describes a man who “flicked a cigarette and then threw his hand grenade,” creating chaos in the streets. This could be interpreted as a commentary on the destructive effects of war and conflict.
Overall, the lyrics of “How Bizarre” are open to interpretation and offer a surreal, dreamlike narrative that leaves plenty of room for imagination.
The Unconventional Instrumentation and Production Techniques Used
One of the standout features of “How Bizarre” is its unique instrumentation and production style. The song features a blend of acoustic and electronic sounds, with a distinctive accordion riff that serves as the backbone of the melody.
The accordion riff was played by Pauly Fuemana, the lead singer of OMC, and was inspired by a traditional Māori tune. The riff was then sampled and looped using a Roland SP-1200 sampler, a popular piece of equipment in hip hop production at the time.
In addition to the accordion, the song also features a mix of live and programmed drums, bass guitar, and a variety of electronic sounds. The production style makes use of lo-fi techniques, such as distorted vocals and static-filled radio samples, which add to the song’s overall quirkiness.
The song’s producer, Alan Jansson, has described the production process as “organic” and “spontaneous,” with a focus on capturing the energy and spirit of the musicians in the studio. This approach resulted in a song that feels both polished and raw, with a sense of playfulness and experimentation that sets it apart from other pop hits of the time.
Overall, the unconventional instrumentation and production techniques used in “How Bizarre” helped to create a unique sound that captured the attention of listeners around the world.
The Song’s Rise to International Fame and Enduring Legacy
Despite its unconventional sound and cryptic lyrics, “How Bizarre” became an international hit in 1996, reaching the top of the charts in several countries, including New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. The song also performed well in Europe and the United States, where it peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The success of the song can be attributed in part to its catchy melody and memorable accordion riff, as well as its quirky lyrics and unconventional production style. The song’s music video, which featured a surreal, carnival-like atmosphere, also helped to capture the imagination of viewers and add to the song’s overall appeal.
In the years since its release, “How Bizarre” has continued to enjoy a lasting legacy, with the song appearing in numerous movies, television shows, and commercials. The song has also been covered by several artists and used in a variety of remixes and mashups, further cementing its place in pop culture history.
Despite the tragic death of lead singer Pauly Fuemana in 2010, “How Bizarre” remains a beloved and enduring classic, with its unique sound and playful spirit continuing to captivate audiences around the world.
Cover Versions and Sampled Uses: “How Bizarre” in Pop Culture
Since its release in 1996, “How Bizarre” has been covered by numerous artists and used in a variety of contexts in pop culture. Here are a few notable examples:
In 1997, rapper Coolio sampled the accordion riff from “How Bizarre” for his song “C U When U Get There.” The song became a hit in its own right, reaching the top 10 in several countries.
In 2011, country singer Keith Urban covered “How Bizarre” for a live performance, putting his own spin on the song’s melody and lyrics.
In 2014, the cast of the television show Glee performed a cover of “How Bizarre” in a mashup with the song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).” The performance featured the show’s signature elaborate choreography and garnered praise from fans and critics alike.
In 2020, the song was used in a commercial for the video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, further cementing its place in pop culture history.
Overall, “How Bizarre” continues to be a popular source of inspiration for artists and a beloved classic among music fans. Its catchy melody and quirky lyrics make it a perfect fit for a variety of genres and contexts, ensuring its enduring legacy for years to come.
The Origins and Inspiration Behind “How Bizarre”
“How Bizarre” was written by Pauly Fuemana and Alan Jansson, members of the New Zealand music group Otara Millionaires Club (OMC). The song was released as a single in 1995 and later included on the group’s debut album of the same name.
According to Fuemana, the inspiration for the song came from a dream he had in which he was driving down the freeway with a group of people, including Brazilian soccer player Pelé. The dream inspired the song’s opening lyrics, which introduce the character of “Brother Pele.”
The song’s distinctive accordion riff was also inspired by Māori music, with Fuemana drawing on his heritage to create a melody that was both catchy and unique. The use of electronic production techniques and lo-fi effects further added to the song’s unconventional sound and helped to set it apart from other pop hits of the time.
Despite its unusual style and cryptic lyrics, “How Bizarre” struck a chord with listeners and became an instant hit in New Zealand, paving the way for the group’s international success. The song’s success helped to establish OMC as one of New Zealand’s most successful musical acts and cemented the song’s place in pop culture history.
Overall, “How Bizarre” is a testament to the power of creativity and imagination, with its quirky lyrics and unconventional sound capturing the attention of listeners around the world. The song’s enduring popularity serves as a reminder of the magic that can happen when artists are willing to take risks and push the boundaries of what is possible in music.