We’re both pretty big cat lovers here at Dystopian Dance Party; and, with all the trouble out there in the world these days, sometimes we just want to chill out, look at cute cat pictures, and listen to songs about our feline friends. That’s all this month’s playlist is about: no snark, no thinly-veiled political subtext, just a selection of tunes for and (presumably) by the discerning cat fancier. We hope it will be one that can be enjoyed by every member of the family–even the furry ones.
1. Demolition Doll Rods: “Fat Pussy”
(from On, 2004)
It would be irresponsible of us not to preface our discussion of this song with a warning: according to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, feline obesity–defined as any weight 20 percent or more above a cat’s normal weight–is a serious problem that will “certainly inhibit a cat’s normal penchant for physical activity and surely compromise its quality of life,” and can lead to serious physical disorders. All that being said, however, who doesn’t love a fat puss? Certainly not Detroit garage-punks the Demolition Doll Rods, whose 2004 song “Fat Pussy” is an unabashed celebration of a zaftig cat who will “excite you” and “is a gift from above.” Garfield, maybe?
2. Deee-Lite: “Pussycat Meow”
(from Infinity Within, 1992)
But if there’s one thing about cats it’s unproblematic to love, it’s their distinct vocalization, known to English speakers by the onomatopoeic term “meow.” According to Wikipedia, a cat’s meow “can be assertive, plaintive, friendly, bold, welcoming, attention soliciting, demanding, or complaining. It can even be silent, where the cat opens its mouth but does not vocalize.” And on this cut by Deee-Lite, it sounds pretty fresh laid over a vintage early-’90s house beat.
3. Janet Jackson: “Black Cat”
(from Rhythm Nation 1814, 1989)
Unlike her former choreographer and fellow dance-pop icon Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson never actually recorded a hit duet with an anthropomorphic cartoon cat; she did, however, release this 1989 ode to the most unfairly-maligned type of domestic feline. Okay, so it’s actually more of a metaphor than a straightforward song about black cats, but still, tell me these lyrics don’t apply to at least one mangy outdoor cat you’ve known: “You’re a rebel now / Don’t give a damn / Always carrying on / With the gang.” I mean, that’s basically Heathcliff! In any case, “Black Cat”–co-produced by ex-Time drummer Jellybean Johnson!–finds Ms. Jackson in surprisingly aggressive hard-rock mode; word is that none other than Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead wanted to record a version with her, calling it a “[g]reat fuckin’ song…but the record company wouldn’t let it be possible.” Lemmy always did know good pussy when he saw it.
4. Funkadelic: “I Call My Baby Pussycat”
(from America Eats Its Young, 1972)
Speaking of good pussy, this slinky acid-blues from Funkadelic finds George Clinton and company singing the praises of a certain kitty cat: “Wild and warm is my pussy, my pussy is where it’s at.” Who knew Brotha George was such a cat lover?
5. 69 Boyz: “Kitty Kitty”
(from 199Quad, 1994)
An even more unexpected crew of cat-fanciers, Miami bass group the 69 Boyz dedicated their 1994 debut album to songs about butts, Hennessy, and apparently, adorable household pets. But with lyrics like “So let a brother lick them paws / And run the tongue on the g-string draws”…you know, I’m actually starting to suspect that this song isn’t literally about cats at all. Oh, geez. I was really hoping this would be a family-friendly playlist!
6. Ted Nugent: “Cat Scratch Fever”
(from Cat Scratch Fever, 1977)
Guys, I’m beginning to think I made a terrible mistake here. I just searched for pictures of Ted Nugent with a cat and literally all I see are row after row of the same image of him with a deranged look in his eyes. The more I think about it, the more I wonder whether the line about making “the pussy purr with the stroke of my hand” isn’t meant to be taken literally. Ugh, and I dug up all those facts about cat-scratch disease, too. Is that even what the Nuge is talking about?
7. Prince: “Scarlet Pussy”
(1988 B-side, available on The Hits/The B-Sides)
Okay, so I can at least confirm from this prince.org thread that at some point Prince had a cat living with him at Paisley Park. I still have a bad feeling about this, though. I mean, I’ve heard of ginger cats, but “scarlet” is a new one. And then there’s that line about how the titular pussy will “make you shoot your ego all over your sheets,” which for some reason didn’t seem as suggestive to me when I was putting this playlist together. Let’s just move on, shall we?
8. Lil’ Kim: “Kitty Box”
(from The Naked Truth, 2005)
I have a confession to make: I didn’t actually listen to a lot of these songs before I made this playlist. I know I probably should have known Lil’ Kim would never write a song about a litter box, but it’s been a really busy week and I guess I’m just not thinking straight. I’m really starting to regret sending the link for this article to all those children. Kids, if you’re reading this, just stop listening, all right?
9. Andre Williams: “Pussy Stank”
(from Silky, 1998)
Okay, but seriously, this isn’t all my fault. Why are there no songs with cat-related titles that are actually about cats? Here’s the perfect case in point: “Pussy Stank,” by Detroit R&B legend Andre Williams featuring Mick Collins and Dan Kroha of the Gories. I made the completely reasonable assumption that this was a song about a stinky cat. I even made the incredibly clever sequencing choice to place it right after “Kitty Box.” How was I supposed to know that Williams was singing about vaginal odor? I mean, it’s just gross. Who does that?
10. Todd Rundgren: “Rock and Roll Pussy”
(from A Wizard, A True Star, 1973)
Argh, seriously? Et tu, Todd? And after I went to all this trouble googling pictures of cats with guitars! P.S., somewhat related: do not Google Image Search “rock and roll pussy” with SafeSearch off.
11. Pink Floyd: “Lucifer Sam”
(from The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, 1967)
Good god, finally. Kids, are you still here? Because this song actually appears to be about a cat: specifically, the Siamese owned at the time by Pink Floyd‘s erstwhile leader Syd Barrett. Pretty wholesome, right? Oh, and the song’s original title was apparently “Percy the Rat Catcher”–how adorable is that? Guys, I’m starting to think this post might still be salvageable!
12. The Dirtbombs: “The Sharpest Claws”
(from If You Don’t Already Have a Look, 2005)
Yes sir, we’re officially back on track. This 2005 track by yet another set of Motor City garage punks, the Dirtbombs, is basically the inverse of “Cat Scratch Fever”: it might sound like it’s about an alluring-but-prickly woman, but it’s actually about a cat (so, same diff). I’m so overjoyed about this, I’m even willing to overlook the fact that Dirtbombs frontman Mick Collins is on record as being a furry.
13. Yung Joc: “Hello Kitty Clean”
(from The Grind Flu, 2009)
Well, that was over quickly. Kids, please stop listening again. And Yung Joc, for the record, “Hello Kitty Clean” is a terrible name for this song. Frankly, after listening to it, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel clean again. And why’d you have to drag poor, innocent Hello Kitty into it?
14. David Bowie: “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)”
(from Cat People: Original Soundtrack, 1982)
Phew, saved again by David Bowie. Who would have predicted that a song by Bowie and Giorgio Moroder from a movie about sexy cat people would have ended up being possibly the most legitimately cat-related song on this playlist? “See these eyes so green / I can stare for a thousand years”–those lyrics are clearly either about a cat or about Bowie himself. Either way, they’re not the smut that somehow makes up at least 70% of this playlist, so I’m cool with it.
15. Danzig: “Wicked Pussycat”
(from 777: I Luciferi, 2002)
This one’s sort of a puzzler, to be honest. On the one hand, lyrics like “Six foot Oni cat, I like the way you lick your fur / Evil kitty-cat, what’s it take to hear you purr” sound exactly like the kind of cat-woman fetishism I embarrassingly (and totally by mistake) populated this playlist with. On the other hand, we all know Glenn Danzig’s a cat lover, so maybe it’s meant to be taken at face value. I’m gonna give it a pass.
16. The Kills: “Cat Claw”
(from Keep on Your Mean Side, 2003)
I’m giving this one a pass, too, if only because I’m not actually sure what it’s about: like most Kills songs, its lyrics are a word salad of sexy, dangerous, black-leathered verbal posturing. But I will say that singer “VV”–better known these days as Alison Mosshart–does a good job of nailing your typical housecat’s stand-offish vibe. Cats truly are the original hipsters; I feel like they’d approve of this song.
17. Plies featuring Trey Songz: “Kitty Kitty”
(from Goon Affiliated, 2010)
Okay, I give up. Look, folks, I’m a lot less innocent than I was when I started this playlist. I now understand that when grown men and women sing songs about cats, they (usually) aren’t actually singing about domestic pets. I’m even willing to admit–with some disappointment–that Florida rapper Plies‘ weekly “Sweet Pwussy Satday” celebration is not, in fact, about sharing sweet cat pictures to all his Instagram followers. It’s a sick, sick world out there, and sometimes I feel like adorable kitties are too precious for it. But I will say one thing: just listen to this song one time with an open mind, and tell me it doesn’t sound like Trey Songz and Plies are talking about a cat. “She just like a kitty / Show her teeth when it hurt / Gotta lil’ attitude / That can use a little work.” See, isn’t that cute? Maybe there is a little innocence left in the world after all. Now get out of here, you degenerates!