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Hundreds and hundreds of big brown eyes
January 24, 2014 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Here is a song about cows by Sadie & The Hotheads, a band fronted by actress Elizabeth McGovern, who is best known as Lady Cora on Downton Abbey (previously).

Bonus, less bovine song: Nothing New.
posted by mudpuppie (64 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
That certainly is... something.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:56 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Nothing against Downton Abbey but I can't help but feel it would be magnitudes better if they worked more of this kind of thing into it. Like the Partridge Family, I guess. Every now and then, everybody would just shut up, go to the garage and crank out a tune -- smiling all the way, of course.
posted by philip-random at 10:06 AM on January 24 [10 favorites]


Just awful.
posted by stenseng at 10:07 AM on January 24


Terrible.
posted by Flood at 10:09 AM on January 24


Just awful.

Did you wait for the drop?
posted by yoink at 10:12 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


There's something about her face I don't like. She has an uncanny valley face or something.
Both her and Michelle Dockery (as Mary, anyway) remind me of androids.

Also, her eyebrows are huge in this video.
posted by bleep at 10:14 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


That was even worse than the Downton Abbey Christmas Special.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:17 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Not surprisingly, I approve.
posted by Mooski at 10:20 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Not even close to Dame Maggie Smith's industrial noise band Rusted Pipe.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:21 AM on January 24 [20 favorites]


made it to :46 before my brain decided enough was enough.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 10:22 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I read this thread, rolled my eyes at the typical Metafilter hate for, you know, everything, and then went to listen to the song and... HOLY SHIT THAT'S BAD.

I'm sorry I ever doubted you, Metafilter.
posted by bondcliff at 10:27 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Kind of changes your whole perspective on the song when you think of "brown eyes" as a metaphor for bung holes.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:27 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I thought it would be a children's song and was rather shocked to find it wasn't.
posted by snickerdoodle at 10:28 AM on January 24


Seven Times Lady Grantham Completely Embarrassed Herself in Sierra Leone
posted by jessssse at 10:34 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


This was like watching "Smelly Cat' performed by Lady Penelope.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:34 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


It wouldn't have been so bad pitched as a kid's song.
posted by bleep at 10:35 AM on January 24


pfff. It's a well known fact that cows prefer jazz.
posted by Marauding Ennui at 10:35 AM on January 24


Is this old people music? This is what I imagine old people music being like.
posted by mittens at 10:35 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


To be fair, if the cows loved me the way you do, we need to have a conversation....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:35 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


It felt like Brenda Blue from Jay Jay the Jet Plane covering a MouseRat song.
posted by bondcliff at 10:38 AM on January 24


Wow. I usually don't participate in the "your favorite band sucks" snark, but those were some of the worst lyrics I've ever heard. And I was predisposed to like it, being an herbivore and all. It came across like a deadpan spoof, like something Catherine O'Hara would have done on SCTV.
posted by mondo dentro at 10:39 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


God help us. First the Captain and Tennille divorce, and now this. What terror will the third thing bring?
posted by Naberius at 10:42 AM on January 24 [6 favorites]


"The Cow Song may sound like a silly little tune but it’s actually very personal to me. When I first arrived in England the first thing my husband, Simon Curtis did was whisk me down to Norfolk for the weekend. We were in the middle of nowhere and it rained non-stop; I couldn’t have been further from New York or LA if we’d gone to the moon; but the memories of the walk we did on that first morning will stay with me for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t have missed looking at that field of cows for anything."
posted by mudpuppie at 10:46 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


From the website:
Sadie and the Hotheads were born in 2007 when Elizabeth McGovern took guitar lessons from Steve Nelson. Steve encouraged Elizabeth to begin to write her own songs. After a collection had been composed Steve introduced Elizabeth to Simon Nelson who started recording the songs and put together a band of musicians to support the project.
So... vanity project in the time-honored tradition of Florence Foster Jenkins?

On the one hand, I really do try to curb my snark these days, and there's a part of me saying "Hey, good on her, if she likes playing music. I've been playing guitar since 1989 and how many original songs have I recorded?"

On the other hand, yeah, I wouldn't even buy that as a kids' record for my 3 year old nephew.
posted by usonian at 10:47 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I'm at 1:49 and waiting for the ironic twist.

There's an ironic twist, right?

Right?
posted by KathrynT at 11:00 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


She will forever be in my good book for her performance in Ragtime, in the same way that I know Emilio Estevez is going to make good based on the early promise he showed in Repo Man.

Also, I think it is fair to assume that everything she does is intended to be understood as sarcasm.

By the way, Elizabeth McGovern's grandfather was William Montgomery McGovern, one of the greatest adventurers of the 20th century and a possible model for Indiana Jones. He was raised in Asia and his first degree was a doctor of divinity from the Buddhist monastery of Nishi Honganji in Kyoto. He then studied at the Sorbonne. He snuck into Tibet dressed as a Porter, where locals tried to stone him, and wrote a book about it. He was a wartime spy and correspondent. He spoke 12 languages and became a college professor at age 30. And good god, was he handsome.

I mention this because there should be more to a thread beyond the sounds of raspberries and the image of people sticking their thumbs down at the ground.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:00 AM on January 24 [13 favorites]


Also, I think it is fair to assume that everything she does is intended to be understood as sarcasm.

Wow, that is an uncannily spot-on imitation.
posted by yoink at 11:05 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Really now, O'Brien. I am ungoogleable. I assure you. Now please tell Barrow I will take my tea in the sitting room. And I might ask you --- if it's not to much trouble --- to please stop trying to find me on the internet. You will not.
posted by zizzle at 11:07 AM on January 24


Also, the song itself has a decent pedigree:

Cows by the Suburbs.
For All the Cows by the Foo Fighters
Surfin' Cow by the Dead Milkmen
Cow by the Melvins
Poor Cow by Donovan
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:08 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


> Is this old people music? This is what I imagine old people music being like.

I am an old person and I think this is awful.
posted by languagehat at 11:09 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


You're too old for this, grandpa!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:10 AM on January 24


(No, really. When I have to give my name on the phone these days, I follow up with, "Just like Lady Grantham.")
posted by zizzle at 11:14 AM on January 24


“The Cow Song may sound like a silly little tune but it’s actually very personal to me. When I first arrived in England the first thing my husband, Simon Curtis did was whisk me down to Norfolk for the weekend. We were in the middle of nowhere and it rained non-stop; I couldn’t have been further from New York or LA if we’d gone to the moon; but the memories of the walk we did on that first morning will stay with me for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t have missed looking at that field of cows for anything.” - Elizabeth McGovern
posted by koeselitz at 11:14 AM on January 24


(Yeah, it's a really terrible song, though. Sorry, Elizabeth. I do not like it. And I think that "THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF BIG BROWN EYES" is a tagline for a horror film.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:27 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Ooh! And that movie is Isolation!
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:29 AM on January 24


She does that thing with her neck on the show more than she does in this video. You know that thing she does with her neck? Tell me I'm not the only one who notices that thing she does with her neck.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:51 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Not only is this song awful, but it's the worst kind of celebrity vanity musical project, where you just cringe and feel terrible for the talented ringers in the backing band, who all have that dead-eyed "I want to die" look. But hey, it beat's a straight job.

Also, she's kinda the worst part of Downton abbey.
posted by stenseng at 11:54 AM on January 24


Hey agents, friends and family for famous people: when the famous person you know says "I know I got rich and famous for doing X, but I was really thinking about doing Y" show them this video. Glare at them while they are watching and listening to this video. Do not say anything. Do not give them the option of looking away or not listening.

Repeat until they change their mind.
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 11:56 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Is this old people music? This is what I imagine old people music being like.

Apparently, because I am an old person and I love it. (Might be because I think she's hella cute.)
posted by Wordwoman at 12:01 PM on January 24


(I think it must be intended as a children's song.)
posted by Wordwoman at 12:05 PM on January 24


stenseng: “Not only is this song awful, but it's the worst kind of celebrity vanity musical project, where you just cringe and feel terrible for the talented ringers in the backing band, who all have that dead-eyed 'I want to die' look. But hey, it beat's a straight job.”

Luminiferous Ether: “Hey agents, friends and family for famous people: when the famous person you know says 'I know I got rich and famous for doing X, but I was really thinking about doing Y' show them this video. Glare at them while they are watching and listening to this video. Do not say anything. Do not give them the option of looking away or not listening. Repeat until they change their mind.”

Interestingly, her music thing seems to predate her fame by many years, according to that interview I posted above. (But she was a working actress the whole time, so she seems to have known it would never really be her day job.)
posted by koeselitz at 12:08 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


(She's apparently been doing music since the mid-90s.)
posted by koeselitz at 12:08 PM on January 24


I had to play this straight after to flush it out of my brain.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:09 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


There's "Cattle Prod" by Guadalcanal Diary...


And good god, was he handsome.

Oh... my.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:11 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Let us not forget that seasonal favorite, We Three Cows. (The entire Cow Christmas cassette, actually.)
posted by theweasel at 12:30 PM on January 24


Ooh! Or imagine how this could have gone if she'd seen Lou Reed out there!
posted by theweasel at 12:41 PM on January 24


"best known for..."

You take that back.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:45 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I only found out about McGovern's hobby a few weeks ago as I was perusing the Aria Guitars website and noticed that she was one of their "artists/endorsers." So out of curiosity I searched for her band on YT and came across the linked video in the FPP. I lasted about a minute. Aria must be pretty desperate to list her as one of their artists. They describe her as "a really multi-talented artist who can be an actress, singer, guitarist, and songwriter." Jack of all trades, master of none.*


*That description is actually unfair to Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, who being a typical self effacing Englishman, also describes himself that way.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:06 PM on January 24


"...in the same way that I know Emilio Estevez is going to make good based on the early promise he showed in Repo Man."

But, haven't you seen the Might Ducks movies?

Oh, it's you, Bunny. Then, yes. Yes, you have.
posted by jillithd at 1:18 PM on January 24


He snuck into Tibet dressed as a Porter, where locals tried to stone him, and wrote a book about it.

Yes, I think we read it in high school - "How We Tried to Stone Elizabeth McGovern's Grandfather That Time" by Some Tibetans, as told to Alex Haley.
posted by Naberius at 1:26 PM on January 24


I like Elizabeth McGovern and really wanted to like this. But I don't.

It's really awful.

I also tried very hard to keep watching, but at the halfway point I skipped around the last part checking to see if anything changed.

I find it very interesting and revealing that many people here report not being able to continue watching because it's not as if it's actually unmusical or incompetent. No one part of it, including the lyrics (because, really, lyrics are often bad) are horribly terrible. I think maybe if the song were just incredibly awful, it might actually be more watchable.

But it's awful in perhaps the worst possible way. It's like one of those monsters that defend themselves by actively repelling attention. The song and video elicits a powerful disinterest — a disinterest so immense that it's a repellent, except that you don't feel disgust just an urgent need to be doing something else, anything else.

"I had to play this yt straight after to flush it out of my brain."

Holy shit, is that fucking awesome? The answer is "Yes, it is fucking awesome." Linked to many times in comments, I see, but never a post in its own right.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:30 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


WHY IS EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT ME AS IF I AM NOT HERE?
posted by zizzle at 1:32 PM on January 24


I thought the Cow Song was trippy and a bit spooky in a David Lynch kind of way.
I love the way the Blonde woman sways back and forth with little to do.
It has that "Afternoon Delight" kind of feel to it. Makes me hungry for a tuna fish and
dill pickle sandwich.
posted by quazichimp at 1:36 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


"It has that 'Afternoon Delight' kind of feel to it."

Hey, "Afternoon Delight" is a genuinely great song.

I really need to not have it stuck in my head, though.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:45 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I thought the Cow Song was trippy and a bit spooky in a David Lynch kind of way.
I love the way the Blonde woman sways back and forth with little to do.


Finally, someone saw it the way I did! It definitely had a Twin Peaks vibe to me, but with more innocence and winking. The blonde woman, yeah. But she's so into it.

What grabs me about this -- and I'm not saying I like the song, just that the video grabs me -- is that I can't figure out if it's sincere or tongue-in-cheek. Elizabeth McGovern occasionally gives a slow, affirming nod to nonexistent people off-screen. Does she do it in affirmation of how much she's feeling the song? Is the nod meant to reiterate the fact that she really does love those cows, but there's no way they could love her husband as much as she does because she really, really loves her husband? Or does she smile and nod in a knowing way to a pretend crowd, acknowledging that the song is a bit silly because why would she stand in front of an audience and sing a poorly rhymed song about cows? Is fading into pastoral footage of cows meant to help us picture cows? Or are we supposed to laugh and say "Haha, they even put in some video of cows!" Is it on-the-level and genuine, or is it meant to be comical?

I have no fucking idea, and that, my friends, is why it grabs me.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:47 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


But, haven't you seen the Might Ducks movies?

Oh, it's you, Bunny. Then, yes. Yes, you have.


I was an extra in Mighty Ducks 1 and 2.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:51 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


She does that thing with her neck on the show more than she does in this video. You know that thing she does with her neck? Tell me I'm not the only one who notices that thing she does with her neck.

No you are not the only one. She kind of gets ripped apart for that neck thing here.

As for the song... well. More power to her, but it's not my cup of moo juice.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:52 PM on January 24


Thanks mudpuppie, I was thinking I was the only one who saw it this way.
posted by quazichimp at 2:19 PM on January 24


Didn't know that she was in Downton Abbey, loved her in Ragtime but don't think that I've thought about her since.
posted by octothorpe at 2:22 PM on January 24


...and I didn’t know that Sherman T. Potter could play the guitar.
posted by quazichimp at 2:26 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


She's no Marlo Thomas.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:57 PM on January 24


I kind of want her band to do Soeur Sourire covers -- her back up dancer would really go to town over "Domenique".

Also, her dad, plain old William McGovern, taught me contracts when I was a 1L at UCLA law. Now that I think about it, he was a bit goofy and deadpan as well.
posted by allthinky at 6:20 PM on January 24


Seven Times Lady Grantham Completely Embarrassed Herself in Sierra Leone

Wow, that article is poorly-written. The conflation of character and actress, and weird concern-trolling about "Downtown Abby being ruined forever" is so bizarre.

(Plus - come on. They're chiding her for using rice to dry out her iphone because there are starving children in Africa? Yes, because letting the ipone die definitely would have alleviated suffering in malnourished children. Symbolically, or something. I dunno, let's not let it get in the way of feeling superior to ignorant tourists.)
posted by Solon and Thanks at 1:36 AM on January 25


also, this song is worse than anything she has possibly ever done in Africa.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:53 AM on January 25


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