The Frogs

Racially Yours

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A sticker on the front of Racially Yours proclaims it "The Most Controversial Album of All Time," but, like most of what the Frogs do, that statement is quite over the top. Sure, the album's topic is inherently controversial and the cover art features drummer Dennis Flemion costumed in blackface. But upon listening to the record -- and, more importantly, reading its lyrics, which are included -- it becomes obvious that the Frogs aren't crazed racists filled with hate. No, they're just a pair of white guys interested, as always, in examining the limits of what is socially acceptable. Rather than making fun of blacks, on many of the songs, they simply pretend to be black, much like they pretended to be gay on their landmark album, It's Only Right and Natural. And, on close inspection, it's clear that the majority of the songs are intended to be quite anti-racist, although in a bizarre fashion. "Now You Know You're Black" asserts that God is black; "Massa" is a first-person account of a slave murdering his keeper. In fact, "Prejudiced" is the only outright offensive song, but it's so obviously over the top and not serious that it becomes simply another joke -- albeit a joke, like most Frogs' jokes -- in poor taste. Which leaves very little to recommend this album, except to Frogs completists. It's certainly not their funniest work (that'd be the fantastic My Daughter the Broad) or their most politically engaging. Recorded in 1993, Racially Yours sat unreleased for almost seven years, supposedly because no one wanted to be associated with such controversial material. Now that it's been exposed to the light of day, it becomes clear that the album isn't only not terribly controversial, but not terribly interesting either.

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