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Penguin Prison – Don’t Fuck With My Money


I’m never too sure about the word “fuck” in pop. Its use always feels slightly like an act of self-sabotage in that your record either gets saddled with a bleeped out radio edit, or just doesn’t get played on the radio. Of course this then grants the pop star in question the nobility of not having compromised their artistic integrity. Me, I’d rather have the royalties.

In most cases I generally prefer the suggestion of it – for instance, Madonna‘s Erotica is far more effective leaving the lyric “I’ll give you love, I’ll hit you like a truck. I’ll give you love, I’ll teach you how to….” unfinished. We all know what she means, but the moan of ecstasy that follows suggests her train of thought has been interrupted by precisely what she was getting at just a second ago. Marvellous.

THAT BEING SAID – occasionally it is just the right word. Which brings me nicely to Don’t Fuck With My Money by native New Yorker Chris Glover, aka Penguin Prison. Here it is:

What we have here is an astonishingly angry record dressed up like an Arthur Baker remix of a Hall & Oates song circa 1984 – which is a long way of saying it’s completely brilliant. And as far as surfing the zeitgeist goes, the timing could not have been better – just as Glover was preparing to release this in the autumn of 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement kicked off, enabling him to nip down and film an impromptu video on the sly (as a tribute, not an exploitation – he is very clear about this on his website.)

None of this made a blind bit of difference, naturally – America is only just rediscovering disco, so it’s not yet in the mood to embrace a full-on mid-80s revival, despite the presence of Michael Jackson-esque “ahh” noises every few seconds. Therefore the UK barely got a whiff of it, though it was lazily chucked out on iTunes.

Would this have done “the business” had it been called Don’t Mess With My Money instead? I tend to think it would have neutered the song entirely. In this case, “fuck” never sounded so good.

Entered chart: did not chart

Who could sing this today and have a hit? Bruno Mars might get away with it, but only if he gives away his entire fortune first.

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