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The Chipmunks are one of those things I still don’t quite get. Who let them happen? Even before the terrible movies of the 00s, and the not-very-good cartoon of the 80s (which I saw every single episode of five times), how did they start in the first place?
Fifty years ago, there were no songs where grown men sped up their voices. Then, Ross Bagdasarian realized that (a) he could do this, and (b) it sounded kinda funny to him and not at all like scraping styrofoam on a chalkboard.
Shouldn’t the public have rebelled against this idea when it was first presented to them? “Hold on a second. Why do we want this? And why exactly is a 40-year-old man’s voice all sped up supposed to sound like a chipmunk? And why are they singing about Christmas? And why is he always screaming at them? What’s his problem?”
My theory is because Bagdasarian slowly acclimated people to this horror by releasing another “speedy voice” song, “The Witch Doctor”. That song only used fast vocals in the chorus and became a number 1 hit, so it deadened the public’s ears to the monstrosity he would unleash upon them during the holiday season.
Still, shouldn’t someone have realized how hideous this was? Especially when the Chipmunks “appeared” on The Ed Sullivan Show to “sing” the song in the form of creepy puppets, as you can see here (speed ahead to about 2:30, unless you want to see some bad Alvin imitations of classic artists and/or The Fresh Prince).
Then again, I don’t want my kids blaming me for terrible things that happened during my adulthood. I’m guessing the list would start with either the Iraq war or Crazy Frog. So let us pull triumph from horror and watch yet another Patton Oswalt “video”, as he talks about the joys of playing this song on a record player v e r y s l o w l y .