Oh, the wonders of the Internet. Somehow this one is only now hitting my radar, but boy-oh-boy is it good. Kentucky’s Norma Lee ticks off every check box on my list of what makes an outsider artist truly great: creative use of the form, provocative content, and a complete and utter lack of self-awareness. Like the Shaggs or Wesley Willis before her, Norma Lee is trying her darndest, seemingly oblivious to her own lack of talent in a traditional sense—but all the while being incredibly entertaining.
I adore her Kentucky hills accent. She sounds a bit like a brain-damaged Loretta Lynn when she sings in “He’s Swapping His Boat” about her husband being “retard from a factory.” “He’s Swapping His Boat” is Norma’s big hit. It’s essentially about giving up on every bit of joy in one’s life—specifically her poor husband who had to sell his boat to buy a tractor to clear six acres of land. If you only hear one Norma Lee song in your life, IT MUST BE THIS ONE.
He’s a middle-aged man who needs a hand to help him work his land… he’s just a swappin’ all that fun on that boat, ‘cause he done sowed his oats… now it’s time to get down to earth and put his hands to work.
Forget emo or goth. You want monotone music extolling the bleak reality of absolute depression? Here it is.
Your dreams are dead, get to work:
After the jump, hear how Norma Lee feels about Paris Hilton, and more!