Friday on My Mind: April Fools!

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

We’ve come almost to the end of March, and we want to give you a little time to prepare for April Fools’ Day this year. This annual prank-a-thon falls on Wednesday, so trust no one, and have a few tricks of your own up your sleeve. It’s not exactly clear when the first of April became a day of jokes and hoaxes, but it goes back hundreds of years. And Wikipedia notes it is not a unique holiday, “The custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbor is recognized everywhere. Some precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, the Holi festival of India, and the Medieval Feast of Fools.” Whatever the origin of April Fools’ Day, we’ve put together a playlist of songs about fools and foolishness. Not surprisingly, many of them center around themes of love and loss. But there are many ways to make a fool of yourself and your friends. Come up with a few fun new ways this year!


Rufus Wainwright – April Fools

Doubly hyphenated Canadian-American singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright kicks off our April Fools’ playlist with this perfectly titled song off his 1998 eponymous debut. Like so many songs about fools, it deconstructs a relationship turning sour. The chorus goes, “And you will believe in love / And all that it’s supposed to be / But just until the fish start to smell / And you’re struck down by a hammer.” Confused about the fish in there? It is possible that Wainwright is referring to the French-Canadian (as well as French, Italian, and Belgian) tradition of “April Fish”, an April Fools’ Day prank that includes attempting to surreptitiously stick a paper fish on a victim’s back without being noticed. Weird, for sure, but as they say, “chacun voit midi à sa porte.”


Tegan and Sara – I Was A Fool

We’ll keep it Canadian with another song for foolish lovers. Off their 2013 album, Heartthrob, this tune shows the twins’ transition from twee indie rock to a more pop oriented sound. It was a hit in Canada, and was certified gold a few months after its release. It also took the number one spot on CBC Radio 2 Top 20, which made Tegan and Sara the first twins in history to top that chart. They have said the song was inspired by Rihanna, especially “Umbrella” and “Unfaithful”, and is about a woman who is in a bad relationship but not taking action to fix it or get out. If you find yourself dating someone you shouldn’t, maybe April 1st would be a good time to do some spring cleaning. It’s also a great chance to construct a grandiose prank, like a flashy public proposal, but inside the ring box is a note that says “let’s see other people.” On second thought, that is a terrible idea, we know you can come up with better. But don’t be a fool for love, it’s not worth it.


The Dodos – Fools (LIVE on KEXP)

San Francisco rockers The Dodos have a different take on fools. Instead of the pitfalls of romantic love, this song seems to explore the complex dynamics between fathers and sons, as the younger generation sees the flaws in their elders and struggles to make their way in the world. “We’re just wandering, we’re just a-wandering like fools,” sings Meric Long. This song was recorded live at The Mural stage at Seattle center August 17th, 2009, when The Dodos did an awesome free show for KEXP listeners. “Fools” appears on their 2008 album, Visiter.


Honorable Mentions:

The Rolling Stones – Fool to Cry

This is the official promo video for the Rolling Stones’ 1976 single “Fool To Cry”, which reached number 6 in the UK singles chart, and is from their 1976 album, Black And Blue.


The Strokes – Taken For A Fool

In this 2011 song from Angles, singer Julian Casablancas shows little sympathy for a sister that gets gullibly taken for a fool time and again.


Def Leppard – Foolin

With its “fa-fa-fa-foolin’” refrain, and a hilariously dated yet retro-awesome music video, this 1983 song from British hard rockers Def Leppard’s smash hit album Pyromania had to make the list.


Devendra Banhart – Foolin

By far the strangest video on the list, one has to wonder if Banhart was playing a bit of a visual prank himself. The song, from 2009’s What Will We Be, has a 60s ska feel with upbeat and positive lyrics, but is paired with a brutal s&m themed video. Depending on where you work, this one might be considered NSFW, but what are you doing watching music videos at work anyway?

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