History is an ocean of crap, and the Internet is a stinky maelstrom, dredging up derelict stupidity our forbearers scuttled decades earlier. So if you ever made something you wish nobody remembered -- say, a 1992 NBC drama about a dead child who is reincarnated as a robot dinosaur -- be aware there's a 100 percent chance the Internet will salvage that shit so hard that it gets its own maritime museum. And knowing such, it's strange the Internet has yet to celebrate McGruff's Smart Kids Album.
"If your friend tries to peer-pressure you into eating onions, just say no! You could die!"
There's a lot of propaganda out there about not putting angel dust or airplane glue or thumbtacks in your face holes -- what distinguishes McGruff's Smart Kids Album from the rest of the pack? Well, this sonic grenade in the war on drugs came out in the '80s, and holy fuck, can you tell. Dickhead fretting, elfin keyboard twinkles, and saxophones powerful enough to pop boners buoy McGruff's nicotine-stained croon. Yes, MCGRUFF SINGS, and he sounds like a human Tom Waits.
Below are the best tracks from the Smart Kids Album. I've left off two of the tracks, "I'm Glad I'm Me" and "Alcohol," the latter of which sees McGruff harmonize like the drunkest cop on the force. They're middling at best. The same cannot be said for the rest of the songs, which rank among the worst music ever recorded by a giant dog.
4"Cocaine and Crack"
The first track we'll discuss today is "Cocaine and Crack," which is arguably the capstone of the Smart Kids Album. If crack and cocaine had a sitcom where they adopted a hard-luck orphan, this would be their theme song:
Crack would be lax on discipline but big on hugs.
Note that McGruff urges an unknown party to quit cocaine. It's exactly like "You're So Vain," but not about Warren Beatty masturbating into a cup of coffee or whatever. Anyway, McGruff's obviously not addressing a child, because any 7-year-old with a lemonade stand successful enough to support a full-blown coke habit would be too frightening to tolerate a lecture, let alone allow McGruff to walk away with his balls attached to his body. Judging from the below coloring book, the likeliest candidate of McGruff's beseeching is Sonny the bird, as we must assume McGruff misheard him say he was "coo-coo for coca puffs."
"Cocoa puffs? Nice try, but chocolate's poison. You're all under arrest, except for Frankenberry -- I love him."
"Marijuana" is a paradox, and a gasp-inducing one at that. On one hand, this song is the aural opposite of marijuana. The guitar solo resembles a box of diseased tomcats. The rest of the song is likely an illegally sampled Casio demo. John Boehner would mistake this for reggae. On the other hand, this song is music's greatest gift to the oh-man-did-I-just-shit-myself stoned since "Hulkster in Heaven."
We assume this played in Maureen Dowd's head that one time she ate 16 servings of pot in one sitting.
Also, I only now realized that our younger or international readers may not know the history of McGruff the Crime Dog. In the late '70s, Madison Avenue admen created McGruff for a crime prevention nonprofit. This mascot was supposed to teach kids about the risks of drug abuse, but the idea of a bloodhound with human agency filled America's children with so much existential dread that the crack epidemic happened.