Freelance journalist and novelist Joshua Foer once opined that “Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. … If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound ro blend unmemorably into the next – and disappear.” It might seem unlikely, but Foer’s logic is also applicable to the music industry; to wit, I contend that as I spend every day sitting in my easy chair extolling the “genius” of rock stars, one record is bound to blend unmemorably into the next – and disappear. I can’t be the only one who sees this as a problem, so I say that we must revel in disposable tripe – at least occasionally. My choice for the tripe of the day to indulge is the Record Store Day Exclusive release of Citizen Dick‘s “Touch Me I’m Dick” single.
“Alright, who the hell is Citizen Dick,” you ask?
Citizen Dick was the fictional band that Cameron Crowe created for his 1992 cinematic Seattle love letter Singles and was brought to life by the members of Pearl Jam and Matt Dillon’s character Cliff Poncier. “Touch Me I’m Dick” is the only song moviegoers heard from the band and, in fact, it is a parody of “Touch Me I’m Sick” by Mudhoney. The differences between the versions of the song are small; in fact, they’re close to negligible – other than the obvious difference in the lyric sheet. When the film was new, the cinematic version of the song held up fairly well, even if it was a parody; while it didn’t see any radio play or anything, it stood out enough that anyone who saw the film remembers the song, at least. Now though – twenty-three years after the film hit theaters – Sony’s catalogue department is releasing the song on a seven-inch for Record Store Day. Because the band only had one song in the movie, the B-side of the single features an etching of a quote from Dillon’s character about “Touch Me I’m Dick” which reads thusly:
“Well, I think ‘Touch Me I’m Dick,’ in essence, speaks for itself, you know. I think that, you know, that’s basically what the song is, um… about… is about, you know… I think a lot of people might think it’s about, you know, ‘My name is Dick, and, you know, you can touch me,’ but, I think, you know, it can be seen either way.”
Yes, it really is that incoherent, but the moment in the film as well as the music manage to retain a lovable bent, if only because both are so perfectly hapless.
“So why press it for Record Store Day,” you ask?
Well, as near as I can tell, the reason this vinyl exists is just for fun and to make light of the whole Record Store Day event. Because there have been a few really, really hot and collectible releases which have come along over the last couple of years (from the Nirvana estate, from David Bowie and many more) Record Store Day and the releases which come from it have begun to take a more serious than celebratory bent. The collectible nature of some of the RSD titles has become a little shocking, so why not have a little fun with the idea by pressing something that’s a little numbskulled like this limited edition Citizen Dick seven-inch? Its existence is light and silly – and wouldn’t it be perfectly ironic if it became the hot collectible this year? It’s unlikely, but the possibility is salacious.
With that in mind, many readers may agree that this Citizen Dick single is a great addition to this year’s roster of titles released for Record Store Day. Is it the best one? No. Is it the most immediately exciting one? Come on – it’s a one-off track from a fictitious band in a film which came out twenty-three years ago – it’s about as inconsequential as it gets. It’s fun though, and that’s one thing that Record Store Day has needed a little more of since the trend caught on. Because of that, this single is refreshing and even exciting, in its own way.
The Touch Me I’m Dick 7” was released on Record Store Day – April 18, 2015.