#689: ‘Cream On Chrome’ – Ratatat

Whatever the case, I have a lot of respect for a band who has the gall to call their second album Classics. That’s a level of confidence that I wish I had, however, in the case of Brooklyn’s Ratatat, that’s confidence well-placed.

Following years of making a name for themselves as one of the finest experimental rock groups around, Ratatat released their fifth album, Magnifique, in 2015. Featuring the group’s trademark grooves, samples, and high-action instrumentation, it was the track ‘Cream On Chrome’ that happened to catch my eye.

With a totally slick sound (somewhat akin to the titular cream on chrome), the tune became stuck in my head for weeks, leading me to look into this song and discover just what sort of arduous hours went into making a song such as this. As it turns out, it came together quicker than I would have ever thought.

“A few years back there were a few rappers that had lines about a ‘mayonnaise Benz’ (like a Mercedes-Benz the color of mayonnaise) and it got us thinking about actually dipping a car in mayonnaise, and from there it was just a short jump to ‘Cream on Chrome.’ That’s where the name came from. The song came a few years later,” said Ratatat of the song’s conception.

“It was the first day of our recording session in Catskill, NY and we just looped the drums and starting jamming over them on bass and guitar. The parts came quickly and in a few hours the song was there. We spent the rest of that night blasting it through the studio speakers and jumping around the room.”

“It reminded me of making some of our first songs, in that it almost seemed too easy,” the continued. “At this point in the making of the album we were used to really laboring over tracks, so it felt like a gift when this song came together so quickly.”

You know plenty of artists do that thing where they talk about how a song came to them in 15 minutes and the rest was history? Well, that level of anger I feel when I hear about songs such as that is how I feel about ‘Cream On Chrome’. It’s brilliant, but something that came together as quickly as that makes me wonder “Man, I could’ve done that.” Yeah, but I didn’t, and someone else did it far better than it ever could’ve been done.

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