This Lamb Sells Condos and Poos Clouds
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This Lamb Sells Condos and Poos Clouds

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Toronto’s condominium market isn’t always a pretty one. Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy (also the strings arranger for The Arcade Fire and The Hidden Cameras, pictured above at left) decided to take an unorthodox approach to dealing with the problem: he wrote a song about it.
Pallett’s newly-released LP, He Poos Clouds, includes a song called “This Lamb Sells Condos.” The phrase should be familiar to anyone who’s seen this billboard, an advertisement for condo developer Brad J. Lamb (pictured above at right). The lyrics of Pallett’s song are a scathing psychoanalysis of Lamb and his colleagues in the loft and condominium development business (“Contentment? What’s contentment?/I am bald and impotent”), as well as a critical look at the costs – emotional and communal – of urban growth.
Excellent analysis of the lyrics come, curiously enough, from Cleveland, Ohio blogger (who calls us “Torontoans”) Good Hodgkins, who gets the scoop from Pallett himself:

The issue is less with Brad in particular and more with the abstract notion of a condo developer. My boyfriend’s apartment is right below [Brad Lamb’s], however, and I used some of their overheard yellings in the song, which is brutal, yes, but these condos make me wickedly mad. It is turning Toronto into the architectural equivalent of a Glade Plug-In.
Anyway, the song was originally titled “The Shroud Of Brad J Lamb” but I realized that I was addressing a fictional manifestation of the condo developer as an abstract rather than Brad personally, so I changed it. And… I think that “the developer” gets treated fairly in the song. He trades his hair and his mojo for magical powers and a taste for urban living. Not a bad trade, yes?

The lyrics follow. Oh, and if it matters: the song and the album are both fantastic.

No hope for the village, no hope for the village
There’s a merchant in our midst and with a barrel fist
He’s coloured every surface, he’s slapped up a portrait
And yes, it is his own! He’s gonna take your home!
Have you seen our visitor? Look! Over the treetops!
Newly conjured erections are making him a killing
And Richmond St. is illing, so the graduates are willing
To buy in to the pillage, now there’s no hope for the village
Prisoners, be silent, be silent and be sharp
When he was a young man, he conjured up a firemare
And burnt off both his eyebrows and half a head of hair
And then as an apprentice, he took a Drowish mistress
Who bestowed upon his youthfulness a sense of Champagne Chic
Oh seduction, his seduction to the world of construction
Now his mind will start to wander when he’s not at his computer
And his massive genitals refuse to co-operate;
No amount of therapy can hope to save his marriage
Prisoners, be silent, be silent and be sharp
Can you hear them talking? Listen, listen through the wall:
“Nothing to do, nothing to do
Living rent-free is boring me
Got no use for my P.E. Degree
Got no use for my pedigree”
“I feed you every morning and ask so little
But you belittle all the work all the work that I do
When you take that walk without permission
I’m not defensive, I’m just saying this cause I love you
You know I hate it when your friends are in the pool
Old money stinks, send those faggots back to Forest Hill
Contentment? What’s contentment? I am bald and impotent
Is that what it’s about? Oh honey, honey, shut your mouth”
“Hedi Slimane
And Agnes B
I’m not content
I’m not content
Donna Karan
And Kara Saun
I’m not content
I’m not content”

UPDATE: Since this article was first posted in May, Torontoist has conducted an interview with Brad J. Lamb in 2007, in which (among other topics) he discusses his reaction to “This Lamb Sells Condos” and refutes the overheard song lyrics. We also posted about the music video for the song, which was done in one take and is pretty awesome.

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