1001 Songs Challenge #745: Jesus Built My Hotrod (1991)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod (1991)
We’re leaving California behind, dear reader, and heading over to Chicago in Illinois. Ministry were formed in 1981 and began as a synthpop duo but as the eighties progressed they transitioned over to industrial metal. When we join the group in 1991 they are working on their fifth album – Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. Prior to that they released a single entitled Jesus Built My Hotrod.
Al Jourgensen, one of the songwriters, took inspiration from his childhood and especially from his stepfather who was both a mechanic and a stock car driver. The song seems to be from the perspective of the mechanic who lives in a trailer park and is referring frequently to his lover. There is a suggestion that this isn’t the healthiest of relationships with the mechanic seemingly aggressive towards her. Towards the end of the song the narrator dedicates his hotrod car to Jesus and says that the Lord’s son is responsible for him having it. Strange.
Jesus Built My Hotrod crams a lot into its run time with whispered vocals at the outset before the licks of the heavy guitars come in. The vocals here are distant and barely audible at times, immersed in the music rather than being transparent. The song proved a success upon release and was the ideal precursor to their next album which duly arrived in 1992 and was also successful. The group’s glory days dissipated in the years that followed and by 2008 they had split up. They reformed only three years later in 2011 and continue to perform.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)