“The Fool” has long been a staple in pop music — aside from the obvious classics (“Fool On the Hill,” “Chain of Fools,”) we dug up five essential, yet underrated songs that celebrate the foolish side of humanity in a few different ways. No foolin’.
1. Rufus Wainwright: “April Fools” (from Rufus Wainwright)
Rufus is a master of MGM musical inspired pop melodrama “April Fools” details how the day of fools will humble anybody’s romantic notions — and the accompanying music video features quite the prank. (Somebody committed suicide! Wait, they’re alive? Gotcha!)
2. Spiritualized: “Baby, I’m Just a Fool” (from Songs In A&E)
Spiritualized are no strangers to including fools in their lyrics, as they copped Elvis Presley’s “Fools Rush In” for the closing of their song “Ladies and Gentlemen.” But “Baby, I’m Just a Fool” is classic Spiritualized — seven minutes of grandiose arrangements, augmented by Jason Pierce’s gruff vocals, catchy little harmonies and lyrics that are a declaration of self-conscious love.
3. Superchunk: “Like a Fool” (from Foolish)
Superchunk’s legacy might have been built on the bashing riffs and a delightful snotty attitude but 1994’s Foolish showed a maturation in the North Carolina band. “Like A Fool” opened the record with a beautifully somber guitar riff and a ballad about heartbreak and like Spiritualized, there’s a bit of self-deprecation involved.
4) Phosphorescent: “Nothing Was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)” (from Here’s To Taking It Easy)
Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck loves him some Willie Nelson — the guy did an album of Willie covers titled To Willie. And this Houck original sounds like classic Willie’s balladry, from the pedal steel to the syrupy sweet mantra “You can love me foolishly, / Love me foolish-like.”
5. Neutral Milk Hotel: “The Fool” (from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea)
The shortest song on Jeff Mangum and company’s In the Aeroplane Over The Sea is “The Fool,” and could certainly serve as any prankee’s swan song. It’s essentially a funereal march with accordion, tambourines and a flugelhorn, perfect to play after a bucket of water falls on your co-worker’s head. You’ll get bonus points for choosing Neutral Milk Hotel to provide a soundtrack to humiliation.