El Oso

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This article is about the Soul Coughing album. For the Spanish municipality in Castile and León, see El Oso, Ávila.
El Oso
Studio album by Soul Coughing
Released September 29, 1998
Genre Alternative rock, alternative hip hop, experimental rock, drum and bass, post-rock[1]
Length 56:54
Label Slash/Warner Bros. Records
Producer Tchad Blake, Pat Dillett, Optical
Soul Coughing chronology
Irresistible Bliss
El Oso
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (A-)[2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[3]

El Oso (Spanish for 'The Bear'), released in 1998 (see 1998 in music) is the third and final album by the New York City band Soul Coughing. The disc is marked by a deep drum and bass influence. Before starting work on the album, the band toured with Full Cycle DJs Krust and Die (in fact, their band with Roni Size, Reprazent, won the Mercury Prize in 1997 and thus put the kibosh on a notion to have them produce)—and by a scattershot approach to production: Tchad Blake (Soul C's Ruby Vroom, Latin Playboys, Sheryl Crow), Pat Dillett (They Might Be Giants, Doveman, Mary J. Blige), and British drum and bass DJ Optical (Goldie, Grooverider, Ed Rush).

Artist Jim Woodring (Frank) drew the cartoon "monkey-bear" on the disc's cover.

The chorus of the song "$300" is a sample of a Chris Rock joke; singer Mike Doughty heard the joke which is backmasked on Rock's Roll with the New. Curious, Doughty recorded it into his ASR-10 sampler with the intention of simply reversing it and seeing what the joke was, and wrote the song around what he found there. The song was used in the House episode "The Softer Side" in 2009.

Some consider El Oso to be a marked deviation from their previous albums, Ruby Vroom and Irresistible Bliss, particularly in its departure from jazz and continuation of the melodicism of Bliss in an overall darker mood.

The disc yielded Soul Coughing's biggest hit single, "Circles". Tchad Blake, who produced the tune, hated it, and told them it would be a mistake to release it. Cartoon Network gave it a music video in which a Flintstones cartoon was synched to the track as part of the Cartoon Network Groovies. The music video featured Flintstone and other Hanna Barbara cartoon characters walking in front of the same repeating background. A Cartoon Network video for the song "Rolling", was also produced which was synced with a Betty Boop cartoon. The song was used in the 2004 remake of Walking Tall.

El Oso made #1 on KTUH's charts on the week of January 25, 1999.[4]

Track listing[edit]

All music by Soul Coughing. All lyrics written by Mike Doughty unless otherwise noted.

  1. "Rolling" – 3:36
  2. "Misinformed" – 3:25
  3. "Circles" – 3:07
  4. "Blame" – 5:01
  5. "St. Louise Is Listening" – 4:29
  6. "Maybe I'll Come Down" – 4:32
  7. "Houston" – 4:04
  8. "$300" – 3:08
  9. "Fully Retractable" – 3:26
  10. "Monster Man" – 4:16
  11. "Pensacola" (Doughty/Ava Chin) – 4:16
  12. "I Miss the Girl" – 4:03
  13. "So Far I Have Not Found the Science" – 2:53
  14. "The Incumbent" (Doughty/Mark De Gil Antoni) – 6:46
  15. "212" (Japanese release bonus track)
  16. "Rare Star Ball" (Japanese release bonus track)



  1. Circles
  2. Monster Man
  3. These Are the Reasons
  4. Adolpha Zantziger

"St. Louise Is Listening"

  1. St. Louise Is Listening"


  1. "Rolling"
  2. "Rolling (Grooverider Dub)"

Live at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC on 25.10.1998

  1. "Screenwriter's Blues"*
  2. "Rolling"*
  3. "Collapse"*
  4. "White Girl"*
  5. "$300"*
  6. "St. Louise Is Listening"*
  7. "Circles"*
  8. "Moon Sammy"*
  9. "True Dreams of Wichita"*
  10. "I Miss the Girl"*
  11. "Super Bon Bon"*
  12. "Janine"*



  1. ^ a b El Oso at AllMusic
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Soul Coughing". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ [2][dead link]

External links[edit]