El Oso

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El Oso
Studio album by Soul Coughing
Released September 29, 1998
Genre Alternative rock, alternative hip hop, experimental rock, trip hop, post-rock[1]
Length 56:54
Label Slash/Warner Bros. Records
Producer Tchad Blake, Pat Dillett, Optical
Soul Coughing chronology
Irresistible Bliss
(1996)Irresistible Bliss1996
El Oso
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B+[2]
Robert Christgau A–[3]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[4]

El Oso (Spanish for The Bear), released in 1998 (see 1998 in music), is the third and final studio 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. Without crediting it, Steinberg borrowed the bassline for the song "Maybe I'll Come Down" from the melody of the Jake Holmes song "Dazed and Confused," which was covered by Led Zeppelin.

The disc contained their 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 song as part of their Groovies interstitial[5]. The music video featured Fred, Barney and other Hanna-Barbera characters walking in front of the same repeating background. The video for the song "Rolling" was also produced, which was synced with a scene from 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.[6]

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)

B-Sides & Outtakes[edit]

  1. "These are the Reasons"
  2. "Adolpha Zantziger"
  3. "16 Horses"
  4. "Freelancer"
  5. "Whole World"
  6. "Needle to the Bar" (feat. Casual)



  1. ^ a b El Oso at AllMusic
  2. ^ Brunner, Rob (1998-10-02). "El Oso". EW.com. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Soul Coughing". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-12-05. 
  4. ^ [1] Archived December 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Cartoon Network Groovies video for "Circles"". YouTube. 
  6. ^ [2] Archived October 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]