Whilst their first two albums had been very gritty, Mrtva Priroda had a more sophisticated sound and paved the way for the series of best-sellings albums throughout the 1980s that ensured the band's popularity throughout most of the former Yugoslavia. These are the albums for which the group is generally most fondly remembered. Mrtva Priroda did get them in trouble though, as alongside several far more whimsical numbers was “All Quiet On The Western Front,” a very “non-aligned” song about how both the West and the Soviet bloc’s ideals were both equally uninspiring, which included the lines “Idiots die for ideals,” and “Only cretins start a revolution and die.” It was too soon after the death of Tito to have a go at the Communists and the revolution, and the group appear to have escaped serious consequences only as a result of Djordjevic's personal connections2. The group's 1980s peak is largely contained on the albums Buvlja pijaca (Flea Market, 1982), 1984's Večeras vas zabavljaju muzičari koji piju (Tonight You Will Be Entertained By Musicians Who Drink), and Istina (Truth), 1986's Osmi nervni slom (Eighth Nervous Breakdown, which features vocals by Eddie Grant on one track, “Amsterdam,”), 1987's Ujed za Dušu (Soul Food), 1988's Priča o ljubavi obično ugnjavi (Talking About Love Is Usually Annoying) and 1990's Koza Nostra (a play on words between the Italian Cosa Nostra and 'Koza' - Serbian for 'goat' – there is a large goat on the album cover). By 1990 the group thought they were safe to have a go at previously untouchable subjects such as Tito. Koza Nostra includes both the comic, satirical "Tito Is Yours" (“He was a pianist, a humanist, and never an onanist...…”) but also "Al Capone", a very fierce song that attacks among other things Tito’s very close relations with various dubious dictators (“In his world Idi Amin was a healthy as a vitamin pill, and Bokassa was as kindly as the Salvation Army..”). Unlike in 1982, nothing much happened to them.
The atmosphere had changed. Civil war broke out in various parts of the former Yugoslavia from 1991 onwards and 1992 brought “Labudova pesma” (Swan Song), the first album to reflect this. It included a number of anti-war songs such as “Whilst Heads Are Rolling” and the prayer “Amen” that bemoaned what was happening to the country but at that point, didn’t overtly take sides, condemning the whole stupidity of it all. As things started to go wrong for the Serbs in the wars, however, the group began to include increasing numbers of songs with a Serbian nationalist, anti-Western and sometimes outright racist flavour to them on their albums. Although the greater part of their records was still made up of innovative tracks similar to their albums from their 1980s peak, this new flavour alienated a lot of their non-Serb audience and some more moderate Serbs. The first signs of this were seen on 1993's Zbogom Srbijo (Farewell Serbia), both from its title track and from the group's reworking of "Green Green Grass Of Home" as a song about someone standing trial because of what's beneath the green, green grass back home.
The group's (or at least Djordjevic's) feelings truly became writ large, however, in 1996's Ostalo je cutanje (Only Silence Was Left). Written shortly after the fall of the so-called Republika Srpska Krajina and the mass exodus of most of Croatia's Serbs (the subject of the title track), the album also includes the very anti-Moslem "Something Is Rotten In The State of Denmark", and "Gnjilane" (the name of a town in Kosovo) which portrays Kosovo Albanians as venal drug dealers. Later in the decade, the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 produced the track "Samo Sloga Srbina Spasava" (Only Unity Can Save the Serb, a popular Serbian slogan) with violent, anti-Western lyrics. 2001's Pisanje uz vetar (Pissing Against the Wind) has less about the war, but starts with the track “Black and White World,” musically a very accomplished piece of reggae which, however, has uncompromising lyrics all about how idle and indolent black people allegedly are (“In world laziness contests, we’d sweep the medals board…”).
Although possibly meant as black humour in the spirit of the subversive cover versions of their earlier days, it’s unlikely that Eddie Grant would be very impressed. Support for Serbian nationalism most emphatically did not, however, imply support for the government of Slobodan Milosevic which had profited so greatly from its revival, and RIblja Corba albums from the same period also include many songs attacking the Milosevic regime. Zbogom Srbijo includes a hard-rock cover version of the Herman's Hermits hit "No Milk Today" with lyrics reworked to be about the dire state of life in Milosevic’s Serbia (“there’s no milk today, there’s no bread today – and so eat shit, man....”) whilst constantly repeating sarcastically the refrain “Tako Treba” (“It’s Necessary”) – the slogan of Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia. “Rhapsody In Blue (Police Academy)” is about police brutality against anyone who “doesn’t obey the boss.” In 1996 Djordjevic went on to make an album “Njihovi Dani” (Their Times) which he released in the Republika Srpska rather than Serbia proper and under his own name (as "Bora Corba") rather than that of the band. This is because it contained several songs that were direct, very personal attacks on Milosevic and his family; he feared lawsuits or worse in Serbia and also wanted to divert the responsibility onto himself rather than the group.
Amid all the songs about the Milosevices rejoicing in all the spilt blood, whilst hiding safe in their bunker like Hitler and Eva Braun and/or Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, Djordjevic does also take time out in the song “Belgrade, Belgrade…” to have a sharp dig at certain citizens’ groups in Belgrade who were despairing at all the nasty, common refugees from Croatia cluttering up their nice clean city and wishing they’d all go home (“So what if they’re Serbs? Send them home; it’s nicer here without them”). The group’s albums from 1999 onwards have also included increasing numbers of songs about how miserable life is in post-war Serbia, how depressed Serbian society is, and how this is the fault both of the alleged New World Order/the West and the masochistic national character of the Serbs themselves. (“Serbs are mad, Serbs are cursed; Kill one once, he’ll want you to do it again…” they sang on the track that comes after “Black and White World”) Their most recent studio album, 2002’s “Ovde” (“Here”) in particular bears little resemblance to the Corba of the 70s and 80s. Its cover features a drowning man making the three-fingered Serbian nationalist salute as his arm vanishes beneath the water Terminator 2-style, and the songs include “Plajvaz,” about a man who carries out a massacre with a machine gun from the roof of the prominent Beogradjanka building in central Belgrade. Discography: Studio albums: 1. Kost u grlu (PGP RTB, 1979) 2.
Pokvarena mašta i prljave strasti (PGP RTB, 1981) 3. Mrtva priroda (PGP RTB, 1981.) 4. Buvlja pijaca (PGP RTB, 1982.) 5. Večeras vas zabavljaju muzičari koji piju (Jugoton, 1984.) 6.
Istina (PGP RTB, 1985.) 7. Osmi nervni slom (PGP RTB, 1986.) 8. Ujed za dušu (PGP RTB, 1987.) 9. Priča o ljubavi obično ugnjavi (PGP RTB, 1988.) 10.
Koza nostra (PGP RTB, 1990.) 11. Labudova pesma (Samy, 1992.) 12. Zbogom Srbijo (WIT, 1993.) 13. Ostalo je ćutanje (WIT, 1996.) 14.
Nojeva barka (Hi-Fi Centar 1999.) 15. Pišanje uz vetar (Hi-Fi Centar 2001.) 16. Ovde (Hi-Fi Centar 2003.) 17. Trilogija 1: Nevinost bez zaštite (M-Factory 2005.) 18.
Trilogija 2: Devičanska ostrva (M-Factory 2006.) 19. Trilogija 3: Ambasadori loše volje (M-Factory 2006.) 20. Minut sa njom (City Records 2008) Live albums: 1. U ime naroda (PGP RTB, 1982) 2.
Od Vardara pa do Triglava (ONE RECORDS, 1996) 3. Beograd, uživo `97 - 1 i 2 (Hi Fi Centar, 1997) 4. Nema laži, nema prevare - Zagreb uživo `85 (Biveco, 1998) 5. Gladijatori u BG Areni (City Records, 2008) Compilations: 1.
Riblja Čorba 10 (PGP RTB, 1988.) 2. Treći srpski ustanak (Corba Records, 1997.) 3. Trilogija (City Records 2008) References: * 1EX YU ROCK enciklopedija 1960-2006, Janjatović Petar; ISBN 978-86-905317-1-4 * 2> Sabrina P Ramet, "Balkan Babel - the Disintegration of Yugoslavia," ISBN 0813390346, chapter on rock music External links: * Official site From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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