It’s easy to dismiss the Puddles Pity Party phenomenon as a bit of a gimmick. He’s a sad clown and he sings sad songs. And he mugs for the camera. But there’s some serious musicality underlying Puddles’ shtick, and he often reveals new things about songs through these seemingly goofy performances.
I can tell you that when I saw he covered Black Sabbath‘s classic “War Pigs” I was extremely skeptical. I didn’t think it would work. Even though the song has anti-war lyrics that could fit a Puddles version, I just didn’t think he would pull it off. But he mostly did.
The song begins some sound effects and then just Puddles, a very resonant piano and a muted guitar. Puddles mostly sticks to the the melody and the tempo seems to pretty similar. For the famous hook, he’s joined by a cello or bowed bass. (The hook is play by the piano and the string instrument.) For the bridge, the arrangement goes full Wall of Sound, which is the only part where, for me, it doesn’t entirely work. But it goes back to the stripped down arrangement in the verse and then there’s a unique take on the guitar solo, with what sounds like a wind instrument joining the string instrument to play that melody.
Honestly, it’s pretty good. And it certainly emphasizes the lyrics more than Ozzy’s vocal does.