In the late-’60s, the foul, vicious limbs of of punk were starting to form. Iggy Pop was rolling around in peanut butter and his own blood, howling: “And now I wanna be your dog.” Over half a century later, Pop’s words and performance still inspire, even when it’s in opposition. “I Don’t Wanna Be Your Dog Anymore,” the first single from Toronto four-piece No Frills‘ forthcoming debut Downward Dog, is in every sense the inverse of Pop’s fierce anthem.
“Reading anecdotes about Iggy Pop in Please Kill Me (super fun oral history of early punk) makes me picture a wild Iggy, crawling on all fours, shirtless, sweaty, intense, possibly bleeding, etc.,” the band’s Daniel Busheikin explains. “It occurred to me that I’m the total opposite of that person. In ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ Iggy is recklessly throwing himself into sexual and physical domination. In my opposite universe it would be ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Your Dog Anymore,’ where I’m pathetically trying to weasel out the doggy door. So I thought that was kinda funny, which it probably isn’t, but beyond the reference this is a playful but sincere lamentation about being obedient and submissive.”
The track begins with a rustling of papers or some sort of studio tinkering before it launches into sunny guitars and a bobbing bass. Daniel Busheikin’s vocals have an overcast tone as he sings about a relationship that keeps him chained outside. “I’d cut myself loose if I could just figure out the knife / I never made it that far,” he sings. Whereas Pop’s reference to canine submission was thrilling and subversive, Busheikin’s flip on the words finds him sick of being locked under a depressive malaise. Alongside the saddened hum central to “I Don’t Wanna Be Your Dog,” No Frills balance a bit of lackadaisical humor with their charming lo-fi pop.
Listen to “I Don’t Wanna Be Your Dog” below.