I’d been hearing so much about the connection between Teletubbies and drugs that I had to find out for myself, despite being the biggest teetotaler you can imagine. So I take a swig of some legal GHB analogue a friend bought on the Internet, pop on Teletubbies: The Album, and sit down to write.
As the back of my head starts to tingle and the twee chortles of Tinky-Winky, Dipsy, La-La, and Po fill the room, I can understand why a TV pro gram targeted for one-year-olds would be the choice of substance abusers with a jones for cuteness. Like most English pop culture, Teletubbies are all about dropping inhibitions—feeling free to fall down a lot, share Ecstasy-esque “big hugs” at every opportune moment, and do the dumbest line dances imaginable. The music’s mix of cornball synth twaddle and near-constant farty/bubbly buzzes is pure kiddie-techno psychedelia: bouncy and narcotizing. I feel torn between polishing my own ‘tubby disco moves and crawling into bed.
As with most drug music, Teletubby tunes favor groove over narrative: befitting a TV program where the key phrase is “again, again,” there’s repetition aplenty. A typical Teletubby track like “Jump for Fun” features synthetic banjo pickin’, twanging Jew’s harp, militaristic drum rolls, and more twittering bird chirps than your favorite Timbaland jam. “Follow the Leader” (not the Eric B & Rakim classic) brings funky Latin flava with even more maniacal giggling than usual. “Dirty Knees” undercuts the obvious sexual innuendo with frantic whimsy. But it’s the final chill-out cuts, “Clouds” and “Lullaby,” that my own fuzzy body craves ,Music-box tinkles first dance a jig, then a lazy waltz, as ambient New Age doodles coo and moan. Our Americanized narrator croons, “Go to sleep/Teletubbies/Go /To/Sleep.” Don’t mind if I do.