those who know me can guess why.
i know that there is a whole world of people who cherish the old time music. you know what i mean by that music: that romanticized thought of young men, standing around street corners, harmonizing instead of swiping hubcaps? during the ’50s and early ’60s, white boys did it, black boys did it, heck, it seemed like everyone and his dog liked to do that (except for the rockers, who were tearing up music when they weren’t tearing up towns.) the success of the broadway show jersey boys cements that whole musical period into american fabled lore.
i loathe that music.
in fact, i would probably voluntarily sit in a modern country concert before i would subject myself to an evening of doo-wop classics. while modern country music in general (there are exceptions, and i do like alt-country) sounds to me more like rejects from lite 1970s soft rock, doo-wop artists make weird noises in a way that actually makes me physically want to get up and run away from the sound. and no other purveyor of this sort of music annoys me more than frankie valli and the four seasons. it was bad enough that they sang unadulterated crap; but the sound! oh! the sound! between the piercing soprano-like warbles exiting valli’s mouth to the WHINE. you know the whine i mean: as in, big girls…do-won’t CRY-YI-YI.
you actually need to keep me far from sharp objects when they come on. i may do myself harm, just to escape his voice.
and the ultimate worst for me? Sherry. when your name (or a name similar to it) gets used in a song, people make fun of you. ask anyone my age named michael whether people ran after them singing:my name is michael, i got a nickel, etc. unless your name is linda or yoko, you probably don’t enjoy songs with your name in them, either. and when your then-10-year-old brother runs after you, singing something insulting at the top of his lungs, you tend to hate it. a lot. especially when he alters the words to:
SHERRY…SHERRY’S A BABY. SHERRY. SHERRY’S A BABY.
so yeah. three strikes against the song. 1) i can’t stand frankie valli and the four seasons, 2) i don’t like being teased by my brother with song lyrics like this, and 3) there are only three people on this planet — two relatives and my friend sushma — who can call me sherry and live.
you are probably not one of them.
and now, here’s a song about an ass.
humps? is she a bird, a plane, or a camel? i have never heard a butt called a hump before. i’m guessing will.i.am or whoever is responsible for this POS song took the verb hump and decided that this was the body part he wanted to, er, hump. hmmm.
and the imagery? milk and cocoa puffs?
in short, this is a puerile and vile piece of work. maybe if you are a moron who spends all your time watching porn and listening to what passes for popular hip-hop or dance music, this song makes sense. but i marvel that there are any women — ANY women — who would voluntarily sing this song. i mean, why don’t they just cut this song to the chase. the lyrics should be more like:
my ass, my ass
come f*** me up the ass.
just give me lots of money; you can f*** me up the ass.
my ass, my ass
come f*** me up the ass.
just give me lots of money; you can f*** me up the ass.
they should just call this song spend all your money i’ll let you f*** me up the ass. they can subtitle the song: ode to a prostitute. (of course, that’s sort of an insult to prostitutes worldwide.) hell — can’t you see this as a commercial for prostitutes?
also: lady lumps? WTF are lady lumps? does she have tumors or something? if women have lady lumps, what exactly would be the male equivalent? manly peninsula? the big dipper? (or little, i suppose, in some cases.) damn. bring back the day of hoo-hoos and dingalings, please.
so let me round this up. she is a camel growing large with bulbous, cancerous growths. you want your big (to be charitable) dipper to make personal contact with her fecal material. you’ll even pay for it with jewelry and expensive gifts.
really? you want a piece of that?
if only he had been plugged in to his music on the subway. this all could have been avoided.
so one-hit-wonder james blunt saw a beautiful woman on the subway (who, the story goes, was his ex-girlfriend.) she was with another guy. he’ll never see her again. but they shared a moment (at least, he had a moment) which will last as long as lite-rock stations and on-hold music play you’re beautiful incessantly. depending on whether you hear the clean radio version or the CD version, you get a slightly different experience with this song.
clean version: She could see from my face that I was flying high.
not-so-clean version: She could see from my face that I was fucking high.
now, this totally changes the equation. see, most of us only know the clean version. we just think, oh, here’s this guy, having a slightly-stalkerish moment on the train with a woman he may or may not know. it’s a wonderful moment, and she can see he is doing well in life (flying high.) let’s all assume there is love all around; everyone ends up wistful but happy. so maybe you think that this is all a wonderful Hallmark sort of moment wrapped up in a song that is about as deep as any Hallmark product. and perhaps you’d be right.
but… in the not-so-clean version, he is having this slightly-stalkerish moment… and she can see he is wasted. have you ever been that person who is stared at by someone who is clearly messed up? i have had more than one experience in life where someone who was completely fucked up either frightened me or actually tried to harm me. i have spent time with people who are messed up. most are pretty peaceful. some? not so much. i won’t get into it, but suffice to say, little good can happen when the wrong person is FUBAR’d and glued to you. what’s so fucking romantic about having someone who is messed up staring at you on a train? i fail to find it a lovely, deep experience. for me, all i can think of is where’s my can of mace?
at best, this is the most irritating piece of elevator music material. at worst, it is creepy elevator music. if i am going to have creepy elevator music, i would prefer it to be something from a tim burton movie. at least that way, i can feel like i’m in the movie, too.
for instance: exhibit a:
very few songs make me change a radio station faster than this one does.
now, before you go nuts because i’m not loving something by stevie flowy dress nicks, know that i love a lot of her songs, both from fleetwood mac and even solo. i think she is an amazing, inspirational gift to the planet. i even love the story (is it true? who knows) behind how this song was written. (apparently, nicks was on a honeymoon when she heard little red corvette, which inspired her to write this song. she called up prince (because apparently, all famous people have other famous people on speed dial, doncha know), who came down to the studio and played the synth in this song. he is uncredited for that, though i think he has a songwriting credit for this song. and then poof! he finished his work and left.)
but all i can hear when this song plays is that synth, sounding like relentless bullets into my head. it actually hurts to listen to it. that, of course, and the feeling i get that i am listening to a loop, a never-ending, whining loop. i have to get away from this before my head starts to cave in on itself. (oh wait — am i confusing this song with edge of seventeen? that’s possible. those two songs are the two songs i really, truly, cannot abide from ms. nick’s work… but nope. in this case, i really do mean stand back.)
okay. it’s a toss-up. i can’t stand either song. i think i’ll listen to some actual prince instead.
or better yet, this.
three words: kill. me. now.
criticizing ’70s music is like shooting fish in a barrel. i did it for one month and still have stuff left over. how i passed over john travolta’s star turn is beyond me. middlebro is probably smiling right now reading this, as i think this would make it up there on his list of awful ’70s songs. (he’s like the ultimate curator of ’70s music.)
travolta was at the height of his teen heartthrob time, as he played vinnie barbarino in welcome back kotter. teenybopper wreke never thought he was cute, but i did want my hair to feather back off my face like his did. i’m impressed that they took a chance on him and let him sing in the movie grease; this piece of musical drivel would be a career-killer for most. luckily for travolta, his career survived this song.
wonder if it can survive his alleged massage issues?
anyway, in 1976, i suspect a lot of people must have been high. how else could this song chart?
he sounds better when you don’t take his singing seriously. like here, for example.
it had a good beat, but, like let her in, you can’t dance to it.
this one creeped me out. still does.
so here’s the deal. you have a young girl with no friends and no life. she lives her life as a shut-in, with only her radio for company. one day, a young man comes to visit. he gets confused by the loud music in her room, so angie turns the volume down and sucks him into the radio, where he remains, her secret lover, for all time.
(yeah. screams hit song to me, too.)
and yet, in 1974/5, it hit number one for australian singer helen reddy in the US — she of i am woman, hear me roar fame.
what a freakin’ letdown for me. i mean, one second, reddy is singing all about empowerment. and then, next thing you know it, some girl who clearly is disturbed but has some sort of magical powers uses them for evil. it’s like a prelude to carrie — misfit girl takes revenge. by the way — doesn’t anyone ever wonder what the hell happened to the boy? where are his parents? where are the authorities? it’s like some freaky show set in charlie brown’s land of no adults.
if this had been made today, i suspect someone would have turned it into a reality show. can you imagine — it would be the intersection of those ghosty shows and hoarders, only this telekinetic chick is hoarding an actual person. considering the stories one hears in the news as of late of people who are kidnapped and missing for years, this song just trips my creep-o-meter that much more.
oh hell. i need a mental palate cleanser. something from that era that is happy and kooky and that always makes me smile.
ah. got it.
dammit, they never, ever sing the words what’s up. what is up with that?
there was a period of time in popular music, children, when to seem earnest, you needed to look like your last bath was in the prior decade. you needed to put ordinary, garden-variety items (like goggles) around your stovepipe hat to seem like you were genuinely creative. (this was also the time period where the tramp stamp gained popularity.) throw in some acoustic guitars, flannel shirts, some dreads, and a video set in a living room, and you were set for stardom.
this was the age of grunge.
now, do not misunderstand me. there are works from the era of grunge which i hold dear in my heart. (why, one of my most favorite songs, ever, comes from this musical era.) but 4 non blondes did not produce anything truly meaningful or remotely entertaining at this time. and yet, what’s up became a big hit for the group. i’m thinking that the youth of america (a group for which i sort of still qualified at that time) just liked the refrain:
and i say: HEY! yeah yeaaah, HEY yeah yea
i said hey, what’s going on?
this, sung over and over and over. shower, rinse, repeat.
now. lest you think linda perry, author and singer, is not deep, her lyrics are really, really inspiring.
and so i wake in the morning
and i step outside
and i take a deep breath and I get real high
and i scream from the top of my lungs
what’s going on?
so she basically steps out of her house, hyperventilates, and then screams. if she lived next door to me, that sort of behavior might severely hinder neighborly relations.
poor lady. in the song, she spends a lot of time lying in bed, crying and trying to get something out of her head. she notes she feels peculiar. also, she prays for sanctity and for revolution. considering she spends the entire length of the song wondering what the hell is going on, you wonder from what she wishes to revolt. but she still cries. and she still prays. and she’s still very, very confused.
you know what i wish for her? perhaps some antidepressants.
or, as i like to sing it, thighs without a space.
ah, the freshman 10. you never believe it will happen to you until you head off to college, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and you are faced with cafeteria food. the university of miami cafeteria, at least the one near my freshman dorm, was no pleasure palace. sure, it offered some things i never had before (and, thanks to it’s awful treatment of such foods, i will never try again — platanos fritos, i am looking at YOU), but the food was inedible for the most part.
i spent quite a bit of time eating godfather’s pizza (which wasn’t a lot better), the strange chicken patty sandwiches in the breezeway, and the happy hour free eats at a bar across south dixie highway. (nevermind the fact i was not drinking age. i could buy a soda and get a whole meal with it.) not exactly a healthy regimen; and when i came home for winter break, i realized i was not on a good path.
upon my return, i signed up for an aerobics class that happened a couple of nights each week at the UM gym. (i think the football players had their own gym, as i never saw anyone terribly bulky there.) and anyone who remembers the early 1980s remembers a lot of women sporting fluffy hair and stripey duds much like the lady herself, ms. jane fonda, queen of pain.
my roommate was heavily into jane, so we spent a lot of time attempting this stuff.
anyway, back to the UM gym. my roommate and i spent hours and hours in aerobics class. and, in short, i didn’t really enjoy this particular class, but i didn’t feel like i had any choice but to attend. (the food choices weren’t changing, so something had to give.) i didn’t like the especially joyful woman who taught the class. i didn’t particularly want to feel the burn. what i wanted was to make it through the damn class so i could go out and risk my life crossing grand avenue to visit steve’s ice cream in coconut grove feel a little virtuous, for 5 minutes at least.
so every time i attended, guess which song had the leg lifts i dreaded?
yep. mr. billy idol, reminding me that no one could see the sun through my thunder thighs.
in short: i hate pert ladies who yell Woo! as they bounce and stretch it out.
i hate leg lifts.
and i hate billy idol’s eyes without a space.
move over, nostradamus.
zany nebraskan duo denny zager and rick evans’ in the year 2525 hit number one on the US charts the week of the first manned moon landing. it’s ironic, really, as this song warns of the evils of technology and how it will ultimately doom the human race. (bet they were the life of the party.their next song, a happy-go-lucky ditty which didn’t get far in the US but was a hit in the UK, involved a rapist nailing himself to his prison wall.) i marvel at how young americans thrilled to hear that nasally voice of death as it warned of the evils that would befall us every thousand years, and only apparently in years that ended in 525.
this song always reminded me of a part of the passover seder where we sing about each and every freaking plague that happened before pharoah let moses takes the jews out of egypt. you drop wine on your plate (or, if you are a slob like me, on the edge of your white blouse’s sleeve, never to come out in the wash.) i imagine in this version, though, zager and evans taking a big hit off a giant spleef after each verse.
In the year 4545
Ain’t gonna need your teeth, won’t need your eyes
You won’t find a thing to chew
Nobody’s gonna look at you
zager: hey man, that’s a good one. hey! let’s write a few about G-d. only the G-d lines have to happen in years that end in 10. like, say:
In the year 7510
If G-d’s a-comin’ he ought to make it by then
Maybe he’ll look around himself and say
Guess it’s time for the Judgement day
evans: far out, man. faaar out. don’t bogart that joint.
i’m struggling to envision groovy guys and girls boogying to this song about the end of the world.
a far better choice would come later with this:
hell, if the end of the world comes, let it come with a bang, not a relentless, whiny whimper.
(and let us all say amen birthday party cheesecake jellybean BOOM! right?)
you are welcome to take issue with my selections in the comments. (some people are still taking issue with what i wrote over 5 years ago about the song wildfire… on my old blog. and wow, who knew those fans would be so nasty!) also, if you have nominees for songs you loathe (and which i’ve not written about already), feel free to share.
i take requests.
which is worse: the song or a thong?
it’s a tough call. hearing someone sing thong tha tha tha thong is awful enough and is grounds alone for getting sisqo laughed off the face of the earth. but let’s break down this ode to underwear.
there is nothing wonderful about wearing a thong, and anyone who tells you they are comfortable has no nerve endings in her nether regions. sure, you end up with no VPL (visible panty lines), but there is a reason why these torture devices are called butt floss.
there’s something even more disturbing about the song and video. the video starts out with a little girl, presumably sisquo’s daughter, bringing a thong to him and asking him what it is. then, the song starts with this utter objectification of women. i mean, the sum total of a woman is her ass. so hey, little girl. don’t bother going to school; just work on your posterior and then show it off.
and then, la creme de la creme of this poetry is this gem of a line:
she had dumps like a truck truck truck
wow. we are really talking a completely different type of experience here. yes, it involves an ass, but this is just gross. of course, maybe that’s why she wears a thong. after she’s hitting the clubs, maybe downing some nachos, thongs are her only hope here.
quick toilet access.
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