The Songs The Whole World Loathes

Disclaimer: The following is not intended to insult anyone or their musical taste. The tongue-in-cheek opinions expressed below are solely those of the author and not of Exosphere Radio, their affiliates, children, pets, personal physicians, grandmothers, or spouses

 

Good day, Exosphere universe! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, spring has arrived (at least here in Texas) and that, my friends, makes me very happy. I hope you can feel the positive vibes coming out of this chipper little salutation. I am trying to stay upbeat and positive, but it’s going to be hard today.  For you see, this morning, in the cruelest way imaginable, my mellow was officially harshed. My day is in flaming ruins thanks to that evil specter lurking in the music world, waiting until you are in the best mood ever to suck all of the happy out of you: The songs we hate with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I got some bad news for you folks, misery loves company. Since my day is shot, I feel like it’s totally okay to bring you all down with me.

 

Some songs are awful because they try to be profound and fail miserably. Others are awful because the words just don’t make any sense. Some are soul destroying in their ability to get stuck in your brain, requiring an exorcism to banish them. There are a million things that can make a song great, and a million and one that can render a song a crime against humanity. My day started with one of the latter.

There is a lovely little band called The Waitresses, and back in the 80’s they put out a song entitled “I Know What Boys Want.” The song stinks. The video is some nasty chick smoking and swinging her skirt back and forth with her free hand in a laughable attempt to be sexy. The vocals are awful. It sounds like it’s off key as hell, until you realize that this was a deliberate artistic choice. That’s right. They did this on purpose. You will immediately look for the closest sharp object to jab in your eye, anything to take away the pain caused by this little prize. And the worst part?  At the very end, the well thought out, emotionally charged lyrics, “Na na na na naaaaa, Na na na na naaaaaa,” are repeated over. And over. And over. This song is an honorable mention because the end turns it into a giant earworm that you just can’t shake, and find you yourself singing it while the ER doctor is trying to get the ice pick out of your eye – “Na na na na…. Ow!” I am not claiming to be an expert on what boys want, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want: A skank with a bad perm taking a drag off a Marlboro Red singing about how faboo she is. Well, some do, but those guys tend to be incarcerated. How did MTV ever get off the ground airing garbage like this?

Next on the list is an otherwise fine performance by Nelly that is ruined by a line in the very beginning. “Shake Ya Tailfeather” appears to be a fantastic song to shake your moneymaker to, until the line “Is that your ass or your mama have reindeer?” rears its ugly little head. Um, what?

I have a confession to make: up until this morning I was under the assumption that the line was actually “Is that your ass or your mama half brain-dead?” True story. I’m not really sure which one is worse. Up to this point, I have been picturing……you know what? I don’t know what I have been picturing. I couldn’t visualize what kind of scary looking rear end would warrant that kind of analogy. But the actual lyrics are only slightly worse. Look, I have a big ass. Shapely, but big. I love songs that celebrate curvy women. But there is a line. Insinuating that my mama must be Santa Claus because my butt is so fat? Not scoring you any points. As a matter of fact, I don’t think you’re scoring at all, if that’s the best you can do. Also, Santa is a man, and therefore cannot be my mama.

But some of the greatest of the greats in the music world have failed as well. The next entry is the one that prompted the disclaimer at the beginning of this article. It was put there mostly for DJ Kara’s benefit, because she emphatically disagrees with my opinion on this one. What I am about to say is probably the most sacrilegious thing I can say as a card carrying Beatles junkie, but here it is: “Band on the Run”. It’s terrible. I don’t even know what’s going on. Who the hell are they running from? Music critics? The talent Paul must have misplaced somewhere like a set of car keys when he wrote this nonsense? It sounds like three separate songs. When the “If I ever get out of here….” part is playing, I am totally into the song. And then they go and change everything up, and I feel like I have been teleported from Grooveland to some heinous 70’s pop hell with Barry Manilow as my tour guide. Keep me awake for three days, allow me to sleep for one hour, and then toss me in a pool of 40 degree water. I promise you, it’s not even close to trauma I experience every time I hear this song. I walk around for the next hour feeling like I have a serious neurological problem, staggering into walls because my brain can’t seem to recover from the shock. The worst part is that every single time it comes on the radio, I listen, hoping that maybe this time it will be different. And each time I have to schedule a therapy appointment to treat the associated PTSD. Really, Sir Paul? Really?  That’s enough of this. I feel a panic attack brewing. Let’s move on to the next rage inducing calamity.

I am sure that most of you out there understand irony. On the very small chance that you don’t, Merriam-Webster’s defines the word irony as “incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.” Apparently, Alanis Morrisette didn’t get the memo.

A black fly in your chardonnay is not ironic; it’s a waste of perfectly good alcohol and I cry a little for that glass of wine every time my ears are exposed to this travesty.  Rain on your wedding day? No irony there. There are complex forces at work that create weather patterns all over this orb we call home, and on any given day, there could be a chance of rain. Now, if your wedding song happens to be Enya’s “A Day Without Rain”, and then it downpours on you during your vows at an outside wedding, that would be ironic. And hilarious. There is no irony in “Ironic”. It’s just a song about a bunch of people having really crappy days.  I wish that song could just be erased from existence. I have a secret fear that someday, aliens will come in peace, and the first thing they will hear coming from our planet is that song. They will subsequently assume that all of humanity is stupid, and blow up our planet. Thanks, Alanis. Would it be ironic for life as we know it to be obliterated over a song about irony that isn’t ironic at all? That whole concept makes my brain hurt.

And onto my last target: Starship, or more specifically, Grace Slick. Your Great Society days were good, but we didn’t really understand how awesome you were until you formed Jefferson Airplane, and then Jefferson Starship. One day, the Jefferson disappeared altogether, leaving us with Starship. All of the talent and relevance disappeared, too, except for Grace Slick. She stuck around as the only founding member. Bad idea.

Imagine you are Ms. Slick, the voice of a generation. You sang “White Rabbit” and ‘Somebody to Love.” You unapologetically rail against the establishment and speak your mind. You are a freaking counterculture hero, the first person to ever say MF on live television in the States.  One day, someone shows up with a time machine and launches you a couple of decades into the future, and plays you the following two disasters: “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’.  Then they tell you that the second assault on your eardrums was not only a song, but the theme song to a lame-ass box-office flop about a mannequin that comes to life. The artist is clearly a sell out.  You scream and cry, begging for it all to end. You just want to go back to the sixties, where the music was good and people weren’t forced to watch these stupid videos play ad nauseam on MTV. Then the time traveler leans in and whispers, “Grace, that is YOU singing those songs.” Oh, God, the horror!  

Why, Grace? Why? What happened?  How could you do this to us?  “Marconi plays the mambo, listen to the radio….”  NO! I don’t know if I will ever be able to listen to the radio ever again, for fear that I will stumble across this song and die from the ghastly ordeal. In all fairness, Grace did go on record after reuniting with Jefferson Airplane in 1989 and acknowledged how awful the whole thing was. Still, we can never un-hear these songs, and there is inevitably some jackass that will say, “Oh my God! I love Jefferson Airplane! ‘We Built This City’ is solid!” Facepalm.

I suppose the only thing that is going to make this day better is to go find a young priest and an old priest to get these wicked assaults on music out of my head.  Afterward, I plan to chill out on my hammock in the back yard with a drink and some good tunes to try and recover from the damage wrought on my soul during this assignment. I’ll let you know how it goes next week….provided, of course, I survive this day without hearing any Engelbert Humperdink.