|Art by Matt Dixon.|
Ronny James Dio's "Rainbow in the Dark." I used to laugh at this song because the lyrics are sort of stupid. These days, however, I think this should be the anthem for anyone who's ever felt overlooked or under appreciated. Who hasn't felt like a rainbow in the dark at some point? Also, you know what's free? Lightening. You know what isn't free? You.
Meatloaf, various songs. I don't care what you say. There is at least one Meatloaf song you like. But it shouldn't be "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" because that song sucks. Yet it seems a lot of people like that song. What a waste. Because even if you say you don't like Meatloaf, you have to admit you like Queen. Queen is big and theatrical and sometimes even epic and guess what? So is Meatloaf. But liking "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" is akin to liking the peel of a banana. The peel is the part you're supposed to throw away and so is "Paradise." Better you should like "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," "For Crying Out Loud," or even "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That.)" I'm betting you probably do.
Hanson, "MMMBop." This is probably the happiest song in the world. If you read the lyrics, you'll see the song is actually about a pretty serious subject. There's also a lot of lyrics all packed into single sentences in this song. I don't know how those kids packed so many words into single sentences but they did. You can't really understand most of the lyrics, except "It's a secret know one knows." Which is telling, isn't it? Michael Stipe murmured his way though a whole album and even though he did other enigmatic things like keeping his sexuality a mystery pretty much right up until today, he's not a secret to me. This is because I like R.E.M. so I've read a great deal about them. But I don't know anything about the Hanson brothers at all and I've never heard any of their songs but this one. It's probably safe to say that if I really gave a tin shit about Hanson other than "MMMBop" I could find a whole bunch of information on them also. Who knows? Maybe no one.
One Direction, "What Makes You Beautiful." I learned to play this on guitar a few years back. I thought, how whimsical and funny would this be to pull out of my repertoire someday, somewhere? I even thought I might try this at Karaoke and that would be funny too. But what's not funny is you get to breath exactly twice during the chorus:
"Baby you light up my world like nobody else they way that you flip your hair gets my overwhelmed but when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell you don't know-oh-oh BREATHE you don't you're beautiful.
If only you'd see what I can see you'd understand why I want you desperately right now you're looking at me like you can't believe you don't know-oh-oh BREATHE you don't know you're beautiful."
But if you're looking for a good way to impress your friends and maybe die trying, this is the song for you.
Matchbox 20, "How Far We've Come." I think, among music snobs, Matchbox 20 is like Nickelback in that you're supposed to hate them? I don't really know. I like this song because I like to think about how far I've come. I should probably write more here but I got nothing. Which probably shows how crappy Matchbox 20 is. Or maybe I have a long way to go?
Shaun Cassidy, "That's Rock and Roll." The opening lyrics to this song are "When I was 16, and sick of school ..." When I was 16 and sick of school, I got plopped into a different high school. I got sick of that school pretty quick too. When I was 18 and sick of school, I didn't go back after summer vacation because I had rocked and rolled my way into a whole lot of F's and would have been 19 when I graduated. Instead, I got a GED and Bachelor's Degree. That's not really rock and roll but it's okay. Shaun was really never rock and roll either.
10cc, "The Things We Do for Love." In fourth grade, an older friend told me what "making out" was. I don't think she got too specific as being only a year older than me, she didn't really know much. But tongue kissing was mentioned. Which: shocking. The first time I heard this song and the lyrics "You think she's gonna break up, when she says she want to make up," I though they said "make out." Which: shocking. But then I heard it again and realized my error. That's a good enough reason to like this song.
Something Happens, "Parachute." Have you ever heard this song?
I have no idea if it's considered "bad" or not. It probably should be because it's kind of stupid. I like it though, I especially like it when I'm running and I can pretend I'm flying. Pretending to fly is AWESOME and if you've never tried it, you certainly should.
Shakira, "Empire." Mostly, I hate this song. There has never been a worse lyric, ever, than "And the stars make love to the universe." I do like, however, when Shakira sings "And I'm like, and I'm like, AND I'M LIKE!" I'm not really sure why. Maybe you do?
REO Speedwagon, various songs. REO Speedwagon got real popular in the 80's. I had a baseball t-shirt with their crazy winged logo on it and I wore it to the rollerskating rink. One time, this blond guy asked me to "couple skate." Toward the end of the song, we skated over to a dark corner by a bunch of mirrors and he kissed me. I had gum in my mouth at the time and do you know what? I saved that gum in plastic baggie. But then I turned 19 and I threw that and a lot of other stupid shit out.
Ray Parker Jr., "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You." It's gonna get weird now. I really, really, really like this song. I like that guitar at 2:11, right after "'Cause every girl I date resembles you." The song gets super creepy at the end. Up until then, it's been all love and "it's not your fault" and what not. But then Ray whams you over the head with "Don't you ever try to leave, it'll be the last thing you ever do." Still, this song gets me emotional when I play it on my guitar. You should come over my house someday and I'll play it for you. It'll be great.
Lou Gramm,"Midnight Blue." Lou Gram is? Was? Is? Is Foreigner even still together? I don't know, but Lou was Foreigner's lead singer during their glory days -- which appear to be over. Good. Because "Waiting for a Girl Like You" is a horrible song. Foreigner had other songs that weren't bad, "Cold as Ice" notably, but just as "MMMBop"is the happiest song in the world, "Waiting for a Girl Like You" is the worst song in the world.
In the 80's, Lou released a solo record and even though it was on the list of albums we had to play when I worked at a record store, I can't remember fuck-all of the rest of the album. I like this song though. That guitar riff is super fun. I didn't and still don't get all the "cherry red" references but that's okay. I ain't got no regrets.
Blues Traveler, "Hook" and Hootie and the Blowfish, "Hold My Hand." I joke about Blues Traveler a lot. There's a lot to joke about with these guys. I don't joke so much about Hootie because it seems after "Hand" there wasn't really a song that sounded like really, anything, so I have don't have any joke fodder. Blues Traveler, though, they're funny. I have to lump Blues Traveler and Hootie together because they belong in the trio of bands that all go together for some reason. The member of the trio that I left out is Dave Matthews Band because I hate them.
I remember the first time I realized "Hook" was actually the Pachelbel Canon. I heard the melody clear as day while running. Afterwards, I went inside and Googled and sure enough, the song is basically the Canon. I was prrrr-eeety proud of myself for picking that up. "Hold My Hand" is not the Canon but I remember playing it in Record Revolution in DeKalb, Illinois after we closed. By myself. Because we Rev employees joked about the Hootie-buying loser frat boys and I was a slick-as-shit recordstorepunkrocksomethingorother so I had to play it on the down low.
Barry Manilow, "Mandy." Is Barry cool these days? Like Neil Diamond cool? I don't know. I like this song because it reminds me of my dead cat. That's about enough of that one.
Billy Ocean, "Loverboy." I love this song for no reason I can ascertain. Albeit, there's a key change at the end and I am a sucker for a key change. (Which is why I will sing Tommy Roe's "Dizzy" until I can't even see and momentarily lost every piece of my mind the first time I heard The Lyres' "She Pays The Rent.") But the key change isn't that exciting, really, and so it doesn't explain why I love "Loverboy." The guitar in the beginning is pretty catchy but I've heard better. The lyrics in the chorus are abysmal and in fact, back in the day, if any guy told me he wanted to be my "loverboy" I would have laughed in his face. Ask anyone. I don't like Billy Ocean either. I don't like "Caribbean Queen." And while "Get Outta My Dreams Get Into My Car" is funny because a bad very way to win your the girl of your dreams is to yell "Get into my car!" at her, I don't like that song either. I think these are probably the only three songs Billy Ocean ever sang in his life. It's lucky that I really like one of them!