Sunday, November 27, 2016

Yes: These Uncool Songs, Also

Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry: ready or not, here they come.

Fun fact: I wrote about half of these entries after drinking two beers. I never write while drinking, but as I've been enjoying a very long writer's block, I thought I’d give it a try. It didn't work: the words plopped on the screen like petulant turds and went nowhere. My mind was unable to travel down its usual paths of weird non-sequiturs and I felt literally brain damaged.  Later, I wrote the rest of the entries sober and the two-beer entries were heavily edited.  Without beer, the words came much easier.  Writing while drinking = failed experiment. Screw you, Bukowski.

I am still a music snob.  Every single song on my IPod is super cool. Except these:

Bee Gees, "You Win Again."  This song received radio play for a couple of weeks and then was maybe never heard again. I think The Monkees’ “Heart and Soul” was released around this same time which thrilled all the Mickey Dolenz fans. It was kind of thrilling, that Monkees’ song, as the 45 was issued on pink vinyl. Also around this same time, The Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey” came out on grey vinyl. "Grey" wasn’t a new song at all as any Deadhead could tell you but I don’t suppose the Mickey Dolenz fans cared about that. 

Benny Mardones, “Into the Night.” This is not a bad song, musically and I like Mardones' passionate screaming at the end.  But no one can really feel good about a song that opens with “She’s just 16-years old, leave her alone, they say.” In fact, that lyric puts a major damper on those passionate screams. Songs penned by older men about teenage girls are creepy. Kiss has two, “Going Blind” and “Christine Sixteen.” The Undertones wrote about “teenage kicks” and The Knack got all kinds of creepy in “Good Girls Don’t." But those songs could be about teenagers being teenagers and not about old creeps like Mardones who was 33 when the song became popular.

Here's something you want to do: watch the video.  Tell me if the first 15 seconds don't creep you out. By 3:20, you'll be vomiting.  

It'a a good damn thing he can't fly. That alone probably kept him off the Sex Offender Registry.  

Britney Spears, “Baby One More Time.” You know what I hate about this song? That by the time you read this, 40 more precious hipsters will have covered this song in their precious, hipster way, bringing the grand total of precious hipster covers of “Baby One More Time” to way too many. 

Christina Perri, “Jar of Hearts.” It’s a nice little emotional song but the lyrics are pretty bad, notably:“You’re gonna catch a cold, from the ice inside your soul.” Folks, you don’t catch a cold from being cold, you catch them from viruses. Plus, why should Christina even care if the person catches a cold? The whole song is about not taking someone back after they messed you over. If I were Christina, I would have wrote "I hope you catch a cold, from a really bad virus, because you're a big asshole." 

EMF, “Unbelievable.” Every time I think about this song, I think about the piles of EMF CDs that wound up in the used CD bin in the record store I worked at in Illinois. There were also piles of the Soul Asylum CD that had “Runaway Train” on it and piles and piles of that 4-Non Blondes album.  That was before iTunes when you could buy “What’s Up” and only “What’s Up” for $1.29.

Human Drama, various songs. Human Drama is a goth-like band according to Wikipedia. I wouldn’t say they’re necessarily “uncool," but I’m a little embarrassed to admit I have a bunch of their songs on my iPod because they are a lot of drama. 

Human Drama writes songs about dying in a moment of splendor, having non-penetrable skin and metaphorically bleeding for someone you love. Songs about walking sadly around Times Square and tears that cannot be dried, ever.

That's pretty much as gothy as one can get.  Unless you want to eat a boatload of salt so you can bloat up like nobody's business while wearing crooked lipstick.  

Justin Roberts, “Willy Was a Whale.”  I heard this song on a lot on  Nick Jr when my son was young. “Willy” is about a whale who walks on the water and walks around in Reno, Nevada. Some lyrics are purposefully mispronounced such as “wuff” instead of “rough." and "Weno" instead of "Reno." Lyrics for kid songs are nearly always light-hearted and silly, even when teaching serious lessons.  They’re kids songs – nobody’s singing about tears that cannot be dried, everIt has a catchy melody and as catchy melodies are my thing, I downloaded it.

I don’t play this song every day or anything. 

Eric Carmen, “Make Me Lose Control.” Eric was cool when he was in The Raspberries, maybe, but then he had a song on the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack which sort of makes him a loser.  I never did understand the euphoria over that movie.  I never gave a shit about Baby and her sheltered life and her big moment of sexual awakening. Kate Chopin wrote a much better story of a woman with a sheltered life and a big sexual awakening, called, in fact, “The Awakening.” In Chopin’s version, the woman drowns herself in the ocean. Baby should have drowned herself in the ocean and taken the soundtrack with her. 

Tatu, “All the Things She Said."  This song is about a girl falling in love with a girl. Tatu consisted of two young Russian girls who were presented as lesbian -- maybe! The girls did things like hold hands and kiss on stage which was just great, as the girls were hott and wore sexy outfits and performed on Saturday Night Live. Thing is, these girls were straight.  Why are all the popular songs about girls falling in love with girls sung by straight girls like Tatu and Katy Perry? There’s a really good song about a lesbian falling in love with a guy, of all things, called “I Spent My Last Ten Dollars (on Birth Control and Beer)” by a real, honest to goodness lesbian group called 2 Nice Girls.  The woman in this song only falls in love with the guy for about 30 seconds due to a recent breakup, booze and a moment of bad judgement. Still, I like “All the Things She Said” because it’s catchy and Tatu performed in Poland a few times.

The Proclaimers, “Cap in Hand.” The Proclaimers released an album called “Sunshine on Leith” in 1988. Someone gave me a promo edition of the cassette and I remember only liking two songs on it: “Cap” and that other one. Some years later, that other one got leaked to the masses and they ruined in the way the masses have of ruining songs that are kind of good.  

Like “Mony Mony.” That song is so ruined.  Even when I was a stupid 21-year old and “Mony” played in the clubs and everyone started yelling you know what, I hated it. Today, I try to leave the room if “Mony” is ever played in public because I hate it. I just don't like to see drunk, grinning buffoons yell about “getting this” and “getting that."  The Proclaimer’s other song isn’t ruined the way “Mony” is ruined, but I’ve also watched drunk, grinning buffoons yell “DA DA DA DA!” too many times and I just don’t like it at all.   

Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry, "Don't Fight It." This song is another 80’s “hit” or more aptly, a "non-hit", that momentarily “graced” the airwaves. Here’s something many folks don’t know: quotation marks are actually not to be used for emphasis or to denote sarcasm but only for actual direct quotes and titles. As such, in order to write my first sentence correctly I would need to write exactly what I mean and not rely on incorrectly used quotation marks. Something like, "Don't Fight It" is another 80’s song that never really became popular, wasn’t very good, and only received radio play for a short time.

But Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry didn’t seem to much care for writing or singing exactly what they meant: 

Live long enough, you're bound to find
Moonshine'll make a man go blind
Never can tell what the brew will do
But there's times to wind up feelin' so fine

Some women seem to have a knack
They'll turn you on and leave you flat
Never can tell who's playin' for keeps
So tell me what's holding you back
I know your heart can take it

What do those two paragraphs have to do with each other? The song begins with moonshine – which, does anyone, especially one pretty famous artist and one quasi-famous artist – drink moonshine? Apparently it can make you go blind but the buzz is worth it. Then it's on to women who tease, I guess, and experiencing uncertainty about their intentions.  Sounds like a warning to avoid these women but instead, Loggins and Perry tell you to not hold back because hearts are strong. 

Loggins doesn't annunciate that last line very well, either. Until I Googled the lyrics this morning, I always thought “I know your heart can take it” was “I know you’re hot potato.”  

Here's something you probably don't know about Loggins: Eddie Money hates him. My second Google search turned up these quotes from Money: "I don't really like the guy … I'm not a big Kenny Loggins fan and I never have been because you know what? We were label mates on Columbia Records and the guy never even gave me credit for doing the middle part of ['I’m Alright']. That's what I call a scumbag."

I did a third Google search on the song and read that Loggins described the song as “An experiment in pushing my limits to include rock.” That makes me feel kind of bad about ripping apart his lyrics. Poor Kenny, he tried. I shouldn’t feel bad though because (fourth Google search) in 1983, the song was actually nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.” It didn’t win – “Eye of the Tiger” did.

I hate “Eye of the Tiger.” It’s not on my iPod.

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