(Sure thing, Jimi.)
(Do you mind if I watch?)
I was thinking on my way home today (it happens) about some of my go-to songs and happy dance music and general euphonious preferences, when it occurred to me that sometimes…
Well, sometimes music is weird.
I mean, first of all, there are bizarre lyrics.
- She’s got a chicken to ride (Beatles)
- Wrapped up like a douche (Manfred Mann)
- I’ll never leave your pizza burnin’ (Rolling Stones)
…to name a few.
Or how about:
Hold me closer Tony Danza
Count the head lice on the high wig
I’m not talkin’ ’bout the linen
And I don’t wanna change your lies
Yeah, yeah, I know… To quote Gina Davis in the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight: “Movin’ in. This song is not about linen.”
Still and all…
Music be weird, yo.
And that’s just the things you *think* you hear.
What about the stuff that’s ACTUALLY there?
I mean, in addition to turning a Springsteen song into an anthem about feminine hygiene products, Manfred Mann also has the distinct honor of creating that oh-so-profound earworm of a tune, Doo-wa-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doo.
Or how about the mentally stimulating lyrical offering of A-do-run-run-run, A-do-run-run? Which, for me, was immortalized by Harold Ramis’ genius use of the tune in the movie Stripes:
(You kinda have to watch both shorts to ‘get’ it, if you’ve never seen it before.)
Granted, sometimes there are fascinating educational lyrical offerings to be found along with catchy rhythms and distinctive bass lines and such.
Songs about wildlife, for example.
If you go chasing rabbits…
Or music celebrating ancient cultures.
Foreign types with their hookah pipes say, “Way-oh, way-oh, oh way-oh, way-oh…”
Or tunes that examine scientific opposites. (Complete with biblical references, even.)
I’m so hot for her but she’s so cold… (and something about a burning bush…)
Not so much.
Oh, the tune is catchy. It sticks in your head all day and you sing along mindlessly when you hear it on the radio, and then one day it dawns on you…
This is fucked up.
Case in point:
Romeo and Juliet
Are together in eternity… Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women everyday… Like Romeo and Juliet
40, 000 men and women everyday… Redefine happiness
Another 40, 000 coming everyday… We can be like they are
Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper
Baby take my hand… don’t fear the reaper
We’ll be able to fly… don’t fear the reaper
Baby I’m your man…
That’s just a short sampling of this song’s lyrics, but that’s enough I’d say.
The whole song is about embracing death. Specifically in the form of suicide. And that’s equated to LOVE?
What. The. FUCK.
It’s an AWESOME song though, isn’t it?!? One of the most recognizable rhythm guitar riffs of the 1970s for sure. Fantastic song structure. A bridge that’s totally unexpected, every.time.you hear it. Where song craft is concerned, I dig it. Hard.
:: shudder ::
This one is better. If you need to de-freak from the previous offering, take a listen. BOC redeem themselves lyrically here. (The hair is still pretty bad though.)
But let’s forget about redeeming ourselves for a moment.
I mean, let’s be honest. There are songs we love, that… Well…
Sometimes there’s just no excuse.
And I know I’m not alone in this, so don’t even pretend you don’t shout-sing embarrassing tunes in the shower. Sometimes they’re silly ditties from childhood (Macho Duck, anyone?) or maybe just really badly constructed songs. Other times…
Well, here’s one of my personal “I Have No Excuse” favorites:
And then of course there are songs that somehow seem to hit all the categories. Songs that are catchy, that have a message, that are a little WTF, that are structurally genius, that have unique instrumental identities, and yet… They leave you scratching your head and asking yourself, “What is it that makes this song so great? Why do I like this?!?” (Come to think of it, you probably feel that way about a blog or two too, don’t you?)
Songs like this.
Your turn! I’ve shown you mine. Let’s see yours.
What music makes you ponder/laugh/say WTF?
Which songs do you love?