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Thursday, 03 June
Failing, It Takes Me Away

So briefly this evening the wife and I tuned into another VH1 abortion, called something like "The Awesomest [oy] Bad Rock Songs Ever." This was a typical lo-fi VH1 hairball where who-dat? comedians slagged on bad rock songs, mostly from the last 20 years, because apparently popular culture has adopted the lifespan of a mayfly: Birth, purchase questionable pants, sweat-fuck Tawny Kitaen, find self beneath dirt. The list was lifted from the all-blogged Blender magazine list, which I never bothered to read in full, so this is probably not news to anyone; I certainly never paid it any attention because lists like these are always arbitrary and impossibly dumb. The point--if any--seemed to be, "Let's pick entirely horrid songs and make fun of them." This is not exactly heavy lifting, especially when such broad targets as Limp Bizkit or Wang Chung enter into things. I should know. I've made fun of them before, and it is easy, thank God--I'm very lazy. But that's not the point. Did the list have to be so fucking obvious and mirthless and weak?

Their number one pick was Starship's "We Built This City." But everyone knew that was a terrible song, even when it came out, just like everyone knows that this Pink person is a horrible hack, or that J.Lo is only tolerated because of her startling ass. It's not very nuanced is what I'm saying. "We Built This City"? Come on. Where are the acts I've mocked before? Where is Toto? "Rosanna"? "Africa"? How about Neil Diamond (arguably not rock, I guess, but if we're talking not-rock, it's hard to get snitty when you're including Starship)? "America" is a deeply embarrassing song, if only for Diamond's frankly incredibly bombastic, leather-lunged delivery; and then there's "Heartlight," which sounds a lot like he's undergoing thoracic surgery. "Turn on your HEART LIGHT!" he screams, and I always expect him to continue, "Please remove THE BLOCKAGE!"

I don't really blame VH1 or this Blender rag for blowing off horrid music that is under their audience radar, as it would just cost them money. But I do get sad that some of our respected "alternative" or "indie" or "covered in piss" artists don't get recognized for their horrifying failures. No love for Tones On Tail's skeevy "Slender Fungus"? Come on! That's an abysmal song! "Slender fungus kiss the fish inside a stolen jeep." These lyrics are perhaps the reason that Bela Lugosi is dead.

Okay, forget it, fuck the nobodies. How about the legends? Are they represented? I doubt it. (I couldn't muster up the gumption to actually look at the whole list, so I don't know.) I'm willing to bet that the Rolling Stones weren't on there for things like "Turd on the Run," which sounds like it was recorded under an upturned iron bathtub, and oh, is also called "Turd on the Run." Or how about the sonic masterpiece of "She's A Rainbow," which is like a sonic itchy suit.

Led Zeppelin is forever responsible for "Immigrant Song," which sounds a lot like someone forced to recite Tolkein while being assaulted with a belt sander. "AAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!" Indeed! Tell me about the land of ice and snow. But at least Zep had a reputation for incredibly stupid songs, so it didn't really make any noticable dent.

The Doors? Eternally committed to vinyl is "The End," possibly the most hilarious example of unfortunate undergraduate prose ever committed to posterity. "I WANT TO KILL YOU!" Hey, that's interesting! I want to laugh at you! I like to imagine listening to this song with Sylvia Plath, and I imagine her going, "Jeez, what a tool. I want to live!" Then I play her the song again. "Scratch that, I'll die."

How about the infallible Beatles? No. You can blame a lot of horrible shit on Paul, such as, say, "She's Leaving Home," which would give anyone cavities, but John frequently fares no better. You can't tell me that "Revolution 9" is a real song any more than you can tell me that flip-flops are actually dress shoes. I'm pretty stupid, but come on. This is also the same band that countenanced "Piggies," a trenchant little ditty that managed to notice that some politicians are corrupt.

Even my favorite band of all time, The Who, recorded howlingly terrible songs. "Baba O'Reilly" is probably my favorite song of all time, but Jesus God: they were also responsible for puke-tastic "Cousin Kevin" or the unbelievably wretched "Christmas" (both off of Tommy), songs so worthless that even the band recognized were hair-raisingly horrible, and quietly didn't perform for years.

The whole thing is just silly (not that I mind silly). Part of the fun of these things is to shriek with disbelief at the noninclusions (and I again state that I didn't bother to read the whole thing). Where is John Parr? Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" was worse than the utterly reprehensible "To Kill A Hooker" by NWA? Deep Blue Something's utterly somnabulistic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was somehow more forgettable than Dada's no-cal song "Dizz Knee Land"? And how do you even try to compare thinglets like Chuck Berry's intolerable "My Ding-A-Ling" versus Kip Winger allegedly singing about "Madelaine"? You can't!

You can't do anything.

The best that you can do? The best that you can do? Is fall in love.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

The best that you can do? The best that you can do? Is fall in love.

=The icepick! It does NOTHING!=

Comment number: 004778   Posted by: senn on June 3, 2004 08:13 AM from IP: 137.53.85.134

You had me right up until you said The Who was your favorite band.

Comment number: 004779   Posted by: mike on June 3, 2004 08:18 AM from IP: 64.27.149.146

No doubt VH1 is guilty of pumping trash into our homes on a regular basis, but I do love the "I Love the 80's" shows... Did we really wear parachute pants? Not this boy!

Comment number: 004780   Posted by: Jager on June 3, 2004 11:38 AM from IP: 24.27.81.209

Tom Waits had a certifiably terrible song with "On the Nickel": the low point of the low point of his career. Schmaltzy, syrupy, and goes on forever.

And for my money the Beatles' worst song is "Martha My Dear". It only gets worse when you find out that it's about Paul's fucking dog.

Comment number: 004781   Posted by: rhorsman on June 3, 2004 01:42 PM from IP: 198.179.227.50

Hello, Hello, is it me you're looking for, "cause I see it in your eyes..........


I can't...the pain...must not quote.....

Comment number: 004782   Posted by: Lauren on June 3, 2004 06:32 PM from IP: 206.172.157.169

Wha? Immigrant Song rocks! (Actually I never knew the name of it--I always called it "that AaaahAhhhh Song."

Comment number: 004783   Posted by: Miel on June 3, 2004 11:02 PM from IP: 151.203.59.244

In Europe (when you can watch German TV) we get the total ouvre of David Soul and David Hasselhoff. Please pitty us!!!

Comment number: 004784   Posted by: Anna on June 4, 2004 03:28 AM from IP: 212.136.78.25

I shall not hear Jefferson Starship bad-mouthed! We built this city on rock and roll, and thats that. I'm on a mission to get it to no. 1 here in Ireland... at least its more of a laugh than bloody Britney and Westlife.. *shudder*.

MARCONI PLAYS THE MAMBA!!! (wtf?)

Comment number: 004785   Posted by: Adam on June 4, 2004 06:43 AM from IP: 213.202.131.218

You had me right up until you said The Who was your favorite band.

Yeah, because they were terrible.

Wha? Immigrant Song rocks!

Hey, I like the song myself, but that doesn't mean it isn't hilarious.

Comment number: 004786   Posted by: Skot on June 4, 2004 07:35 AM from IP: 66.150.9.2

Eh, I have soft spot for the live version of My Dingaling. There is something sniggeringly amusing about a stadium full of people, the women screaming, "My..." the men robustly answering, "Dingaling!" "I want you to play with my..." "Dingaling!" I mean, aren't thinly veild refernces to mastrubation what music's all about, from Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom" on down to Cindy Lauper's "She-Bop"?

And I was campaing shoutin' like a Southern diplomat....

Comment number: 004787   Posted by: Diablevert on June 4, 2004 09:11 AM from IP: 208.222.71.77

Ok...I know this won't be popular and I fully expect Skot's wrath, but...

Toto was actually a pretty good band for their time. How do you hate Africa? or Rosanna? Both good songs. I mean, think in terms of The theme to Chariots of Fire, Chuck mangioni, Asia, Chicago, and the aforementioned Lionel Richie; For the choices, Toto was actually a couple steps out of the sappy mainstream and they had some talent.

Commence the flames!

Comment number: 004788   Posted by: Jason on June 4, 2004 09:44 AM from IP: 206.16.5.38

Jason, how do you hate "Africa"? Real damn easily, if you grasp the basics of grammar:

"Gonna take some time to do the things we never had."


Say wha'?

Comment number: 004789   Posted by: Dr Paisley on June 4, 2004 07:42 PM from IP: 65.30.12.11

What, nothing from the Barry Manilow oeuvre? Not even "Mandy"? Or "I write the songs" that make the whoooole world *yawn*.

You must have a high pain threshold.

Comment number: 004790   Posted by: Anne on June 4, 2004 10:07 PM from IP: 4.60.158.225

I doubt anyone's still around, but I have previously slagged on Toto's "Africa":

http://www.izzlepfaff.com/blog/archives/000077.php

Sadly, I really do like that song. No flame, Jason, but really, Toto were nothing more than a group of moderately talented session musicians. But what do I know? I like bubblegum acts like The Who.

Comment number: 004791   Posted by: Skot on June 4, 2004 11:34 PM from IP: 216.162.193.110

The only question is how they narrow the list down. What about "Talk Talk," by Talk Talk, off their self-titled debut album? Men Without Hats? Bananarama? The Bangles? My cup runneth over.

And then there's the other end of the spectrum--as I'm typing, "I've Been Loving You Too Long to Stop Now" by Otis Redding just came on RadioParadise.

Comment number: 004792   Posted by: MattW on June 5, 2004 04:48 PM from IP: 198.107.53.26

Just because, it should be noted that "Anarchy in the UK" can be sung to the tune of "I Write the Songs."

And "Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida" to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." That one always enlivens the seventh inning stretch.

Comment number: 004793   Posted by: Dr Paisley on June 6, 2004 10:52 AM from IP: 65.30.12.11

Everybody wang chung tonight!

Comment number: 004794   Posted by: stavrosthewonderchicken on June 8, 2004 02:41 AM from IP: 169.140.198.38

By which I mean to say that I vaguely recall after the passage of the decades some fumbling, drunken frosh attempts at brassiere removal soundtracked by the mighty Chung (or is it the mighty Wang? I get confused), and so forever have a wet spot in my heart for them.

Someone else's brassiere, I mean. Stop looking at me like that.

Comment number: 004795   Posted by: stavrosthewonderchicken on June 8, 2004 02:48 AM from IP: 169.140.198.38

But what do I know? I like bubblegum acts like The Who

Geez, hit a nerve? In between MY FAVORITE BAND EVER and SUCKS LIKE TICKS is a vast expanse of mediocrity. The Who are firmly below average, but still of passing grade.

If they are "the most" anything, it's the most overrated band. 2 great songs, a few decent ones and a load of crap.

But what do I know, my favorite band is The Police.

Comment number: 004796   Posted by: Mike on June 8, 2004 08:50 AM from IP: 64.27.149.146

Hey! I *still* listen to Talk Talk by Talk Talk.

And I will forever believe that "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves made me die a little death deep down in my soul. I hate it so bad it makes me grit my teeth just thinking about it.
"And DON'T! it feel GOOD! HEY! All rightnow!"

And my first concert ever was Chuck Berry at the Indiana State fair, maybe 1975? I was 5. I helped sing "My Ding-a-ling!" It was probably the most fun I had that year (remember: Indiana. simple.). I had no idea what it really meant, of course.

The eighties are just too easy to bash.

Comment number: 004797   Posted by: dayment on June 8, 2004 01:47 PM from IP: 64.105.86.146

the french word for orgasm translates as little death.

Comment number: 004798   Posted by: frobly on June 8, 2004 03:30 PM from IP: 66.114.231.2

"Gonna take some time to do the things we never had."

This is a reference to purchasing and engaging in intercourse with RealDolls, of course.

Before its time.

Comment number: 004799   Posted by: stavrosthewonderchicken on June 9, 2004 01:44 AM from IP: 169.140.198.38

the french word for orgasm translates as little death.

Okay, then it's not that.

And I can't believe I forgot "All Cried Out" by Lisa Lisa (with Cult Jam? Without? Does it matter?)

Comment number: 004800   Posted by: dayment on June 9, 2004 09:47 AM from IP: 64.105.86.146

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