Saturday, April 18, 2009

Crappin' On Songs of the 80's

Hey (Dan here). Sometimes I walk into some public establishment and they've got some pop songs from the 80's playing overhead, and it gets a reaction out of me one way or the other. Let's see if you agree or it's just me. Here's two songs from the 80's that both hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in the day:

First of all, "Human" by the Human League. I would like to nominate this song as possibly the #1 worst song of all time. Everything about it aggravates me, disagress with my system, and begs to be destroyed somehow. I think I was in a store last week forced to listen to it, and it's been bothering me ever since. The tempo is way too slow. The sound is way too soft, frail, and lacking passion. The mix has all the music practically inaudible, so all you can hear are the damned voices. The singing sucks. Blech. But worst of all is the message of the song -- A guy meekly begging forgiveness for cheating on a chick:

I'm only human
Of flesh and blood I'm made
Born to make mistakes
I am just a man

You know what? I say screw that crap. The narrator never even comes out and directly says "I did it with someone else", it's all this re-directed referential crap. I recommend the following. (a) If you did something wrong, come out and say it directly, don't equivocate like a freaking loser. (b) Take responsibility for your decisions, don't act like being "just a man" is some unrelated mental disease controlling your actions. (c) Likewise take responsibility for what you like, and if you find pleasure in multiple partners, come out and say that, and don't act like it's some frickin' accident when it happens. That's bullshit.

To my esteemed colleagues in the Human League, I offer a countering theory of humanity, by quoting the author Neal Stephenson (from Cryptonomicon): "Like every other creature on the face of the earth, Godfrey was, by birthright, a stupendous badass, albeit in the somewhat technical sense that he could trace his ancestry back up a long line of slightly less highly evolved stupendous badasses to that first self-replicating gizmo — which, given the number and variety of its descendants, might justifiably be described as the most stupendous badass of all time. Everyone and everything that wasn't a stupendous badass was dead. "

Secondly, let me rant a bit on "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes. This one isn't totally evil, even if it's not the kind of music I would search out. I was in a resaurant with my girlfriend a little while back, and realized that this one does get stuck in my head whenever it's played (it's also been covered by a whole lot of artists of different stripes), but at the same time there's something about it that aggravates me. I think I finally found what it is. Let's say that the song is generally well-written, but then there's one part of the lyrics that go like this:

And she'll tease you
She'll unease you
All the better just to please you
She's precocious and she knows just what it takes to make a pro blush

Ummm... "What it takes to make a pro blush?" Ewww, that's, like, completely cringe-worthy (once I became aware of the lyrics in that section). Every time I hear that song and that section comes by, I honestly flinch a little bit. Someone was locked into a rhyme for "precocious" and "knows just", and, frankly, didn't spend enough time thinking about their options at the end there.

Personally, I would recommend changing that line to "What it takes to look ferocious", which is the best thing I could come up with in a bit a half hour after listening to that song last time. This is one of these things where I wish I had a time-fax to send back to Weiss and DeShannon (the writers) when they were writing it 35 years ago, so I don't have to listen to the glitch in that song for the rest of my life.

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