Wednesday, April 24, 2013

guilty pleasures: music

I listen to lots of different kinds of music. Classic rock, indie rock, pop rock, pop, worship, classical, singer-songwriter, folk rock -- okay. Maybe i listen to lots of different kinds of rock. Also show tunes.

I like to think that i have pretty discerning taste. I don't like country, i don't like Justin Beiber or Ke$ha, i like lyrical jazz but elevator music does nothing for me, i don't like "boy bands", i grew up on Billy Joel and The Beach Boys and Styx, the first CD i bought with my own money was Avril Lavig -- um. I was thirteen, okay?

And there are some things i like that other people think are terrible, but that i think have redeeming qualities. Like, i really love Amy Grant, especially the super corny 80s love songs (Ev'ry heartbeat bears your name/Loud and clear they stake my claim, yeah/My red blood runs true blue/And every heartbeat belongs to you!). It's catchy, you can sing along without straining your vocal cords, the love is pure and happy rather than desperate and clingy or pathetic and stalkerish *coughcoughTaylorSwiftcoughcough*, and there's the nostalgic association of turning up the volume on the cassette player as loud as it would go while we cleaned the kitchen.

But there are some things i like that are unabashedly terrible. I won't even try to pretend that there are hidden redeeming qualities in these: they are bad, awful, terrible songs, and i love them for that.

1. Girls & Boys, Good Charlotte
Girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money
Boys will laugh at girls when they're not funny
And these girls like these boys like these boys like these girls
The girls with the bodies like boys with Ferraris
Girls don't like boys, girls like cars and money

Are there girls who are shallow and selfish and only want something material out of their relationship? Sure. Are there boys who are shallow and selfish and only want something material out of their relationship? Sure. Is there a lot of nonsense in the lyrics for the sake of rhyme and/or meter? Absolutely. But this song is just so FUN!

2. If We Were A Movie, Miley Cyrus
If we were a movie
You'd be the right guy
And I'd be the best friend
That you'd fall in love with
In the end, we'd be laughing
Watching the sunset
Fade to black, show the names
Play that happy song

Yeah, the chorus is really just a summary of All The Chick Flicks. And the verses aren't much better. The whole thing could have been summed up in a snarky, longing, 140-character tweet that would not necessitate hearing Miley's voice. I guess you'll never know/That I should win/An Oscar for this scene I'm in. It hurts so good.

3. Keep Your Hands To Yourself, The Georgia Satellites
I got a little change in my pocket, goin' ching-a-ling-a-ling
Wanna call you on the telephone baby, give you a ring
But each time we talk, I get the same old thing
Always "No huggy, no kissy, until I get a wedding ring."
My honey, my baby, don't put my love up on no shelf
She said, "Don't give me no lines, and keep your hands to yourself!"

Not nearly as classy or high-quality or enduring as Billy Joel's "Only the Good Die Young", this song nevertheless has the same message and is awfully catchy. And anyone who's ever been to any kind of abstinence rally/meeting/Sunday School lesson/conversation with your parents will find the lady's side of the conversation awfully familiar. That's when she told me some story 'bout free milk and a cow. Also, i think her repeated line (Don't give me no lines, and keep your hands to yourself!) is pretty kick-ass.

4. I Like Cows, Johnny Socko
I like cows
But not to eat them
I like cows
I like to greet them
Cows are fun
You shouldn't put them on a hamburger bun
Or on the grill of your car
Or on the grill in your back yard
I like cows.

The lyrics only get more absurd from there, and the vocal performance is overwhelmingly bad. It's almost to bad too even be entertaining. The pinnacle of the whole performance is toward the end of the song, when Johnny gets more and more amped up until he is screaming, over and over, "I! Like! Cows! I like them! I! Like! Cows! I like them!" I don't even like listening to this song to laugh at it. I mostly just like knowing that it exists and i could theoretically access it if i wanted to.

5. Sorry For Freaking Out On The Phone Last Night, The Mr. T. Experience

Guess what the first line of the song is. No, go ahead and guess. Did you guess that it was Sorry for freaking out on the phone last night? Yeah. It is. As with Johnny Socko, i just like knowing that this song (and band! The Mr. T. Experience!) exists.

6. The entire REO Speedwagon Christmas album, Not So Silent Night: The First Noel, Silent Night, Deck the Halls, Little Drummer Boy, The White Snows of Winter, Angels We Have Heard On High, Children Go Where I Send Thee, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Joy to the World. It's surreal and terrible and i play it every Christmas. In my office. I'm generous that way.

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