Sunday, June 21, 2009

Video killed the radio star but it's a slow, slow death

I’ve come to realize lately that my musical landscape has become increasingly flat and barren. At some point I just gave up trying to be alternative. Little Miss DramaQueen has to have music on in the car, so I listen to a lot of radio, and boy is it ever dreary. And repetitious. I think there are perhaps 12 songs in rotation at the moment. But, amidst the merely banal are the songs that really annoy the crap out of me, songs that haunt the radio stations and my brain for months and years on end.

This is just my opinion, of couse. I don't even pretend to be objective or to have some actual knowledge of musical worth. But, in my universe, these are the current songs that have all the appeal of banging my head with a heavy rock:

1. Love Story by Taylor Swift. Romeo and Juliet? Are you kidding? Oh, and throw in a brief mention of the Scarlet Letter. Stupid lyrics, stupid sentiment, really annoying, sugar-sweet vocals (and more highly processed than Kraft singles). Squeak squeak squeak.

2. Poker Face by Lady GaGa. How long before this song dies a welcome and overdue death? When Just Dance came out I thought it was catchy and fun - something I would hear in gay clubs across the nation. Now I feel like I’ve been played.

3. Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer. Gawd, don’t even get me started. "Bubblegum tongue”? Is that supposed to be cute? whimsical? It sure isn’t sexy. I’ll take Nine Inch Nails' Closer any time over this oh-so-sensitive celebration of the feminine. That NIN video is the uncensored one, btw. I know Closer is old enough to be a classic by now and was pretty much played to death, but it may still be unfamiliar to some of you. Somehow I missed seeing this rather remarkable video (part of the MOMA permanent collection, no less). But a warning for anyone who doesn't know the song, if the eff word plus the phrase "like an animal" upsets you, please move along to the next exhibit. I'll wait for the rest of you to take a peek. What, back so soon? Yes, it is a bit disturbing; I never thought of animal carcasses in that context, either. Or eels.

4. Come on Get Higher by Matt Nathenson. Suffers from the same “I’m a sensitive guy” syndrome as Your Body is a Wonderland. Take, for example, the lyrics "faith and desire and the swing of your hips." Isn't that just sooooo sweet and non-agressive? Awww.

5. Birthday Sex by Jerimih. There is nothing so icky as slow hip-hop/R&B. It’s like being felt up by a stranger on the subway. You feel like you need to bathe. I could also include some songs by the completely weird Lil Wayne. Listening to him is like being slobbered over by a hiccupping lech.

6. 1234 by the Plain White Ts. Irritatingly catchy. Really catchy, and for that reason really irritating. Just so damn cute. I’ll listen to the original Beatles, thank you very much.

7. Give You Hell by All American Rejects. Frat boys of the world unite in an anthem to your idiotic delusions of self-importance. Believe me, that girl wakes up every morning grateful that she isn’t stuck with you. She’s moved on, sweetie. So should you.

8. My Life Would Suck Without You by Kelly Clarkson. When she starts belting out that chorus, I want to shred paper with my teeth.


But just to show you that I’m not a bitter old curmudgeon too stuck up to like popular music, I will admit rather sheepishly that my current favorite song is Halo by Beyonce. Love. This. Song. I know, I can't seem to give up my angel obsession. You'll just have to suffer through it or not look. I offer you links to two Halo videos, the official Beyonce one, and this amusing homoerotic version. At least it's amusing to me. Even if it is something of an insider's joke, you can still enjoy looking at the pretty boys - you don't have anything against pretty boys, I hope. HoYay!

Now, which link did you click?

I can tell if you're lying.


  1. I saw High School Musical 3 on a coach a few weeks back. I wanted to die.
    Now to make matters worse, some moron where I work thinks it's a cool idea to start putting together our own version of this sort of inane musical for our pathetic little langauge school.
    I will not be a party to such stupidity. So I'll get sacked maybe; which is probably better than quitting?
    Hey, you'll never guess what the word verification is today: THEOS, God. Wonderful.

  2. Ah, yes. HSM. I have little girls, so I've seen all of them. I have to admit I rather enjoyed the first two as frothy and energetic tween flicks. By # 3 I'd had more than enough, and it was clear they had run out of choreography, songs, and steam. It did not benefit from being on the big screen, either. My 9yr old is now tired of HSM. That gives you some indication of the real target age group for those movies. With some luck, she'll soon be tired of Hannah Montana.

    Try to convince your folks to do anything but HSM. It really does end up being rag taggle without the Disney high gloss finish. The choreography has to be vastly simplified, and then it just looks sad. And how likely is it you'll find decent singers? What a lot of work to coach them in singing and dance. And I have no idea what you have to pay for the rights to perform it. Why not just do a regular play?

  3. I saw Lady GaGa on Ellen Degeneres and was impressed that she is only 23 and speaks highly of her mother as a strong support system that got her through some tough times. BUT as an artist Lady Gaga reminds me a lot of Annie Lennox back in 70's.

    The others I have not heard, mostly because my son is 17, my daughter 21. Nonetheless I completely agree with your assessment of current popular music. I think there is really only ONE song and all the artists are singing it, with modest nuance.


  4. Ha, i wish it were that organised, Alice.
    But the idea is it's to be the school's own version, getting the students to write songs about the various stages of their stay in England, like The Welcome talk, London in the rain, the grammar song. No one has any sort of clue about staging any sort of performance, how to write a song, to play any instrument(hang on, one pianist!) and get this: none of the students have English as their first language. OH and judging by my one reluctant attendance at the disco, no-one can dance or knows how to teach dance.
    Its a futile piece of crap created by a certain vocal and unpleasant section of staff who think they are somehow cool.
    I want to die, now, please.

  5. Zen: Oh, hugs to you. You have one of those people who like to talk and then leave the mess for someone else to handle. Now, if it were the subject of a TV comedy, we could laugh at it.

    Mompriest: I don't know about Lady GaGa being like Annie Lenox. Annie seems somehow sharper. She comes across as very intelligent, very suave. Lady G, who may well be very intelligent, doesn't really display that. I actually think she is quite talented (but, oh, her fashion sense), but this one song will drive me nuts.And I'm not sure about the new one, which offers to ride your disco stick.

  6. Ha, Alice, you don't know the half of it. I have thought about writing a rather bitterly funny novel about it but I'm so stymied by the sheer pain of it all, I'm barely functioning.
    I'm considering my options but don't have many and just am hoping and praying that nothing gets off the ground..

  7. Zen: Oh dear. I'm sorry you're having a rough time of it. Let's just hope this insane idea sputters and dies. BTW, do you by any chance live in Preston? I have a maddening compulsion to link my stats to actual people. Also, I've actually been to Preston, and Kirkham too.

  8. No, Lowestoft, Britain's most easterly town for what it's worth. They did have a plan for a gigantic statue of a herring in (glass) to match the Angel of the North up where madpriest lives, but somehow it never happens and we just have a sewage outfall instead. Figures.
    They've started a Facebook group for this musical, now, so hopefully when it comes to any real work it's just gonna die. Fingers crossed!
    By the way, i wrote a funny short story about the seminar where this insane idea was announced. made me feel much better. Go read it when you have a minute or so!

  9. Oh Bad Alice! NIN Closer! I bow in reverence to another woman of the cloth who can appreciate songs that are not dripping in sugar and rhymy (rhymie?) lyrics.

  10. Hi Anonymous: I'm not actually of the cloth - I just work for people who are. So I'm impressed to hear from a woman clergy (clergy person? cleric?) who is of a similar mind. Sugary is definitely not my style (although I surprise myself now and then), and that goes double for songs about faith, too!

  11. I admit it: I clicked on the second link. Also, love NIN.