One thing they don’t tell you about websites is how easy it is to tick people off.
A couple of weeks ago, I tore up a glurge e-mail in this space. The guy who sent it to me is pissed that I didn’t appreciate the sentiment. That’s one.
My mom gets ticked just about every time I mention her here (so now she’ll have another one to hate); just about every time I talk to her these days, her conversation begins with “This is not for publication; I don’t want to read it on Monkey Spit.” Those of you hoping for gossip about my mom will have to wait a few more decades (people live a long time in my family). So that’s two people i’ve ticked off in this space.
My Monkey Spit partner is probably pissed that this is a day late. Oh well.
A bunch of people took exception to my choices for “Hell’s Jukebox.” Funny part is every one of them picked a different song. I suppose I should go over my criteria for choosing the songs I did. Here are the guidelines for songs that belong on Hell’s Jukebox:
Sappy sentiment. “Patches” is a good example of this. If this guy loved her so much that he was going to commit suicide over her, he wouldn’t have called her “Patches.” That’s what the snobs in town called her. So the song is contrived and phony. Another pick for the same reason was “I’ve Never Been to Me.” If she was really that bitter and regretful of her life, she wouldn’t sound so proud of herself in describing her exploits. The talking in the middle is what really pushed it over the edge, though. Any time the singer has to stop and expound on the emotion that the song is supposed to be expressing, you know the songwriter has failed.
Dead teenagers. Nuff said.
Overexposure. Songs that were semi-okay, except they were played so much that the response to them is Pavlovian. “You Light Up My Life”; anything by Tony Orlando; “One Tin Soldier” (it seemed that every kid my age was obsessed with Billy Jack but me, and that damn song got played every five minutes for about three months back in 1973); “Achy Breaky Heart”; the list is endless.
Songs that make you go “ew.” Sorry, but “You’re Having My Baby” is a slimy song. Especially at the end when he thanks her for not aborting. For some reason, it sounds to me like he really wishes she had, and now that he’s on the hook for the kid, he’s going to pretend to be happy about it. “Midnight at the Oasis” is also an icky song. Here’s a tip: if you’re going to try to write a sexy song set in the desert, leave the word “camel” out of it. “Muskrat Love.” Why did anyone think this was a good idea for a song? I assume the song was just an excuse to show off the nifty noises “The Captain” could make with his newfangled synthesizer. That’s the same reasoning behind every song Steve Miller ever recorded, so it might be on the money. “Afternoon Delight” goes in this category, along with a few others. “Playground in my Mind” is waaaay creepy; why does this guy fantasize about hanging around a playground with little children? And that chorus… if I got stuck on any playground where the children sang that “my name is Michael” song all day, there would be entrails dangling from the jungle gym before an hour was up. Does that kid have the most irritating voice ever recorded or what?
Songs I just flat don’t like. Especially those where the singer’s voice sounds like they’ve been gargling glass shards; “Brand New Key,” for example. “Push the Little Daisies” is in this category. My pal Relhok says Ween is fun music, but to me it sounds like putting a squirrel in a woodchipper. Sorry. (Great, another person pissed at me.)
Songs that eat your brain. About half the songs I picked are here because once you hear one of them, you spend the rest of the day with the damn thing running through your head. “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero” is one, though it also counts under the sappy sentiment, dead teenagers, and songs I just flat don’t like categories as well.
I actually had a list of over 70 songs that could have been used, but I had to cut it down due to space limitations. The only reason “Torn Between Two Lovers” isn’t there is because the mp3 file I had of it was corrupted. Same for “Horse With No Name,” a song that deserves its own category: “songs with really insipid lyrics.” The heat was hot? But then, any song America ever recorded (the band, not the country) would fit in that box as well. Alligator lizards in the air? Uh, yeah.
So anyway, I ticked off a bunch of people with my musical opinions. My archery coach is planning to shoot me for impugning the talent of “the incomparable Celine Dion.” There’s another one. But only one of them posted to the message board. I guess I’m just not pissing them off enough.
I’ll have to try harder.