An alternative title for this triumphalist rant could be “When Critics Bite Back…”, but the dangers of sounding like a Sky One documentary cross bred with a doughnut addled Rolling Stone sub-editor are for now, enough to keep me satisfied with my primary path of destruction. Sure it’s a pre-occupation as old as Larry Gogan, Dickie Rock, and B.P. Fallon combined. Tearing meaty (or muttony) chunks out of these puppy love, emotional angst, and ‘light-hearted’ cringefests kind of gives us a sense of self-distinction, as if by having to endure Bobby McFerrin, the orgasmic liberation of just a sweet moment with Lucinda Williams seems as if Jesus, Buddha, and the Great Spirit have all queued up to condemn the Bill Cosby clone to the bleakest depths of hell while Williams takes us on an open top Chevy ride through a Highway 61 sunset. If music is as Mick Jagger suggests, “worth overdoing”, then a similar critical indulgence is a never contrite one, it is more often than not, a duty. Wherever Orson or Natasha Bedingfield lurk, the Caped Crusader of Laura Nyro must strike, seeing that justice is done under the creepy metropolitan skies.
Elvis Presley – Moonlight Swim
Way Down or Rubberneckin’ should really be getting the butcher’s cleaver straight through their flimsy excuses for hearts, yet there is something useful about songs like these. For all the days of wine and roses, there is the sour milk of November keeping the classics on their toes. Proving that all untouchables have dark nights of the soul, one can also read for The Kinks Trust Your Heart, while Hot Dog must intrinsically haunt Jimmy Page’s bleary-eyed memories of Sweden circa 1978. With Moonlight Swim John Lennon’s swift dismissal of Presley’s conservative duties is right on the money. There is no ironic purpose to this bubble gum popper from the pen of Sylvia Dee and Ben Weisman. The prissy narrative sees the Tupelo boy a little hot under the collar and taking to the joys of a tranquil ocean. Sadly this kitsch with a capital ‘K’ effort from one of his movie soundtracks (that revelation was hardly out of left-field…) didn’t get munched up by sharks on the graveyard shift. Perhaps taste isn’t just confined to the ears after all.
4 Non Blondes – What’s Up
Admit it. It’s perfectly natural to grease up the chainsaws for quite possibly the nadir of the pre-packaged hypochondriac butt end of Grunge. Those high up on the sociological ladder will argue over the stability of the term ‘universal’. Linda Whateverhernameisandwhocaresanyway, during a twisted eureka moment, made our radios bleed while at the same time provided an epistemological definition of what these boffins had debated for years. With her crusty strung out rant, people universally speaking could finally agree just how pathetic, banal, bitter, and utterly drained of soul this sorry effort of a ‘song’ really was. “And I say yeah, yeah, yeah” Whatever.
Richie Kavanagh – Aon Focal Eile
Kiss tickled our fancies in the 1980s with Let’s Put the X In Sex. Back in dear old Oireland it took us a full decade and an agrarian type from Carlow to ascend to such cunning linguistics. Unfortunately, putting the ‘P’ in poxbottle, was as far down the alphabet as Richard could go before the cows had to be milked. Don’t worry, the goats and sheep can keep you busy… And I mean that in an agricultural manner Richie, so keep your double entendre to yourself in future.
Andreas Johnson – Glorious
One for the trade descriptions act me does think. It’s easy to imagine Johnson namedropping Bono, Creed, Bush et al, as his most powerful muses while anyone who gets stuck beside him on the bus trip home is forced to listen in M.O.R. coated horror. The ‘5 Hits In a Row’ section on (insert crappy radio station of your choice here) has never been so busy since. The Script meanwhile, are kind enough to make sure Johnson’s legacy is preserved. Thanks a bunch boys…
ABBA – Thank You for the Music
Thank you for the influx of Moccasin wearing exchange students with designs on mastering their first chord sequence via a curfew breaking pint of Guinness more like. Wow! Let the crazy summer night parties roll! ABBA are Sweden’s biggest export alongside the Volvo and nearly as exciting too. “I’m nothing special/in fact/I’m a bit of a bore.” Don’t forget devoid of charisma dork as well.
Alan Jackson – Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone sent this beefy buffoon up well and good but they forgot to ask Al to return the compliment. Where were you when the world started turning Alan? “Somewhere between Plymouth Rock and the shooting range with Dick Cheney and Ted Nugent” came the reply.
Aslan – Crazy World
Building site philosophy at its most profound. There must have been something in the water back in the early 1990s.
Enrique Iglesias – Hero
Did he really say “Save my asshole tonight”…? No? Awww, not even worthy of a good sneer now.
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
Nor did the Hetfield/Ulrich axis of evil after the ultimate overdose of metal mogadon came along in 1991 and had the purists up in arms. Thoughtful intro, leave the devil at the door before entering lyrics, a tempo so staid even Lars will be able to keep in touch, all components of the group’s instant coffee themed entry into the mainstream. “Metallica have sold out!” they shrieked. Selling out wasn’t the problem, giving twatish pony-tailed buskers and sensitive toe dippers ammo for their conversion to the “dark side” constitutes the far greater evil here. The song was possibly the far more genial Dave Mustaine’s subconscious revenge on the band, they’ve certainly struggled to regain their integrity ever since.
Oasis – Stand By Me
Hold Me Up I Think I’m Losing the Will to Give a Flying Fuck Anymore was a working title for this one… Honestly…
Coldplay – The Scientist
The ‘thoughtful’ minor chords of Cwiss Martin’s key tinkling combined with Will Champion’s ‘heartbeat’ drumming make Metallica’s darkest hour seem as joyous as Phil Spector and Berry Gordy’s most beautiful celestial alchemy in comparison. Oh for the love of God, Cwiss, just go and grow and a pair will you?
Shania Twain – Man, I Feel Like a Woman
I bet Emily Davison is glad she jumped in front of that horse after all. Even the Spice Girls had more feminist gumshion than this candy coated charlatan, the fact that her music reeks from the colon of Hades doesn’t really make Mutt Lange’s blow-up doll all that endearing either.
Joshua Kadison – Jessie
Kadison, forgetting that 1986 had in fact ceased to be around 7 years previously, set out to craft such a thoughtful and meaningful mid-tempo ballad that even Joe Strummer’s heir Ronan Keating went on to cite it as a year zero moment in his Rock N’ Roll revolution. Hang on, I’m getting a little confused, well, like I said, there was certainly something odd in the water back in the early 90s. If you haven’t heard alarm bells on merely encountering a song title like Jessie then you perhaps deserve to be as emotionally unstable as me, as well as having Mr. Kadison plonked alongside David Gray and Wobbly Williams in your music collection.