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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Terrible Music - Part 2

Here is the second in an occasional series where I fill in for Beelzebub's private DJ and give you an early look at some of the songs you'll be hearing in hell after the rapture. They may say that the devil has all the best tunes, but he's keeping them for himself. You sinning bastards will instead be throwing agonized shapes to the following:

Blue - Too Close

As is the fashion of the time, Blue, as you may or may not know, have reformed, like so many cans of reformed mechanically retrieved ham. Boybands from days of yore keep doing this, to varying degrees of success, creating a phenomenon that the media in its infinite cleverness has dubbed "the manband". Take That achieved critical acclaim with their comeback, filling stadiums with not only women in their thirties with cats as originally expected, but other (read "less depressing") people too. Blue may be hoping to emulate this, or they may just be trying to pay off the massive debts of interest they owe to, we can't know, but what we do know is this - they are making their comeback by representing Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest. Oh fuck.

Who the hell is these guys' agent? Fucking hell. The Eurovision Song Contest is the absolute worst thing you can do. People in the UK only watch it ironically and to listen to Terry Wogan rip the warm living piss out of everything that is happening, so nobody is going to be actually supporting poor old Blue, but also, it is impossible for a British act to ever win. We could put together the greatest song of all time, a song that you could play in a competition with the devil (what is it with me and the devil today?) and keep your soul like what Jack Black did, and then we could raise Freddie Mercury and John Lennon from the dead and have them perform it, backed by, I don't know, Radiohead, and we'd still get nil points from everyone except Ireland. Some people say this is because all the other countries vote for their neighbours, so no matter what the song is like all those wacky sounding places like Herzegovina and Macedonia will give top points to each other, Scandinavian countries will do the same, and everyone hates us because of Iraq or whatever so we can shove our song up our collective jacksy. That's one view. Personally I think it's more that people in mainland Europe have a very different concept of "music" than the rest of the modern world. It would certainly explain a lot. DJ Sammy and his ridiculous hair for one thing. It looks like he glued a turd to the back of his neck. But he can sure get them dancing with his time honoured formula of taking one line from an 80's power ballad and playing it over and over again over a banging track. Europe is full of an epic amount of wrongness. Blue will come home with nada, nobody will want to download the song, and Blue's comeback will amount to one of those "FAIL" images with just Duncan James' sad little face on it.

Anyway, back to the song. This song by Blue is gross, because of the lyrics. It is a song about dancing with a girl in a club and getting an embarrassing erection, which she notices, and Blue are trying to explain themselves. They're all like, "Baby, when we're grinding, I get so excited, oh how I like it - I try but I can't fight it"... It really makes me cringe. This is an embarrassing thing that happens to people (not to me), and listening to them sing about it forces you to relive, er, I mean, live the embarrassment. Christ, what were the other songs on this album like? "Ooooh baby, I thought it was just gas. But now it's kinda wet down there. Down there in my pants. Oooooh baby. Sorry about the smell. It smells like ass. I like the way you shake your ass. But I can't shake it wit you tonight. Because as we've established I've just shat myself.". Or perhaps just "BAM! You know I usually last longer than that."...

Whether or not the manband incarnation of Blue will perform this one I don't know. Maybe they are so old now that they don't even get erections, so they can't find the place inside themselves emotionally where they can connect with the lyrics and give the performance a work like this deserves.

Time to stop thinking about Blue and the problems they may or may not be having with their ageing cocks now, and to segue neatly into the next song: Blue collaborated with which artist on the song "Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word"? That's right - it's national treasure bashing time.

Elton John - Candle in the Wind '97

Firstly, before I get stuck in to the meaty chunks of this track, have you seen what he's done now? He's made a movie where he retells the classic Shakespearean tragedy of Romeo and Juliet using the medium of 3D cartoon garden gnomes. Don't ever change, Elton, you crazy bastard. It does look shit though, as though all the actors doing the gnomes' voices are people who have at some point found themselves in a recording studio saying "Every little helps" in a voice so cheerful it fills any nearby boxes of Prozac with a sense of overwhelming inadequacy, but kudos for the randomness of the concept.

I like the fact that there's Elton John in the world. I like that he used to waste all his money on total crap and that he can take the piss out of himself about it by appearing in that old Royal Mail advert where he'd ordered a load of shit and exclaimed "MAIL!" when it arrived. For a little while, well, maybe an hour, it was fun for everyone to do that when they got an email. He brought us that hour. I also like some of his songs. I like to try and imagine how the "Crocodile Rock" would actually have gone. I like to think it involved doing big crocodile jaws with your arms while skipping around like Snoopy. That would be one badass dance you could do all summer long. Elton John, in conjunction with Disney, also brought the world the pure joy that is holding a cat above your head and singing "The Circle of Life".

What I didn't like was the whole Diana dog and pony show. Bloody hell, those were dark times. I was 13 years old. It was Sunday. I got out of bed, went into the kitchen, put the radio on, and heard something that made me very depressed. Due to the fact that Diana had bought the farm, they were only going to play songs with no lyrics. This was, I guess, so that they could ensure that whoever had lined up the songs for the radio show hadn't put in, say, "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman, or "Crash, Boom, Bang" by Roxette, or "Airbag" by Radiohead, or - well, you get the picture. But because it was a local radio station they weren't exactly well stocked with classical music so basically they had to just play "Albatross" by Fleetwood Mac over and over again.

The TV was the same. It was wall to wall grieving plebs when it wasn't footage of Diana doing the good stuff that she did (but not footage of Diana riding James Hewitt around like a pony, because that would have been distasteful, although unless I've dreamt that it did happen), apart from Channel 5 who unaccountably had a documentary about Peter Andre on, which is what I watched. Can you fucking imagine having to watch that?

I am not saying I was glad she died, or that I didn't think people who admired her had the right to be sad about it, but it was really fucked up. I had never met her, didn't especially like her as a "celebrity", and so it was just a case of, well, it's sad somebody has died young in a nasty accident and left their kids without a mother, but that happens to tonnes of other people I've never met every day and in the grand scheme of things, meh, whatever. The reaction was just so fucking extreme it made you feel like you lived in a nation of dribbling imbeciles. As I recall it, significantly less fuss was actually made about 9/11, which was so many times worse than a spoilt woman dying in a car crash that there isn't a number in all of mathematical theory that is large enough to quantify it. If there was it would be a madcap Dr Seuss sounding number like fourteenty kasquillion.

Elton John did know and like Diana, so it was fitting that he got to play at her funeral, but this rewrite of his original song about Marilyn Monroe was so clichéd and dreadful that I'm surprised she didn't come back and haunt him to get him back for it. Yeah, Elton, good luck making sweet sweet love to David Furnish to the sounds of "Your Song" with mangled Lady Di spectre watching. I think it should have been more honest. It should have gone "And your picture will always appear here/on the front page of the Express/your candle burnt out long before/the conspiracy theories ever did"... In any case, I guess you can let him off, he doesn't usually do the lyrics, just the tunes, and also he was probably sad because his BFF, or, you know, that princess he knocked about with sometimes, was dead, but this shite became the fastest and best selling record there had ever been, and again, that smacks of "nation of dribbling imbeciles and also there are some imbeciles abroad buying it too".

A sane person would say that nobody is all good or all bad, but it seems like the mouth breathing underclass that has come to typify this country recognises one strata of person as being good, pure and holy: the celebrity who they used to say did some questionable things but who has suddenly and unexpectedly become dead. Diana with her adultery, Jade Goody with her racism, and of course, segue number 2...

Michael Jackson - Heal the World

Could have gone with this one, could have gone with "Earth Song". Either one would demonstrate the thing I'm on about here - Michael Jackson when he decided to be really, really preachy.

Like most people, I recognise that Michael Jackson did some really cool stuff back in the eighties. Slash. The Moonwalk. Zombies. Enough words have been written on this topic by everyone ever. Of course, in a universe that operated by my rules none of these songs would ever have come to be, because all of the members of the Jackson 5 would have been murdered execution style in the seventies for doing that fucking stupid song about birds having a disco. Songs featuring the words "Tweedily deedily deet" are among the many things considered an abomination in a universe that operates by my rules, which is why I'm afraid Eliza Doolittle (the singer, not the character from My Fair Lady) would also have to be shot in the middle of her quirky face. This is why a universe that operates by my rules is not as fantastic an idea as it sounds - sometimes if you let people get away with the odd transgression it pays off. In this case with "Smooth Criminal", "Billie Jean", and the greatest televisual moment of my teens: Jarvis Cocker waving his arse at Jacko on the Brit Awards. Jarvis didn't much like the preachy phase of "The King of Pop"'s career either, evidently.

"Heal the World, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race.". How Jacko? For a start, how can we make it a better place for you? You are already richer than god and live in a theme park and have a pet monkey - what can we give you? Well, I guess one of us could have given him a less fucked heart, but we weren't to know that back then. Surely he was in a much better position to heal the world than we were, you know, he could have maybe used the money he spent on buying the elephant man's skeleton to instead build a well in an African village if he really gave that substantial a fuck that he felt the need to bang on to us about it like a big weird looking buzzkill. Come on Jacko, you couldn't take it all with you, could you? And whoever inherited the elephant man's skeleton, well, that was probably just awkward for them. "Ooooooh, er, gee, this is great. Elephant man skeleton. Er, guess I can't sell it, cos, you know, it was bequeathed to me and all that but, you know, it just doesn't go with my furniture. I've gone for a kind of, cosy, homely feel with the cushions and throws and whatnot, this is more your nightmarish Victorian freakshow kind of vibe. I'd have to redecorate, maybe get some deformed dog foetuses in jars and stuff. And I'm not entirely sure what my feng shui guy would have to say about that... Best just chuck it in a skip."

I have no tenuous link into the next song, if you can suggest any way I could have connected Preachy Michael Jackson to Twatty Shania Twat then please let me know what it is so I can provide a smoother, more flavourful reading experience in future...

Shania Twain - That Don't Impress Me Much

Shania Twain. I know it's not very clever or inspired to change it to "Shania Twat", but in my head that's what she is called. She does that really pap music very boring women do in karaoke when they are letting their hair down with a shared bottle of fucking rosé because it's somehow empowering to frumpy administrative workers to self consciously belt out "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" to the other patrons of Yates's Wine Lodge. Or rather she used to about eight years ago - happily she seems to have fucked off - presumably because she is now very, very old - she already looked like she'd been ridden hard and put away wet back then.

What's annoying about this song is the sheer arrogance of the woman. If you sum up the verses she is taunting some guy who has the intelligence of a rocket scientist, the looks of Brad Pitt, the coolness of Elvis, and a really sweet car, because that's not good enough for her. That's not good enough for Shania Twat, the ropey looking Canadian wearing a full length leopard skin hoodie. That's no lesson to be teaching the girls with the glasses in the Yates's. They can't afford to be that fucking picky. Jesus woman, you are such a fucking bitch.

So, that was the second set of terrible songs - as always, leave me your thoughts and suggestions or, if you're those guys who commented on my article about cyclists feel free to call me "an unpleasant piece of poo" and debate how small my penis might be. I quite like rowing with people, which is why I promoted that article on all those "I love cycling" groups on Facebook.

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