Monday, March 8, 2010
It's never a good sign when you can listen to your 2Ge+her boy band parody CD and find its lyrics only marginally distinguishable from its real-life counterparts. Popular music is generally more about entertainment than quality control, but sometimes a song slips onto the charts without passing even the most basic standards of industry. Even the most lenient of genres has got to have its limits.
Apparently these limits aren't particularly stringent, or else none of these songs would ever have been written, produced, recorded, and issued a heavily promoted wide release. It's somewhat troubling to think that dozens of people worked tirelessly for the release of these songs, directing questionable music videos and lobbying for increased radio play. For some reason or other, the natural music selection never phased out these ridiculous songs and they went on to become not only very famous but also highly lucrative. If only I could come up with a good song about a certain style of undergarment or a particular spoke on the color wheel, I'd be set for life. If only I'd thought of it first.
LFO Summer Girls
Luckily, this song was released a time when many guys did indeed seek out girls who favored Abercrombie and Fitch, so it was all in all pretty good timing. This song deserves some type of award for most non-sequitors dropped in the shortest period of time, if only such an award existed. "Summer Girls" utilized every cheap rhyming trick in the book, even writing some new ones on its own with some completely irrelevant but meter-consistent lines.
LFO gave us gems like, "There was a good man named Paul Revere/I feel much better baby when you're near" and "Fell deep in love, but now we ain't speakin'/Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton." It didn't make sense, but if you're good-looking in a classically generic boy band sort of way, you've pretty much got it made. If Rich had ever come up to me in real life and ventured, "Hey, my name is Rich. You look like a girl from Abercrombie and Fitch" I probably would've just gone along with it.
Sir Mix-a-Lot: Baby Got Back
The fact that this song was standard fare at junior high dances and bar mitzvah parties is pretty troubling in itself. We all thought it pretty cool to sing along, shouting out, "My anaconda DON'T WANT NONE unless you GOT BUNS HON! You can do side bends or sit-ups! But please don't lose that butt." I can only imagine what the adults chaperoning along the periphery must've thought. I never really considered the lyrics all that ponderously. I actually sort of preferred the Bill Nye parody version ("Bill's Got Boat" but Sure-Floats-A-Lot), so I think that brands me too nerdy to have been negatively influenced from exposure to this song.
5ive: Baby When The Lights Go Out
Let's lay it all out here: if your group spells its name with a numeric 5, our expectations for the quality of your music will be at best underwhelming. It's just not a great first impression, and certainly not an indicator of substantial musical credentials. My favorite part about this video has got to be that it takes place in a bowling alley. If that's not a seductive setting, I don't know what is. I was sold from their first spoken line, "Yeah, I like that/You know what I mean/You're lookin' kinda fly tonight/What's up, check it!" Pure poetry.
Aqua: Barbie Girl
We always thought it sort of scandalous that in the song, Barbie sang coyly, "Kiss me here, touch me there, hanky-panky." That was only after we looked up "hanky panky" in the dictionary. True story.
This song almost defies commentary, it's just that ridiculous. It's catchy in a generic bubble gum pop way, but the lyrics are completely and utterly ridiculous. Let's just blame it on the fact that English probably wasn't Aqua's first language and move on.
Sisqo: The Thong Song
Did anyone else find the phrase "dumps like a truck" to be just slightly problematic? We're already singing about that general bodily geographic region, so it seems dangerous territory to venture phrases that could possibly be referring to defecation. I'm just saying, it's possibly a poor word choice. "Dumps like a truck"? Really, Sisqo?
This song was huge, and for a brief moment in time Sisqo was the hottest rapper on the charts. The entire song revolves around the examination and study of thong panties. In case you forgot what he was talking about halfway through, he conveniently repeats the words ad infinitum: "That thong thong thong thong thong." Oh, right. That.
No Authority: Can I Get Your Number (A Girl Like You)
I was almost positive this song was a figment of my youthful imagination until recently I heard it playing Muzak style in a restaurant. I'm not totally sure how this was chosen as one of the carefully preselected and focus group-tested songs in circulation for background music. My best guess is that all the focus group participants had a pretty strong sense of humor.
This one is beyond ridiculous. "Can I get your number baby? Hit me with the seven digits!" Or, my personal favorite, "I've seen blondes, and brunettes, and some really hot redheads, but I've never seen a girl like you (seen a girl like you)". It always leaves me wondering just what color hair this chick had if she didn't fall into the above categories. I'd say purple, but you just cant be sure about these kinds of things.
Vanilla Ice: Ice Ice Baby
You've got to give the guy some credit where credit is due. He does, as he claims, flow like a harpoon daily and nightly. Be careful, though, you might end up killing your brain like a poisonous mushroom. It's all good: if there's a problem, YO! he'll solve it. I'm feeling better already. Even about that potentially hazardous poisonous mushroom situation. Thanks, Vanilla!
Backstreet Boys: Everybody
Some songs go just a smidgen over the top with the audience participation segments, and "Everybody" is no exception. Large stretches of it exist solely for the purpose of our offering our assent via a hearty "Yeaaahh--eahhhh". What we're agreeing to is more or less unimportant. Is he original? Sure! Is he the only one? Why not? Is he sexxxxxuuuual? You get the idea.
Baha Men: Who Let The Dogs Out
You know it's a tough question when we have to punctuate it with a staccato repetition of our leading question room. It's not good enough to simply ask "Who let the dogs out?" No, instead, we've got to back it up with a heartfelt "Who? Who? Who?" It also helps if you divide all of the words into indistinguishable syllables. Case in point "Get-back-you-flea-in-fest-ed-mon-grel." Genius.
Eiffel65: Blue (Da Ba Dee)
I like a song with a narrative as much as the next person, but there is such a thing as taking it too far. The "Listen up" lead-in is a solid attention getter, but they lose us somewhere between describing his little blue house and his blue Corvette. This song lacked meaning to such a point that we had to ascribe meaning to its erroneous "da-ba-di-da-ba-dis", insisting our pals in Eifel65 were really saying something like, "If I was green, I would die" or "I believe I am pie."
Right Said Fred: I'm Too Sexy
I'm all for trashy Europop, but even I have my limits of tolerance. I'm too sexy for my cat? That's just stepping over the line. I just can't take him seriously anymore when he's doing his little turn on the catwalk.
Britney Spears:Email My Heart
Sure, she was young and it wasn't released as a single, but some offenses are just inexcusable. There are some rules here, people. For future reference, here's a major one: if you're gonna record a soulful slow ballad, don't entitle it "Email My Heart." Really, that's all I ask.
Even with all of their glaring flaws, these artists must have done something right. We're still talking about them fifteen years down the road, so you can't deny their cultural impact. Even if their mark on society was writing a song exulting the derriere. We can't all be great lyricists. If this has taught us nothing else but sometimes, sometimes, we just want a song about butts.