Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Four Songs that Annoy the Crap Out of Me

Let's take a break from talking about my new facial cleansing regimen to discuss a little music. More to the point, music that gets on my nerves. To stay in keeping with my somewhat more relaxed and zen-like ambitions for living my life, I'm only going to target four songs. Ready? Here we go:

1. "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield.
The song itself is a classic of pop, and it's catchy as hell. It's a well written song by two gentlemen who knew damned well how to make a song. I just don't like what the song says. Even as a little kid, listening to this song in my dad's truck on the way home from some outing or another I remember thinking "Wait a second! Why do I have to change everything about myself to get this mythical guy? Why doesn't he like me for who I am? Well, screw him! I'm not changing just to be his." I'm sure my thoughts weren't quite so articulate as a kid, but the general idea has always been there. The message that you have to change yourself to find love isn't one I want to bop along to.

On the heels of that...

2. "You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift
This is a Nice Guy™ screed, all dressed up in its angsty,lovelorn teenage best with some faux-country trappings and a pretty, virginal looking girl behind the microphone who doesn't even need the Extreme Teen Makeover™ to remind us that she's very, very attractive and should get the guy in the end. But - having the song sung by a girl doesn't make it any less creepy, any less entitled or any less manipulative. Think about how it would sound coming from a 35-year-old man to a woman. You still think it sounds all romantic?

3. "The Great Pretender" by The Platters
Yep, that's two classics of rock and roll on a four song list, and this time I'm taking on a band who helped put Do Wop on the map. Why, you ask? Well, it's nothing personal against The Platters.

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a theme park called Opryland. My parents took my sister and I there on many a summer vacation. They liked it better than King's Island, which I did not, because at King's Island, I always got a Scooby Doo sippy of fruit punch! Opryland did not have Scooby Doo, and therefore was theme park slumming it as far as I was concerned.

Well, one very hot summer's day, my sister and I were wandering through the "Do Wah Diddy City" portion of Opryland, a place devoted to all the neon-colored kitschy Fifties and Sixties goodness that you could possibly stand, and as I was to find out, more than a ten-year-old girl could reasonably be expected to stand. See, we were supposed to meet up with our parents in Do Wah Diddy City, and when we got there, our parents were nowhere to be seen. Rather than go running all over the park looking for them (my idea!), my sister sensibly suggested that if we stayed in one spot and just keep walking around, they would eventually run into us and all would be well. My sister should be thankful that she's seven (yes, seven, Donna!) years older than I am and was therefore the better thinker of the two of us. So, we stayed put in Do Wah Diddy City. The thing is, the soundtrack in Do Wah Diddy City was a bit limited. As in four songs limited. Do you want to know how many times you can listen to "The Great Pretender" in a two-and-a-half hour stretch, which was the amount of time we were separated from our parents? Twelve and a half times. Now try being ten years old, scared you're never going to see your parents again, and not having enough money to get a sno-cone, let alone food and trying to hide all this from your big sister. I think I've blocked out the other three songs in the Do Wah Diddy City repertoire, but my loathing for "The Great Pretender" has stayed with me for the last 26 years. No offense, The Platters. It's not you. It's me.

4. Any song by Ke$ha
I don't care which one. Pick one. Any of them. But I swear to the heavens, if you attempt to play one of them in my presence, I will jab a pen in your eye. Everytime I hear one of her songs, I'm terribly afraid those brain cells that immolated themselves in protest of the aural abuse will never come back.

And finally, to give a little karmic payback for all my song-hate, here's a song that scares the crap out of me:

Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris
I used to love this song as a little girl. That is, until the day my parents and I sat down to watch the John Carpenter adaption of Stephen King's novel Christine. Little Bitty Pretty One is the song used when Christine the evil, evil (but very pretty) 1958 Plymouth Fury attempts to kill her owner's new girlfriend by having her choke to death on a hamburger while in the car. I can't hear that song to this day without seeing that bit of the movie in my head. Fair point to you, John Carpenter.

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