In part one of my diatribe about recent Sunday evening programming, I touched on some pretty key points. To quickly summarize what we’ve discussed so far, I do, always have, and always will loathe Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Pete Carroll. I think the three of them embody all that is wrong with professional sports today. I firmly believe that the “tuck rule” was the beginning of the decline of western civilization. And I think a young pop star twerking on the lap of a guy with an AARP card is disturbing on many levels.
So now that you are up to speed on part one, let’s move on to part two: the Grammys. As someone who doesn’t closely follow TV programming, and pretty much detests awards show season, I was caught off guard last Sunday. I was so excited that for the first time in forever, my wife and I could sit down together with some snacks, with the kids already in bed, and watch a CSI episode during its actual air time. Then I looked at the channel guide and saw that the Grammys would be hijacking that channel for the next 9 hours or so. I couldn’t have been less interested if it were a running loop of the old Shamwow commercials.
So, I admittedly did not watch the Grammys, but the next day I read the articles and posts, watched the video clips of the highlights (and lowlights) and I was pretty well up to speed on all I needed to know without sacrificing an entire night of my life. Let me be crystal clear about why I didn’t watch. It’s not because I am an old miserable curmudgeon (I am, but that’s not why) who is completely out of touch with today’s music. I spend my nights working in a bar. And despite the fact that it’s in no way befitting of our clientele, the stereo is still always on the modern hits station on satellite radio. I’m firmly convinced that being the program director for that station has got to be the easiest job in the world. Here are 10 current hit songs. Make sure each of them play at least once per hour but not always in the same order. Periodically mix in one of the big hits from a year ago. We need to keep Carly Rae Jepsen on the back burner just in case lightning strikes twice.
It’s not because I think this show is beneath me. Music is and always has been one of my greatest passions, and as I hear all of these songs I consider myself mildly adept at identifying and even critiquing them. The truth is that I think today’s music flat out sucks. And I’d be willing to wager that the hoards of musician friends that I have would agree with me wholeheartedly. Am I the only person alive who still actually listens to the lyrics of a song and not just the beat? It seems that no matter how catchy the tune is now, once you listen to the words you come to realize how dreadfully awful it is. I find myself actually longing for the twisted lyrics and bubble gum rock of the 80’s. That strange time when it seemed like 1 out of every 5 hit songs was some cryptic ballad about the art of self pleasure. Yes, that’s how bad it is now that I’d rather hear some upbeat masturbatory anthem than this crap.
Now before you start casting stones, let me cite some examples using some of the more catchy tunes from the past year. First, there’s that little chihuahua looking chick named after a perennial shrub. How mindlessly self absorbed does one have to be to title a song; “I’m So Fancy”?
Now we move on to Meghan Trainor. Let me first say that I do like her, and I think she’s one of the more talented new artists. Unfortunately, that dubious distinction carries with it about as much credibility and clout as being the tallest employee in Willy Wonka’s factory. She had one of the bigger hits of the past year and one of the catchiest tunes ever. We’re all familiar with “All About That Bass”, the song that prompted troops of 12 year old girls everywhere to choreograph dance routines to it. You could probably spend an entire day on Youtube illustrating my point. The insane popularity of this song makes me wonder if anyone has heard any of the lyrics beyond those four hook words that are repeated far too many times in the song. In fact, I think it’s only about four repetitions shy of being a modern day version of “I’m Henry The VII” on the annoyance scale. Having heard this song roughly 10 times a night every shift I’ve worked for the past year, I consider myself qualified to interpret the lyrics if only from a layman’s perspective. If you listen to the song beyond that line, you quickly realize that the line (which is the title) has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the rest of the song. Because the rest of the song is essentially a pep talk from a mother to her daughter telling her not to worry about being fat because guys aren’t really that picky and she’ll have no trouble finding someone to hook up with. If you took anything other than that away from this song, you are either a big fat liar, or you found some deep existential, well-hidden Easter Egg buried within these lyrics that is far too sophisticated for my mere mortal brain to properly comprehend. In fact, the title and the rest of the song tie together about as well as if Abe Lincoln had opened the Gettysburg Address with the intro to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I imagine it going as follows;
“Aww this is a story all about how
my life got flipped, turned upside down
four score and seven years ago…..” Well, you get the point.
Sometimes as I listen to this stuff, I can’t help but feel that the only thing standing between me and life in the fastlane is a lobotomy and an electronically generated bass line. I sit here week after week, an aspiring wordsmith digging deep into my vocabulary quiver to launch arrows of carefully thought out, poignant verbiage into the minds of the handful who get me for the approximate compensation of ½ a tank of gas while people with the intellectual capacity of a cupcake butcher the English language all the way up the charts. Frustrating as it is, I will continue each week to engineer the esoteric express train to the sparsely populated town of Commonsenseville with the hopes of entertaining a handful who respect the human thought process. Just a word of warning though, if any of you “get” me completely, there may be Prozak in your future.
Unfortunately, sometimes I get on a roll and I write this as if it’s a daily, not a weekly publication, so my thoughts may seem obsolete by a week or two. Truth is, sometimes I’ll write one that I have to break into 3 or 4 parts due to space. Which is why I haven’t mentioned Kanye and Kim yet…
Thanks for playing along. I hope you’re enjoying it so far.
Until next week,