20 March 2007

Touching Me, Touching You

This isn’t quite a return to blogging (I’m still savouring my indolence), but was posed an interesting question the other day, and it seemed a fun one to answer here. Some of you might want to chime in with your own answers, if you dare. The question that’s not really a question: Name TEN songs you’re embarrassed, or should be embarrassed, to have in your music library, or that people would never expect you to have in it. My threshold for shame being what it is, here goes, with a few extras in the hope any confessional overage counts toward karmic bonus-points.

  • INXS, "Please (You Got That)": A revolting band from a revolting age for music, but this song featured Michael Hutchence making the deadly mistake of trying to keep up with Ray Charles, who was only phoning it in and still kicking Hutchence’s Aussie ass.

  • Jann Arden, "Could I Be Your Girl?": Here’s something that probably says something about the occasional derangement of my imagination, because every time this song plays, I hear Tom Waits doing the chorus in full-throated snarl. This, of course, gets very funny when the title words come up.

  • Tom Jones, "What’s New Pussycat?": Easy to forget sometimes the man has a helluva voice, so thoroughly he’s now dipped in cheese, and this song has to be one of the most ridiculous, even by his standards. But c’mon, how can you not have it?

  • Rod Stewart, "People Get Ready": I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate Rod Stewart, especially for his horrifying mutilations of other people’s lesser-known hits (Van Morrison’s "Have I Told You Lately," Robbie Robertson’s "Broken Arrow," Tom Waits’ "Downtown Train," to name just a few). But this Curtis Mayfield classic is almost miraculously immune to Rod’s butchery. Almost.

  • Corinne Bailey Rae, "Put Your Records On": I don’t know why I actually kinda like this song, though maybe it has something to do with the central evocation and it’s strangely catchy hook.

  • Billy Ocean, "Get Outta My Dreams": Oh Good God. Enough saccharine here to fell an elephant, but (here’s that derangement again) every time I hear this song, I remember Bob Robertson from Double Exposure singing his Iraq War The First (A New Hope) parody, as Joe Clark addresses the United Nations. Hey Saddam, Get out of Kuwait, / Go back to Iraq....

  • Prince, "Raspberry Beret": As one scarred in my teen years by the horrors of "Purple Rain" and "When Doves Cry," and having to dance to them no less, I should despise this song. But I don’t. In fact, quite the opposite. Don’t ask me to justify this, because I plainly and simply can’t.

  • 10,000 Maniacs, "Because the Night": A limp band with a pretentious and passionless lead-singer, but the strings are cool, and this (i.e., the original) song is a classic all-round. And it’s just well-enough performed that I don’t always barrel over in laughter when Natalie Merchant instructs us to "take [her] now."

  • Elton John, "I’m Your Man": More kitsch in this cover of the Leonard Cohen classic than in a dozen John Waters movies, but it’s there because I don’t have the heart to delete it. I dare you to listen to this, ahem, extraordinary rendition and not laugh.

  • Sophie B. Hawkins, "Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover": It has to be the only song in the past thirty years to use the word "shucks." And how can you resist imagery like, "I’ll do such things to ease your pain, / Free your mind and you won’t feel ashamed?" Oh, and I guess I should confess that I probably had a lascivious thought or two when the song was released, and may or may not have bought the CD because of them. (And don’t any of you say you didn’t do that, either. We’ll all know you’re lying. Something has to explain Color Me Badd and the Spice Girls.)

  • Steve Winwood, "Valerie": I confess, I like Steve Winwood, even though he’s whiter than a frightened eggshell; but he had a great voice, and this song has some great lines, including "she was like jazz on a summer’s day" and "oh, she can’t be that one, / with the wind in her arms." A onetime involvement described Winwood’s oeuvre as "happy fuck music." True enough. (Now there’s a genre to check for in your record shops. Would parental advisories be required or implied?)

  • King Harvest, "Dancing In The Moonlight": It uses the every hippie cliche it can muster, but it’s (appropriately?) catchier than herpes. Listen to it with two drinks in you, even if you’re a pro with the potables, and you’ll be dancing, too. See also James Taylor, "Mexico," and Jimmy Buffet, well, just about anything in his collection.

  • Dooley Wilson, "As Time Goes By": Yes, the song from Casablanca. If any of you dare to say I’m a romantic because of this, I am not responsible for the Hostel treatment you more than surely deserve and will inevitably receive.

  • Neil Diamond, "Sweet Caroline": Four words: Touching me, touching you.

  • The Charlie Daniels Band, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia": Some awesome fiddle work here, and a lyric recasting the Robert Johnson myth. At least it’s not The Oak Ridge Boys.

  • Tom Cochrane, "Life Is A Highway": You’re like a highway, and I wanna ride you all night long....

  • Aretha Franklin, "I Say A Little Prayer": No shame at all in my Aretha collection, but since that stupid Julia Roberts movie, whichever one it was, it’s almost embarrassing to admit to liking this song. See also Roy Orbison, "Pretty Woman," and Van Morrison, "Brown-Eyed Girl," two other songs unfortunately sliced, diced, and Julianned.

  • J. Geils Band, "Centerfold": "Oh no, I can’t deny it / Oh yeah, I guess I’m gonna buy it...." All that and whistling, too.

  • Jim Croce, "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown": If you can resist this song, you are shamelessly and unforgivably Modern. Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle / with a couple of pieces gone is better than Verdi. (Then again, what isn’t?)

  • Tom Jones, "Mama Told Me Not To Come": Unkind as it must seem to pick on him twice here, if there’s anything more spine-chilling than Tom Jones ejaculating, it’s the thought of his mother offering instruction upon same. That ain’t no way to have fun, as the song goes. Could only be worse if Joe Cocker sang about taking a dump, a long toothpasty one, and how his great-great-grandmother coached him through it. *shudder*

And with that image of Joe Cocker in your head (worse: imagine the spasms!), it’s back to my blogging break I go. Aren’t you glad I don’t listen to Pete Townsend? Or, heaven forfend, Ashley McIsaac? Oy vey....


J said...

pretty sure there're more than 10 but to save my blushes, here's the top 3

Take that - their cover of a beegee's "classic" ; pukeworthy for every reason and thus my "reason" for including it as a gift to an old friend, he wasn't much pleased, hehehe

Wet,wet,wet - from corny to ewww with love is all around but hey, watched the movie (4 weddings) numerous times so it's impossible to forget the OST

Wonderwall- never quite understood what that song meant though I loved "don't look back in anger" which coincidentally was at the top of the charts when the play was part of the week's tutes, freaky...



nic said...

That image of joe cocker will haunt my dreams forever.

Thankfully I pared down my music library a couple of weeks ago since apparently you can’t use itunes to store your whole collection and then select what goes on your ipod. Nope, once you exceed the ipod capacity you have to clear stuff out of itunes after spending hours dumping it there in the first place. Thanks very much Apple, I’d like to figure out how to program it so that every time I’m forced to choose between songs and delete something, a member of the itunes staff receives a direct kick to the gonads/ovaries.

Anyhow, I cleared out a lot but couldn’t get rid of all my embarrassing songs (this will really make you wonder what kind of shit I got rid of though):

A-ha: Take on me (The ultimate high note it’s very amusing to watch people try to hit it although painful at the same time [see: corky romano])

The Flamingos: I only have eyes for you (I find this song so creepy but I can’t bring myself to delete it for some reason)

Def Leppard: Pour some sugar on me (A stripper anthem if ever there was one)

Styx: Come sail away (thanks to south park I’m much less embarrassed when this song comes on)

Alice Cooper: Poison (hehe, I may ask for this to be played at my funeral, I’ll never apologize for it and many people can attest to being forced to listening to it full blast in my car)

Fall out Boy: This ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race (especially shameful and hypocritical given that I loathe everything about this band but go home and download their single. Mand, if you’re reading this, having you admit the same is all that keeps me from throwing myself in front of the streetcar)

Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers: Islands in the stream (It’s fun as hell to sing in the car)

Basement Jaxx: Oh my gosh (I blame the video –watch the nursing home occupants mouth lines like “forget about the sugar have a spoonful of me” and gyrate in their nightgowns…well I’d like to see how the Christian clown brigade would make out there)

Grandmaster Flash: White lines (I know all the words, if that’s not disturbing I don’t know what is)

Thin Lizzy: Whiskey in the Jar (I’ll never get rid of it. Not sure if this is actually embarrassing but I get complaints when I put in on)

There’s a distinctly cheesy 80s vibe as I’m flipping through but the rest of the shameful stuff will just have to go with me to the grave.

Dr J said...

Good lord: I remember rollerblading, yes rollerblading (!?!?), with my first girlfriend to "Islands In The Stream." Now I want to stab my brain repeatedly with a rusty fork....

You also remind me that for my funeral, I want specific songs to played at specific times with the evil hope of making everyone as uncomfortable as possible. Songs like Van Morrison's "Real Real Gone," Peter Gabriel's "Digging In The Dirt," and Fine Young Cannibals' "I'm Not the Man I Used To Be." ;-)

Can't say I listen, j, to too much Brit-Pop; then again, I don't listen much to any music after 1993. Hell, 1973, really. LOL

j said...

ooohhh, remember tonnes of 80s cheese! actually , nic, the best thing about a-ha's song is their mv -which was groundbreaking in the 80s- ahh, when times were simple and so much like a dairy crazed pizza. that was also the only song request I ever made at the local radio station for an elementary classmate - she loved morten, no comments...


http:// www.roguespeak.blogdrive.com

Dr J said...

j, some of us are sufficiently ancient to remember "Video Killed the Radio Star." As a video. When it was first released. Oy.

What's left of the brain still reels....

j said...

dr j, groundbreaking meaning the graphics/real scene mix - apparently they won some award

remember the billy ocean mv, posits correlation between females and cars, the ultimate male mindset?

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