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Friday, October 28, 2016

The Writer's Life 10/28 - Songs Controversy

NY Post music critic Hardeep Phull devoted his column to an interesting topic. He profiled Edward Carter of the UK, who recently asked this question on Twitter: "What is the song you most detest...?" Carter received thousands of replies, and then compiled a list of the most frequently mentioned, 337 in total. I whittled it down to those below, songs I'm comfortable commenting on. Many of the cited will draw the ire of fans, but it's nice to know one is not alone in an opinion. Besides, a "Kryptonite List" of the 337 at Spotify has increased the sales of many, which is the best revenge on the detractors. I will state where I believe the hatred is nonsense, which is really the case for just about every entry.

10cc — I’m Not In Love: Mopey but good. "Big boys don't cry."
ABBA — Dancing Queen: Why hate something so innocuous?
Aerosmith — Janie’s Got a Gun: Unlistenable.
The Animals — House of the Rising Sun: Great vocal, interesting lyrics.
The B-52’s — Love Shack: Fun track from my favorite party band of all-time.
Barry Manilow — Mandy: Nice, excellent vocal.
The Beatles — Hey Jude: Don't mind the first few minutes, but the "na, na, na, na" part is so annoying.
The Beatles — She’s Leaving Home: A shrug, not hatred.
The Beatles — When I’m 64: Charming ditty.
The Beatles — Yellow Submarine: Silly fun.
The Beatles — Yesterday: Beautiful melody, so-so lyrics.
Belinda Carlisle — Heaven Is a Place On Earth: Not for cynics.
Billy Joel — My Life: Middle of the man's great canon.
Billy Joel — Piano Man: Tour de force.
Billy Joel — Uptown Girl: Bottom of his canon.
Bj√∂rk — It’s Oh So Quiet: Love it.
Blondie — Heart of Glass: Meh.
Blondie — Rapture: Give Harry credit for being one of the first white artists to incorporate rap.
Bobby Pickett — Monster Mash: "Mash good."
Bon Jovi — Livin’ On a Prayer: Chorus is too shrill, but the rest is solid.
Bryan Adams — Summer of ’69: Like it.
The Byrds — Mr. Tambourine Man: A bit poppy but still a good listen.
Carly Simon — You’re So Vain: The mystery surrounding the subject is more interesting than the track itself.
Cher — Believe: Good club song.
Chumbawamba — Tubthumping: Same as above.
The Cranberries — Zombie: Weird as it is, I like it.
Cyndi Lauper — Girls Just Want To Have Fun: Lively tune, entertaining video.
David Bowie — The Jean Genie: Not sure what it means, but it rocks.
Dead or Alive — You Spin Me Round: Fond memory of dancing to it.
Deee-Lite — Groove Is in the Heart: Atomic funk, great record.
Dexys Midnight Runners — Come on Eileen: Like it.
Dire Straits — Money for Nothing: Knopfler has created so many better tracks than this.
Don McLean — American Pie: Great song.
Doobie Brothers — What a Fool Believes: Never listened as closely as I should have.
The Eagles — Hotel California: Overplayed but still a fine track.
Elton John — Candle in the Wind: I've always had trouble warming up to his stuff.
Elton John — Crocodile Rock: Catchy nonsense.
Elton John — Your Song: I change my opinion every time I hear it. Used to great effect in Moulin Rouge (2001)
Elvis Presley — Return to Sender: I play it on guitar, so it's impossible for me to dislike.
Frank Sinatra — My Way: My least favorite of all Ol'Blue Eyes tracks.
Gerry Rafferty — Baker Street: Irresistible sax riff. Never listened closely to the rest.
Guns N’ Roses — Sweet Child o’ Mine: Rocks.
James Brown — I Feel Good: Who would hate it?
Janis Joplin — Mercedes Benz: The voice is grating but the anti-materialism is interesting.
John Lennon — Imagine: Not bad, merely over-rated.
Joni Mitchell — Big Yellow Taxi: She went on to write several phenomenal tracks.
Journey — Don’t Stop Believin’: Harmless.
Katrina and the Waves — Walking on Sunshine: Simple fun.
Kings of Leon — Sex On Fire: One of the few modern rock songs that caught my attention.
Led Zeppelin — Stairway to Heaven: Sounds unbelievable when I haven't heard it in a while.
Little Eva — The Locomotion: Of all the songs to choose to hate, why this?
Los Del Rio — Macarena: Had people all over the country dancing.
Lou Bega — Mambo No. 5: Fun.
Madonna — Like a Virgin: She loves to shock; some people love to hate her.
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band — Blinded by the Light: Good record.
Meat Loaf — I’d Do Anything for Love: I wonder if this was cited by those burned by love.
Men at Work — Down Under: Still hear it often on radio. Still like it.
Phil Collins — In the Air Tonight: The only Collins song I like.
Phil Collins — You Can’t Hurry Love: His Motown adaptations suck.
The Prodigy — Firestarter: Rocks.
Queen — Bohemian Rhapsody: Clever take off on opera.
Queen — We Are the Champions: Yuck.
Queen — We Will Rock You: Infantile.
Red Hot Chili Peppers — Under the Bridge: I play this one too.
Richard Harris — MacArthur Park: I like its bizarreness.
Ricky Martin — Livin’ La Vida Loca: Great dance tune.
The Righteous Brothers — You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling: I've sung along to it thousands of times.
Robert Palmer — Addicted to Love: Intelligent lyrics.
Cast of the Rocky Horror Show — The Time Warp: True show stopper.
Rod Stewart — Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?: I don't think he's sexy, but I like the record.
Roy Orbison — Oh, Pretty Woman: I play this one too.
Run DMC ft. Aerosmith — Walk This Way: Better than the original. Terrific video.
Santana — Smooth: Good, but is dwarfed by his duet with Michelle Branch on Game of Love.
Starship — We Built This City: Drivel.
Steve Miller Band — Abracadabra: Miller is fine as long as one doesn't listen closely to the lyrics.
Stevie Wonder — I Just Called To Say I Love You: The epitome of nice.
Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney — Ebony and Ivory: Sincere but treacly.
Survivor — Eye of the Tiger: First few chords hit the mark. Not sure about the rest of it.
Tammy Wynette — Stand by Your Man: I wonder what Hillary thinks of it.
Terry Jacks — Seasons in the Sun: Catchy but lame.
Tom Petty — Free Fallin’: Good record.
Traditional — Little Drummer Boy: Sentimental, certainly, but I've always loved it.
U2 — Beautiful Day: Far from their best, but not bad.
UB40 — Red Red Wine: Never got into it.
Ultravox — Vienna: Enjoyed the drama of it.
Van Morrison — Brown-Eyed Girl: Great pop tune.
Whitney Houston — I Will Always Love You: A great vocalist elevates a mediocre song.
Wings — Mull of Kintyre: Never gave it a close listen, but why would anyone hate it?

The wind was whipping at my usual book nook, so I took the show elsewhere and got very lucky. My thanks to Nancy, a fellow Lafayette H. S. alum, who bought Killing and A Hitch in Twilight. My thanks also to the kind folks who made other purchases. The Chase bank at Bay Parkway and 85th has provided a shield so many times on blustery days.
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