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The Five Most Embarrassing Songs on my ipod?

Reading "Dial M for Musicology" I ran across an interesting meme (a meme? what's a meme? I dunno, go ask your mom): the five most embarassing songs on your ipod. Well, I'm not sure I have five embarassing songs on my ipod. The most embarrassing thing about my ipod is the fact that I dropped it in the toilet about the third day that I had it (don't ask). You can believe that I retrieved it almost before it got wet. Fortunately, it returned to functioning just fine as soon as it dried out.

Anyway, the fact is that there is very little on my ipod that would embarrass me. Maybe "A Song for You" by the Carpenters, but really the Carpenters are not so bad in moderation. Maybe "Salle des pas perdus" by Coralie Clément; she's such a little waif and her voice is so thin ... still, there is something charming about her music.

OK, so the most embarrassing thing on my ipod has to be Porter Wagoner's "The Cold Hard Facts of Life," which wouldn't embarrass me until you listened to the lyric, which talks about a guy coming back to town a day earlier than expected, only to find his wife promiscuously partying in his absence. He pulls up to his house, pulls out a knife, and turns the tables, teaching them the "cold hard facts of life." The song is narrated from prison. I suppose the song is cool in a noir sort of way, so maybe it's not so embarrassing after all.

There are, however, songs that would embarass me if I found them on my ipod. REO Speedwagon, for example. I still hold a grudge against those guys. I recall that back in the day (1981), our band was to play a great party in a barn, our swan song, and REO Speedwagon had the audacity to give a concert that very night, probably cutting our audience in half. REO Speedwagon? Give me a break. Journey might also embarass me. Or "Sweet Home Alabama." And this coming from a guy who as a teen had a Lynyrd Skynrd poster on his bedroom wall. But life is too short to have to listen to "Sweet Home Alabama" again. Pat Metheny? Yeah, that would be embarrassing. What's up with him? Why is his music so boring?

Or maybe Sammy Hagar. The other day I was thumbing through some old Rolling Stone magazines from 1980 that my mother was kind enough to not throw away. I ran across an interesting note on Sammy Hagar: apparently at his concerts at that time he would explode effigies of the Ayatollah Kohemeni. Crass jingoism (is that redundant?). I'm forgetting that Americans have no historical memory, otherwise they might realize that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran was a response to the Iranians' dissatisfaction with the Shah, whose rise to power was linked to American meddling back in the fifties. So, when the ayatollahs came to power we got behind our friend Saddam Hussein to attack them. Plus ça change ...

Ted Nugent is also a member of that club. The problem is that there is something about the Nuge's music that I like. The hollow-body electric guitar on the very edge of going out of control ... It's almost enough to make me forget that Ted Nugent is such a bonehead. He spurts all this pro-gun, Rethuglican rhetoric, but Ted, if you're such a gun-loving patriot, why did you weasel out of service when it was time to go to Vietnam? Thumbing through his book at the library today, I see a picture of the Nuge with an elephant that he shot in Africa. He shot an elephant? Wha??? It sort of makes me feel a little sick and a little guilty for digging "Stranglehold."

So, no, there's not much on my ipod to be embarassed about. I'm one of those guys who likes all kinds of music. Now, I know what you're thinking: when they say that they like all kinds of music, they mean that they really don't care much for music much at all. But that's not me.

OK, I'll admit it: I'm not crazy about opera, or show tunes sung as show tunes (they're fine as jazz standards). I remember that when I saw "Kiss Me Kate" on Broadway I was surprised at how the songs lacked the intimate expressiveness that they had when done as jazz. I knew all the songs, but only in jazz versions. I guess somehow musical theater is antithetical to emotional intimacy. When I'm in the mood for bombast, I'll take AC/DC, and you can have Broadway and opera.

Nor am I crazy about Celtic music, although I'm quite fond of its cousin, bluegrass, especially when played on the banjo. I'm not much one for New Age music, but some of the electronica that I dig is not that far from it on the continuum. And I never liked teen angst music, sloppily played on slushy distorted electric guitars. But I love Nirvana, go figure.

What do I like? I like Ellington, the Blanton-Webster band. I like stride piano: James P. Johnson and Fats Waller. I like Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk. I like Japanese electronica. I like sweet soul music: Lee Dorsey, Curtis Mayfield and Al Green. I like old country: Buck Owens, almost anybody whose first name is Hank (Snow, Williams, Thompson), I like bebop, salsa, vallenatos, boleros, flamenco. I like Burt Bacharach and those major seventh chords of his. I like Sly and the Family Stone, Prince, Public Enemy, John Coltrane. I like Teddy Wilson, Lester Young, Stan Getz, Marisa Monte, Caetano Veloso, I like doo-wop! I like Bach, Bartok, and even composers whose names don't start with B.

Oh no. I just thought of one thing on my ipod that embarrasses me: the tunes on there with me playing saxophone! Ouch.

Pat Metheny: You don't have to watch the whole video to get the idea! (thanks WFMU)
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mmm pop

I enjoyed reading this blog. Both entertaining and revealing. Not to mention educational (does that count as mentioning it when you say not to mention?)
The most embarrassing thing about my iPod is that it usually only has a couple bands on it at a time. (Presently, that would be Nine Inch Nails and Tad.)I always seem to be losing my iTunes through computer mishaps and never bother to reload any music until I need an album or two to go. Then I just load for what ever mood suits me at that time.
The most embarrassing thing that I might ever load into it might be Hanson. Great music... with a stigma.

Re: mmm pop

I used to know the word for that rhetorical trope: "not to mention..." "I won't say a word about your drinking," etc. but I forgot it. I remember when Hanson came out, like 95 or 96. Yeah I bought the cassette single of MMMbop. When I saw the video for the first time on MTV, I thought they were girls. "Catchy little number these girls got," was my thought ("I think I've caught it"). Thanks, Jim.

May 2018



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