Musical Musings… The Female Mind In The 80’s (According To A Swiss Duo)

I forgot all about this song until my good ol’ Sirius XM planted another earworm in my head.

It’s a song by Double about a woman that’s lost her love, and she still awaits his return.  What did she call him, or at least think of him as?  Wait for it… The Captain of Her Heart.

Only in the 80’s would a woman (even in a song written by two guys) consider her man the captain of anything.  Boats were weirdly popular, as were songs about sailing.  It was kind of a yuppie thing that even extended into fashion.

If this song was made in any other decade, I wonder what the hook would have been?

  • MOVING BACKWARD:

In the 70’s, it would have been The Yang of Her Yin.

In the 60’s, it would have been The Bread Winner of Her Children.

In the 50’s, it would have been Together Forever For Better or Worse.

  • MOVING FORWARD:

In the 90’s, it would have been The Cock that Dicked Her Over.

In the Aughties, it would have been Rock That Booty on a Boat, featuring T-Pain.

In the 10’s, it would be The Captain of Her C—.

Musical Musings… Breakdown Of “Party In The U.S.A.”

How this song is a hit is beyond me.

When I first heard Miley Cyrus’ Party in the U.S.A. amidst her infamous stripper pole ice cream cart incident at the Teen Choice Awards (the TripleDoubleU was all a-Twitter), it did not make an impression in the least.  In fact, had the song not gotten so much radio play, I would not have backtracked to find out that it was this song she writhed to.

Fast-forward to today.  Damn, does that song get stuck in your head.  It’s a classic earworm cocktail: lift a few themes from other songs, drop in a couple famous names, mention “partying” in a patriotic manner, and sprinkle with auto-tuning.  Voila!   A hit!

Before getting into the full monty with this song, I’d like to present a testimony to the ditty’s power over lyrics.  Here in Detroit, we have an excellent alternative (Canadian) rock station called 89x.  Everyday at 7pm, they have two songs battle it out for The People’s Choice.  The current and reigning winner:

"The Fold" is from Chicago... "the bends" is from surfacing too fast.

Wanna hear their song?

That’s a tasty synth track.

So onto the lyrics…

I hopped off the plane at L.A.X.
With a dream and my cardigan
Welcome to the land of fame excess,
Am I gonna fit in?

Jumped in the cab,
Here I am for the first time
Look to the right and I see the Hollywood sign
This is all so crazy
Everybody seems so famous

My tummy’s turnin’ and I’m feelin’ kinda home sick
Too much pressure and I’m nervous,
That’s when the taxi man turned on the radio
And a Jay Z song was on

Remind you of anyone else?

Well, the plane landed and when I came out
There was a dude who looked like a cop standing there with my name out
I ain’t trying to get arrested
I just got here
I sprang with the quickness like lightning, disappeared

I whistled for a cab and when it came near
The license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror
If anything I can say this cab is rare
But I thought ‘Now forget it’ – ‘Yo homes to Bel Air’

It’s not exactly the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, but it’s certainly reminiscent.  Oh.  And about that Jay Z song?  Miley’s never heard any song by HOVA, because she did not write the song.  Jessica “Jessie” Cornish did, and BONUS!  She’s British (and can sing circles around Miley, btw).

Back to the chorus:

So I put my hands up
They’re playing my song,
And the butterflies fly away
I’m noddin’ my head like yeah
I’m movin’ my hips like yeah

Mya, do you have anything you’d like to say… oh, I don’t know… how about, your love is like… wo?  The remainder is a repetition of the first part, just with different words.

I guess the biggest problem I have with the song is the cloying patriotism.  When Bruce Springsteen sang about how he was Born in the U.S.A., I believed him.  Okay, it’s probably not fair to compare the Boss‘ song about disenfranchised American soldiers to Hannah Montana’s tune about not wearing stilettos because she “never got the memo.”  But his heart was in his throat when he sang that song.  Dollar signs were in Billy Ray’s eyes when she sang hers.

(SIDENOTE: Try on Kesha’s Tick Tock – I’m sorry – Ke$ha’s Tik Tok as an alternative to Party in the U.S.A. Most of the same earworm ingredients are there:

  • lift a few themes from other songs (“Don’t stop…” hook = Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” hook, also repetitive last word in phrase, à la Black Eyed Peas’ Meet Me Halfway)
  • drop in a couple famous names (Diddy, Mick Jagger)
  • mention “partying” in a patriotic manner (“…but the party don’t stop…”)
  • sprinkle with auto-tuning

Voila!  A hit!)

Musical Musings… The Quest For Mambo Number 6

Back in the last century, a song arrived on the scene that captivated audiences for like, weeks.  That song: Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5.  Here’s the backstory about how it entered my life…

I was backpacking through Europe with one of my sisters, and I met up with my other sister in Italy.  She told me above this crazy song she kept hearing everywhere, and I didn’t encounter it until arriving in Amsterdam.  As a joke, I bought the single to give to her upon returning home, but little did I know that while we were travelling, our place of employment (Circuit Shitty) started playing Mambo No. 5 on the in-house TV network.  Joke ruined.

Exciting, I know.  It’s taken me many, many years, but I might have found the predecessor to Bega’s catchy minor hit, but I’m not sure which one lives up to it more.  The options:

  • Michael Franti and Spearhead may have saved the day by stopping by to Say Hey.
  • Or maybe Pitbull (seriously, that’s his name) got a bite on the competition, and pooped out the earworm I Know You Want Me.

As refreshers, here You(Tube) go:

Mambo Number 5

Say Hey

I Know You Want Me

As I learned somewhere a long time ago, if you can’t figure something out, just make a chart.  Was it a friend?  A parent?  Or a math teacher?  We’ll never know.

mambograph

Solved!!!!1!

 

Musical Musings… Annoying Repetition

A Literal EarwormThe posts where I bitch about music never seem to go over too well, but since people aren’t always in the car with me when some annoying song comes on (and I often forget to bring it up later), I now have this forum to gripe.  And gripe I will (my apologies if you don’t care, but press on because you may agree).

The theme for this short list is Annoying Repetition.  Before you get in an uproar saying all music is repetitive, I’m talking more about the hooks that cycle throughout the song and seem to go nowhere fast.  They feel incomplete and prod at the mind and soul and I’m being melodramatic.  Songs can be super-repetitive and work.  Take Green Day’s Brain Stew as a positive example.

But some songs set out to destroy ear drums.  Mobile’s The Killer is the latest entry into the mix, and what ultimately prompted this disdainful account.  (To note: I would have embedded the video if Universal wasn’t a bunch of douchenozzles.)  Aside from the whining, winding musical arrangement, the “yeah-yeah’s” dispersed in the track make me think of Bono on “South Park” as he walks through a poor village singing “hello-hello” and “yeah-yeah” (it’s his special brand of helping).

I know there are other recent examples like Britney Spears’ Womanizer or tATu’s All the Things She Said, but they’re radio pop and to call it crap is an understatement.  On the other hand, these kinds of songs are programmed to be catchy and get stuck in your head, and they do it quite well.  Just the mere mention of the titles might cause earworms.

Before I go, I have two other odd entries: a couple songs of yesteryear that when I catch wind of them, they spiral me into a rage.  One is John Mellencamp’s Wild Night and the other is 24 Gone’s Girl of Colours (video below).  At least Shana Zadrick is in the Coug’s video.  Too bad I didn’t know about her in the 90’s (I was in love with Laetitia Casta at the time.)