Do You Like Sugar? One Lump or Two?
(Originally ran on October 6th, 2003 as "Musical skeletons should stay in closet")
About a month ago, I signed my own death warrant and moved into a house with high-speed Internet. Suddenly all of those cool downloads, like the video of the chubby kid that swings a golf ball retriever around like a lightsaber, are at my beck and call.
My new access also conveniently comes about the time Apple has brought us the itunes music store. (Yep, I'm a Mac user). Legally downloaded music for a buck a song.
Suddenly I don't have to buy an entire CD to get one song anymore. Particularly a CD I would be embarrassed to own. Sure wish this thing had come out a long time ago. I never would have had to spend $7.99 to get a copy of Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy."
Here's a quick list of some of the songs I've downloaded that I'd have never bought a whole CD for. I feel like I should do this since I'm pretty openly critical about most people's lack of taste. I'm not saying people that like country music really do have taste, I'm just saying my past ain't totally bulletproof, either. I figure if I can expose all of the skeletons in my musical closet, my mortal enemies won't have any ammunition against me.
"Do Ya Think I'm Sexy," Rod Stewart
I love this song for the sheer absurdity of it. Turned on would be the last thing any rational human being would be after listening to this song.
"Take On Me," a-ha
Most people wouldn't be embarrassed by this one at all. I just feel, as a guy known as a Zeppelin and Who fan, that it's a bit of a stretch.
"All by Myself," Eric Carmen
Honestly, I never would have thought of this one had David Letterman not used it in a hilarious sketch involving Alan Kalter a few years back.
"Walk Like an Egyptian," The Bangles
Fifth grade. A roller skating birthday party. This girl turns down my invitation to skate, claiming she's too old for me. She turns out to be one of my best friend's little sisters.
"She Believes In Me," Kenny Rogers
I just put this one in because I think that "Menwholooklikekennyrogers.com" site needs one more bit of publicity.
"Love Touch," Rod Stewart
Back to Rod again. This one reminds me of an old eighties movie I liked as a kid. "Legal Eagles." Nope, didn't think you'd remember it. (For those interested, "Who's Johnny," the theme from "Short Circuit," is also available).
"Wonderful, Wonderful," Johnny Mathis
This is the song they used in that creepy X-Files episode about the inbreds. Gotta be the most morbid song of all time now.
"Pour Some Sugar on Me," Def Leppard
No explanation needed. I still can't get over how fitting it is that the ultimate butt-rock band of all time had a one-armed drummer.
This whole discussion brings back memories of the sins of my youth. For I was not always the richly educated music aficionado you have come to know and love. No, when I was a naïve young eight grader at Centerville Junior High School, I signed up with the BMG music club for the first time. (The first of eight times, if I remember right).
These were my selections:
Richard Marx: "Repeat Offender"
Janet Jackson: "Rhythm Nation 1814"
Paula (choke) Abdul: "Forever (I can't believe I'm writing this) Your Girl"
Milli Vanilli: "Girl You Know It's True" (and lip-synched, incidentally)
But here's the clincher. Remember the one CD you have to buy in a year at full price? Bobby Brown: "Dance, Ya Know It." No kidding. Special dance mixes of the tracks that put Bobby on the charts long before he and Whitney Houston started making it on the charts at the police station.
In the dark months that followed, I collected a vast reservoir of music that now serves as the easy targets for pop culture punch lines. Besides expanding my Janet Jackson catalogue to include "Control," I was also a proud owner of MC Hammer's "Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em." I even had a poster of Paula Abdul on my wall.
It was bad, baby. What made it worse was that I'd already been raised properly on the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and Motown. Luckily by the time I started driving my uncle had loaned me a copy of Led Zeppelin IV, and the prodigal son returned to his roots.
Outside of Rod Stewart, it's been clear skies ever since.