Wednesday, January 23, 2013

F--- tha Police...and Sting, too

I was listening to the Police's "Walking on the Moon" on Spotify, and it reminded me about something I had read a few days previously. Someone had published a rant about Sting, and the rant continued to complain about Sting's former band, the Police.

I couldn't find that particular rant, but there are enough rants about the Police if you look around. Check this one:

"Packed like lemmings"? A very close second in badness, from the same song, is the line "Every single meeting with his so-called superior is a humiliating kick in the crotch." Bad, bad, bad. But oh, so earnest. And then to couple these first-draft images of suburban misery with scenes from a mysterious "dark Scottish lake" just makes it worse.

The author (not of the lyrics), rain_rain, said more in the comments to the post:

The closest thing to punk about the Police was their hair, and even that was clearly (you should excuse the expression) a put-on. They were a classic pop band, only occasionally raging vaguely and reflexively against some machine or other because it was the thing to do, and hey, man, isn't that long commute soul-killing? Da doo doo doo was really more their strength.

But Grant Miller Media adds other complaints:

The Police jumped on the late 1970s punk bandwagon even though each member was an accomplished musician and came from a decidedly non-punk background. Sting was a bassist in a jazz band. Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland were in various prog-rock outfits....

People who write songs about teachers that have affairs with teenage girls are creepy....

When the Police were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, they performed "Every Breath You Take" with Steven Tyler, Gwen Stefani and John Mayer.

If you like those, go here. There are 101 listed reasons to hate Sting.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Why do I like many of the worst songs of all time?

I had occasion to mention the Doctor Orange song "Taco Taco Taco" on Facebook, which led me to a very long message board thread in which people named the worst songs of all time.

The thread is a VERY long thread - I've only read through a small portion of it - but as I looked at the suggestions, it became very apparent that the definition of "worst song" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, I love "Taco Taco Taco," the third song mentioned in the thread.

Here are some other "worst songs" that were mentioned that I actually like - or at least do not dislike:

  • "Muskrat Love" by the Captain & Tennille - I think the synth effects are cute, not atrocious.
  • "Fly" by Sugar Ray - I think it's a fun song.
  • "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge - although even I will admit it was overplayed at sporting events for a while.
  • "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees - if you subtract everything you know about Dees, and if you listen to the song in the context of the times in which it was recorded, it's not bad. But then again, I liked "Peanut Prance" (Dees' impersonation of Jimmy Carter).
  • "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies - my favorite song at the age of 7, and the soul stylings at the end stand up today. Soul stylings?
  • "Blue" by Eiffel 65 - but then again (again), I like "Europop."
  • Staying on the European continent, "Waterloo" by Abba - some songs were better than others, but their Eurovision hit was one of their better ones.
  • "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Guns 'n' Roses - no, it's definitely not Dylan, but I think it's a great reworking.
  • "Emotional Rescue" by the Rolling Stones - I can see why some would hate it, but just think of it as a comedy track and you'll be fine. That's what I do with anything recorded by Pet Shop Boys.
  • "Sex" by Berlin - but I do likes me some synthetica, especially when live guitar is mixed in.

I'm sure that at least one of those songs completely offended and horrified you. You're welcome.

I do, however, agree with the commenters on one thing - Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" is far inferior to the original. I like much of Houston's work, but her cover version has none of the subtlety of Parton's version. Houston's take is as subtle as Spinal Tap's famous amplifier that goes to 11.

I cannot judge one particular entry, because I have never heard it - and, most likely, you've never heard it either.

A few months back [in 2005], I heard a singer perform one of her own compositions at an open mic event in Camden in north London. A composition she'd written on the bus to the pub. About writing a song on the bus to the pub where she would sing it. Opinion was strongly divided amongst the listeners as to whether she was merely a spoof act or whether she was blithely unaware of how bad she was. I've since heard that the management took the latter view and has banned her from ever appearing again, even on similar occasions, on the grounds that she was so terrible.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

OK, we know the last time, but when was the first time?

Take a listen to the song in this video:

Now some of my real young readers are saying, "So?"

Some of my slightly older readers are wondering why I'd post an instrumental version of a Verve song with a weird part in the middle.

Then I have some readers - those who know who Andrew "Loog" Oldham is - who realize that this is the former Rolling Stones producer's instrumental version of the Stones song "The Last Time." A song that the Verve appropriated for "Bittersweet Symphony," resulting in a lot of bittersweet court actions.

So the wonderfully pure Oldham was thwarted by the evil copycat Verve, right?

Well, when you think about it, Oldham's version itself obviously isn't original, since it is a rearrangement of the original Rolling Stones song "The Last Time." Yes, presumably Mick and Keith got the proper songwriting credit, but Oldham wouldn't have been able to take his orchestra flights of fancy if the Stones hadn't written the original song in the first place.

So now we get to the Stones themselves. And perhaps you'd better sit down while I tell you this.


Now I know that this is a complete shock to some of you, but you had to learn the truth sooner or later. And in this particular case, Who Sampled cites a Staple Singers song "This Will Be The Last Time" and claims that it is a source for the subsequent Stones track.

Judge for yourself.

There's certainly a similarity between the chorus of this song and the chorus of the Stones track. But as the YouTube poster notes:

The Rolling Stones have been accused of ripping this off, and of course they did, but if they owe anyone it is really the arranger Shirley Joiner. The song itself is traditional.

And a commenter noted the following:

The Stones took from this to make the Last Time, after which Andrew Oldham made a symphonic version of it. Then in 1997, the Verve decided to sample the symphonic version of the Last Time in order to make Bittersweet Symphony. And in turn, Jason Derulo sample Bittersweet Symphony in order to make Ridin' Solo. Good music, what happened to you?

At least Derulo isn't a dangerous pedestrian.