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Author Topic: A journey to the brink of madness  (Read 33485 times)

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rva

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A journey to the brink of madness
« on: July 27, 2006, 12:23:08 AM »

Blender magazine recently made a list of the 100 worst records ever.  Topping the list was Starship's "We Built This City."

What the hell does Blender know?  Any true music afficienado can tell you that Blender is a POS mainstream rag, and the worst song ever is Paula Cole's "Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?"

But actions speak louder than words. And to prove my point, I will listen to twelve straight hours of "We Built This City" starting tomorrow.    I've got my alarm clock set to wake me up with this song, I plan to carry it to my car and then to work, assuring me that no other song will reach my ears for the requisite period.

I will be posting my impressions and thoughts throughout the day.  Hopefully in "real time" but owing to the vagueries of job functions I may just jot things down and post a bunch of entries at once.  Either way, it's sure to be an edge-of-your-seat read.  Or something.
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Ella Minnow Pea

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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2006, 12:51:58 AM »

I don't think I could make it past the third listen. I hated the song when it was released, and it hasn't improved with age. I'm shuddering just imagining your day.

I didn't think the Paula Cole song was that bad. There goes my true music afficienado status.
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rva

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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2006, 01:05:52 AM »

Entry #1:  Prequel

Here's some stuff I remember off the top of my head.  

1)  The song is credited to Starship, Jefferson having split the group to form the Jefferson Jefferson Band, due to creative differences.  Or maybe that was Paul Kanter and Marty Balin. Apparently Jefferson Starship's increasingly commercial sound was the main cause of friction, although a quick listen to Marty Balin's "Hearts" will show he doesn't exactly have a strongest leg to stand on.

2)  The song is from the atrociously named "Knee Deep in the Hoopla" album, and the song itself "cleverly" references the album title in the lyrics.

3)  It's bad.  Definitely very bad.  But is it worse than say, "Sara" off that same album?  Or that Mannequin theme song?  I don't think so.  Bernie Taupin doesn't write shit.  Well, actually he does but even the cheesiest of Taupin songs (of which there are many) usually has some little moment of brilliance to halfway (quarterway? sixteenthway?) redeem it.

4)  Of the song itself, I know it features excrutiatingly 80's electro-drums as well as the requisite 80's keyboard splashes in the chorus.  I could probably recall all the lyrics and the rest of the instruments and song structure if I really wanted to.  But I don't.  I'll get my fill tomorrow.

And so off I go to bed, not without some trepidation.  Am I truly ready for such a grueling endeavour?  Should I not have tried to ease my way into this with maybe a few practice spins of "Jane" or "Find Your Way Back" before trying to formally tackle the Jeffersonless Starship?  But it's too late for regrets.  I've made a commitment, and Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now.




Did You Know?:  In a scenario straight out of "The Producers," Rupert Holmes (Pina Colada Song) once tried to get himself banned from the radio.  I believe the story is that he was affiliated with a group called "The Buoys" who were signed to a stinker of a record deal.  They knew the label wouldn't promote the song so they adopted a contrarian strategy by delivering a song that was unplayably bad AND controversial.  In this way they could fulfill their contract obligations while at the same time creating a "bad boy" buzz that they could parlay into better future deals-- all without anyone knowing what they really sounded like.  

To this end, Holmes penned a country-folkish song about human cannibalism called "Timothy" (sample lyric:  Timothy, Timothy, Joe was looking at you/Timothy, Timothy, God what did we do?).  However, they vastly underestimated the stupidity of music executives.  Their label released the song without listening to the words, and radio stations duly played it.  Although no real attempt was made to promote it beyond simply releasing it to radio, the song hit #20 on the pop charts.  The label was forced to release an edited version with an extra verse revealing that Timothy was actually a donkey.  

"We Built This City" is apparently worse than "Timothy."
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rva

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A journey to the brink of madness
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2006, 01:39:24 AM »

Quote from: "Ella Minnow Pea"
I didn't think the Paula Cole song was that bad. There goes my true music afficienado status.


You'll just have to settle for being be a true music aficionado instead. ;)  Sheesh.  What happened to my spelling?

I'm pretty sure the Paula Cole song is legit bad, but I don't know exactly how bad.  It's quite possible I'm over-rating it's craposity as I had an MK Lido Shuffle experience with it.
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Ella Minnow Pea

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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2006, 07:19:55 AM »

Oh, good. I'm glad I can still attempt to keep my aficionado status, instead. :D

What I remember - the video appeared to be shot entirely in front of a green screen.
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Doug

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A journey to the brink of madness
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2006, 07:29:59 AM »

Quote from: "Ella Minnow Pea"
I don't think I could make it past the third listen.

I think after the third listen, he'll just filter it out.  I used to work at an Applebees and they'd play these music tapes in a loop.  Every 3 hours or so, I'd hear the same songs over again.  After awhile, it was just background noise.
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kcneon

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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2006, 08:07:26 AM »

You have to wonder with this song whether it would have been salvagable without the cheesey electronic sound.  I swear everytime I hear it I think more about how the band decided to go that direction.  Baffling.

But, the worst...hmmm...look forward to reading your results, RVA.

Hang. In. There.
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Nate

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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2006, 08:34:29 AM »

I think it would have been salvagable if they got rid of the traffic report in the middle of the song.

I'm scared for rva a little.  I had this record as a kid, and still have the lyrics memorized.  That was twenty years ago.  It stays with you.

What about the Starbucks corporate butchering of this song?  That's gotta be up there as for worst song evah!
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foolsgold

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A journey to the brink of madness
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2006, 09:00:52 AM »

Can a mainstream pop song really be considered as the worst song of all time?  I just listened to it again and, all in all, it is bad, yet generally inoffensive 80's pop pap.

The truly terrible, I think, are the songs that take themselves seriously.  Songs with "deep" messages.  Going over the Blender list, "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel, "Ebony and Ivory" by McCartney and Wonder and 4 Non Blonde's "What's Up" are far more dastardly than "WDStF", because of the weight of significance (real or imagined) the artist has attached to the song.

The rest, "Ice Ice Baby", "Two Princes", "Rico Suave" etc should be exempted for just being silly and relatively harmless.

That said, I'll contradict myself by saying that the Beach Boys "Kokomo" is the worst thing I've ever heard.
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Jonathan

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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2006, 09:08:56 AM »

I hate all those songs.

Except for "We Didn't Start the Fire", because I'm a history nerd.
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MissKitty

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A journey to the brink of madness
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2006, 09:57:05 AM »

Quote from: "Doug"

I think after the third listen, he'll just filter it out.  I used to work at an Applebees and they'd play these music tapes in a loop.  Every 3 hours or so, I'd hear the same songs over again.  After awhile, it was just background noise.


Sadly, I was never able to filter out "Break Out" by Swing Out Sister, which I was forced to listen to several times a day, every day, for over TWO BLOODY YEARS at Dingleberry's. God, we even scratched the LP all to hell and the owner would just open another. And then he opened the CD and we took a steak knife to it, and he still kept opening new ones for instore play. NO ONE should have to endure fucking Swing Out Sister--EVER--let alone every single day for years.

And I'm not brave enough to challenge RVA to a "Crap Song Duel" by attempting to listen to "Break Out" over and over all day long. Lord.
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Poncho

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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2006, 10:03:05 AM »

When did you work at Dingleberry's MK?
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Jonathan

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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2006, 10:04:57 AM »

Quote from: "MissKitty"
And I'm not brave enough to challenge RVA to a "Crap Song Duel" by attempting to listen to "Break Out" over and over all day long. Lord.

You know, as his big sis, you really should get him to put a stop to this crazy experiment before he causes any permanent damage.
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kcneon

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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2006, 10:09:56 AM »

Quote from: "foolsgold"
"Ebony and Ivory" by McCartney and Wonder


That has to be the worst song recorded by two legends.  In fact, it's just plain sad.
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MissKitty

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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2006, 10:13:22 AM »

Quote from: "Poncho the Sane"
When did you work at Dingleberry's MK?


From 1986-1999.
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