David Bowie: China Girl
I never really cared for Bowie, which is neither here nor there I guess, that’s just me, but c’mon, this is just plain awful. This whole phase of his career was dreadful, really, with all that Let’s Dance over-exposure, though I guess Modern Love sort of rocked, but China Girl – after having it force-fed to me about 62,000 times, it became my life’s ambition to never, ever hear it again. Look how that worked out.
Huey Lewis and the News: If This Is It
Remember this guy and his jumped-up bar band? Somehow they hit it huuuuuuuuge with one of those “what was everybody thinking?” monster albums, Sports, which went something like 7 X Platinum and spawned single after single, cranked out like link sausages and every bit as musical. With this last gasp of a cash-in, Huey and the gang were really scraping the bottom of the old Sports barrel, and they weren’t even trying – there’s something eerily metaphorical about how they’re portrayed here as immobilized, buried up to their necks in the sand. After this they more or less vanished for good, thank Christ, though arguably they were reincarnated a decade later as Hootie and the Blowfish.
David Lee Roth: Just a Gigolo
Land o’ Goshen, how art the mighty fallen. For a couple of weeks there after he left Van Halen, Roth was getting just enough airplay to fool some folks, mostly himself, that he didn’t need to be fronting that Eddie kid with his fancy guitar schtick to be a superstar. He did a kitschy, bikini-saturated version of the Beach Boys classic California Girls, which was offensive, sure, but damn it’s hard to kill a song that catchy, and nothing that earns Brian Wilson some royalties can be all bad; but then he expelled this from his backside, and that was pretty much it. So long, pal. I don’t think he committed seppuku, but you’d have a hard time proving that one way or the other.
Primus: Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver
Good the Good Lord Jesus! This might be the worst thing ever done in the name of entertainment. It may simultaneously be a work of twisted genius. Either way, this thing is a nightmare. No kidding, this video is such a bizarre, funhouse mirror-like horror show that it haunts the darkest places of the subconscious mind, malevolent, corrosive, lurking, biding its time. And Christ, the words! The words!
Wynona’s got herself a big brown beaver
And she shows it off to all her friends
One day, you know, that beaver tried to leave her
So she caged him up with cyclone fence
Along came Lou with the old baboon
And said “Recognize that smell?”
“Smells like seven layers
That beaver eats Taco Bell.”
Look, for once, I don’t need you to suffer like I do. Don’t watch this one. Don’t. Those…those uncanny rubber cowboys. You could go insane. God, I hope I’m not too late to wave you off…
Rupert Holmes: Escape (The pina colada song)
A tepid romance fantasy from your high school chemistry teacher. Kathy tells me this one ends cute, with the couple winding up happy and together – how would I know? – but if so, that makes me sad. After listening to the first verse (which is as far as I can take it) I was hoping that the story involved him answering this supremely banal personal ad, then ditching his current girlfriend, only to meet a grisly fate when the whole thing turns out to be a honey trap set by a gay axe-murderer who studied at the feet of Hannibal Lecter. I get a mental image of Rupert here strapped to a gurney while the crazed killer waterboards him with rum and pineapple juice. More drinks Mr. Holmes?
There’re so many reasons to hate this vile, repetitive, preposterously staged heap of thumping techno-dross, but it might never have made the list if it hadn’t been picked as the theme song for CityTV’s Fashion Television, a show that wouldn’t die, it went for decades, despite being such an appalling celebration of insane capitalist frivolity that it could have been used to brainwash Ronald Reagan into joining the Khmer Rouge. Here, let me rustle you up a bout of PTSD:
Robert Palmer: Simply Irresistible
I lived with a guy once who wanted to go see Robert Palmer because he thought the chicks from Addicted to Love – you remember the pouting princesses who waved their fingers in the air over the strings of the guitars they weren’t playing – were actually in the band. I wonder how many tickets he sold on the strength of that delusion? Guys my age were abusing themselves senseless to that “sexy” video, which was played, I dunno, 26 times a day on Much Music, so when it came time to make some more cash Palmer decided, and why the hell not, to milk the formula, only this time with a larger group of babes. Dig the choreography! Revel in the lyric she’s so fine, there’s no telling where the money went! I’m not sure whether Simply Irresistible is better than Addicted to Love, worse, or exactly the same. Worse, I think. Yeah. Worse.
Pity the poor female guitarist they recruited to do a credible bit of fret work for what looked like a real solo (thus improving on the transparent phoniness of the prior video), showing only her hands (guess she wasn’t pretty enough – oh well, at least they didn’t make her wear a bag over her head); she’s had to live with her collaboration in this thing for over 30 years now.
Pat Benatar: Love is a Battlefield
It might be war out there, and the enemy might have an infinite supply of greasy little Cuban-looking bastards with gold teeth and permanent five o’clock shadow, but they picked the wrong goddam chick to mess with this time. When Pat and her plainly feminist BFFs shake their boobies at the foe, you can see it dawn on Mean Ricky Ricardo there that he just brought a knife to a gunfight. He doesn’t have a chance, poor bastard. Give him the motorboat, Pat! Beat him senseless! Girl Power!!!
Drake: I’m Upset
This fuckin’ guy. This rhythmic-talking bolus of excrement. Drake was bad enough anyway, and then earned the hatred of right-thinking people everywhere when he commissioned himself a tattoo to celebrate his breaking of one of the many chart records held for decades by the Beatles:
That’s him waving bye-bye to the Fab Four as he precedes them at the Abbey Road zebra crossing. Let that sink in. So long, John, Paul, George and Ringo, cuz I’m better than you. Now, let’s suppose that Drake wasn’t just an empty-headed, talentless sphincter of a performer who plagiarizes the non-music he peddles, but a credible artist. Let’s further suppose that there’s even a vanishingly small chance that 50 years from now, reissues of his albums will be topping the charts on the strength of purchases by people in their twenties, just like the ones recorded by those inferior guys from England, and let’s even posit that his record-breaking feat wasn’t just an artifact of a change in the way they account for song popularity, by keeping track of the on-line streaming of album cuts (imagine how many spots the Beatles might have held down in the Hot 100 in 1964 if Billboard knew about it every time somebody slapped an album on the platter and played a song). Even at that, his new tattoo would be blasphemy. It is anathema. It is a capital offence. Were I to bump into Drake on the street, I’d feel the urge to look for a stray brick or length of pipe so that I might brain him, not that I would ever do such a thing, no, not me. Though, you know, given his little Abbey Road tattoo, some – not me, no no – some, though, might argue that such would be a Good Thing, even if Drake was a bona fide, according-to-Hoyle genius.
And folks, he’s not a genius. He’s a worthless little turd. He mumbles juvenile spoken sentences over tired rhythm tracks and fancies himself a clever boy. I’m Upset, which one day will stand as his tombstone, is the worst, most boring, most pouty, self-indulgent shit ever concocted by an arsehole with delusions of merit. Try to listen to it. Try to make it all the way through. Here’s what you’re in for – better take a couple of Gravol:
Got a lot of blood and it’s cold
They keep tryna get me for my soul
Thankful for the women that I know
Can’t go fifty-fifty with no hoe
Every month, I’m supposed to pay her bills
And get her what she want
I still got like seven years of doin’ what I want
My dad still got child support from 1991
Outta town, people love to pop a lot of shit then come around
Word to Flacko Jodye, he done seen us put it down
Niggas askin’ if I’m cool
He’s upset, you see.
Ylvis: The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?
I can’t really write anything. Here’s some screen captures, which may be all you need to see:
Big takeaway: the elephant goes “toot”. One hopes he’s referring to a sound produced at the front end.
Boney M: Rasputin
My Dad, who was a devotee of classical music and taught me to love Beethoven, had this strange tendency to be tickled pink by truly inane pop songs, and this one made him as happy as a clam. Whenever they sang Yah yah Ras-pew-teeen/Lover of the Russian Queen he damned near gagged from laughing. That’s great, he’d say. That’s just terrific.
Watch Bearded Buddy With the ‘Fro hoofing it like he’s Gandolf with an irrepressible case of happy feet, and ask yourself, was my Dad right, or was he right?