Saturday, December 4, 2010

Overrated Songs by Otherwise Reliable Bands

D'yer Mak'er by Led Zeppelin

You probably don't know it by its title, but rather as the "OH...oh, oh, oh, oh, ohhh, you don't have to go" song.

When I hear "D'yer Mak'er" I can't help but think it's one of those sugary tunes they threw together FOR THE LADIES. As if Zeppelin needed such a song. When you're so deep in dames you're using them as aquariums, you probably don't need help on the wooing front.

Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden

Anyone who thinks they want their music to be nihilism with a ya go. You wanted nothingness? You got nothingness. Nothingness ain't so appetizing when it's resting on your dinner plate, is it?

I can't see what function "Black Hole Sun" serves. It isn't soothing when you're down. It brings no crescendo when you're up. Like a stillborn bug in a cocoon, "Black Hole Sun" just sits there waiting to become something it will never be.

If you like Soundgarden but prefer slower tracks, stick to the classics: "Like Suicide," "Boot Camp," or "Fell on Black Days."

Nothing Else Matters by Metallica

I love Metallica so much I feel dirty nit-picking them. But no one ever said the pursuit of truth was a clean business.

To me, "Nothing Else Matters" just isn't that special. Not terrible, but like a woman who thinks her stories are funny, it gets old quickly. I understand that Mr. Hetfield was feeling lonely while touring, and composed this after a phone call with his ladyfriend.

Had clearer heads prevailed, he could have instead called a radio station and dedicated someone else's song to his amore; perhaps a little Al Green.

Or he could have used an alias and requested Barry Manilow. He wouldn't have been the first. No one in Manilow circles uses his real name. Ticket tracking agencies have repeatedly found that 8 out of every 10 Manilow tickets are purchased with stolen credit cards. Better to risk larceny than be outed as a BM fan.

Rapture by Blondie

I get that it's historic. I get that it was the first #1 song with a rap verse. But just because "Rapture" is historic doesn't mean it is great. It may have broken the mold and helped usher in what followed, but that doesn't make it shine as a standalone.

"Rapture" was a germinal work, a precursor to greater things. And that's what it feels like; a scrimmage. Scrimmages are important forerunners to the Super Bowl, but there's a reason no one scalps tickets to them. I have yet to see an episode of "NFL Films" called "Great Snaps of the Pre-Season."

Everybody Hurts by REM

Apparently this song helps people. Glad to hear it. But even if "Everybody Hurts" kept the sawblade off your wrist, you must admit the lyrics have issues:

When you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on

Don't let yourself go
'cause everybody cries
and everybody hurts

Sometimes everything is wrong. Now it's time to sing along...

'Cause everybody hurts. Take comfort in your friends...

Either this song is a high budget gag or REM applied the cut-up method to a bunch of Hallmark Cards.

Is anything smellier than earnestness without subtlety? Isn't the whole point of song to contextualize moods through symbolism and metaphor? If all a song offers is a sappy check list of your problems, what the hell good is it? If I stub my toe, I want a song that provides a poetic framework for my pain. I don't want lyrics that say, "Oww, I stubbed my toe."

'Cause everybody stubs their toe. Sometimes. So hold on.

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