Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Three more songs worthy of your "DON'T OPEN THIS" folder on iTunes.
1. Cher, "Strong Enough." Okay, I'm gay and this is a guilty-pleasures music column, so you knew it was only a matter of time before you saw Cher on here.
Anyway, I love love love this song. It's a love letter to classic disco, complete with a slow piano intro, jabbing horns, and rollicking strings. And this goat they brought in to do the voc--oh, never mind, that's just Cher.
She's, um, sounded better. Despite the eight thousand filters the producers undoubtedly put her voice through, you can hear her passion in this song...to hit the right notes. Seriously, it sounds like this song is about two octaves above her range, and she sang it after an hour on the treadmill.
The lyrics, as you can imagine, are about getting over a cheating-bastard-boyfriend. Of course, Cher's been through worse: "On being used, I can write the book." And that line isn't even trying to rhyme with anything! Later, she assures her man that "This is our last goodbye, it's true." Isn't that what she's been telling her fans for, like, two years? Is her farewell tour over yet? Can she not get into post-show parties because most of her is under 21?
2. Dido, "White Flag." You know, everyone has their guilty pleasures. When you tell someone one of your embarrassing favorites, you usually receive more empathy than mockery. But whenever I tell anyone that I like a song by Dido--Christ, it's as though I just said I was born with three testicles.
Seriously, what's the problem with Dido? She's sweet and twee and European and she makes cute, melodramatic synth ballads like this one. Of course, the song is actually about how she won't "put my hands up and surrender." I've never heard a gonna-stay-strong song sound more defeated; the whole thing is high-pitched strings and bells and cautious beeps and boops.
"I promise I'm not trying to make your life harder," she tells her eternal love. No, she's just gonna write a Top 40 international smash about how she'll always be into you even though it's really depressing and will probably kill her someday and I think that process is already starting because she compares her love to a sinking ship.
After a bridge during which she tells us that she'll "hold my tongue" (except just kidding she'll sing about it instead), she sings the chorus three more times, the strings getting cheesier every time. She sings the final refrain over a single string and piano, but at this point even the doorbell ringing would sound Eurotrashy. Seriously, "White Flag" is a ballad for the Armani-Exchange set. Seeing as how I own two ridiculously A|X pants, I don't see the problem here.
3. Paul McCartney, "Dance Tonight." Jeez, Paul, are you even trying anymore? It sounds like you wrote and recorded this song in a half hour, right before Jeopardy. Yes, the mandolin is clever and the whistling is cute, this song is neither danceable nor something I'd play at night. Unless I was like hosting a meet-and-greet fruit-punch social at an old people home; then I'd maybe do some sort of mashup with Captain & Tennille.
Even the lyrics sound so...so...so hastily scribbled on a Wendy's napkin. Here's the first verse:
Everybody gonna dance tonight
Everybody gonna feel alright
Everybody gonna dance around tonight
Well it's PARTY TIME NOW!!! WOOO!
Then the chorus kicks in. No, Paul McCartney, I will not come to your place, nor do I want to. Nor do I have a fake leg, so it's not like you'd really be interested anyway.
Then Paul sings some more bland lines about dancing to the beat, or whatever these young people do nowadays. I think he overestimates his song's power, because I doubt anyone will stamp their feet to this song. I think I might rock in my chair to this song.
It's just sad, because the Beatles were all about being young and free and revolutionary, and now Paul McCartney is wearing Chuck Taylors in Apple commercials and bitterly divorcing his wife and trying so gosh darn hard to connect with the young people. Seriously, hearing him sing, "Everybody gonna hit the ground" is more depressing than hearing Dido talk about her breakup. It's like, "Everybody gonna dance tonight...but not too late because I have a colonoscopy tomorrow morning." Sigh.