Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

1. Rockwell, "Somebody's Watching Me." Let's go back to the dystopian landmark year of 1984. Thriller is still the Greatest Thing Ever, but it's also two years old (and it would be another three years before Jacko released his follow-up, Bad.) Meanwhile, Motown's running out of ideas. Oh, what is label CEO Barry Gordy, Jr. to do? Nothing, actually! His son Rockwell totally signed himself to Motown and released this song. Somehow, he convinced Michael Jackson to provide backup vocals during the chorus. Somehow, this song reached number 2 on the Hot 100 charts. Somehow, Rockwell became a legitimate recording artist. See? Nepotism allowing talentless celebrities to capitalize on their parents' fame is nothing new!

Because I'm pretty sure Rockwell couldn't sing if you paid him to (and I'm sure he got paid quite a bit.) And I'm equally sure that nobody's watching Rockwell, and even if they were, what does that have to do with him being unable to wash his hair in the shower? Nothing, that's what, and if you don't wash your jheri curls, they'll get all greasy. He's also got some tax evasion problems, since the IRS is apparently watching him. But no matter, they'll get off your back. You've hit it big, Rockwell. Ironically, all eyes are on you now. What's your next move? Oh, yeah, this. Fun while it lasted. It's sad that Motown died with this.

2. Puddle of Mudd, "She Hates Me." Take a classic rock chord sequence, scribble down some lyrics about this girl who totally disrespected you, man, and try to sound as generic as possible. Oh, wait, let's add the f-word to the chorus, because this is rock and roll. Okay, now just swallow some sawdust to make your voice sound as strep-throat-y as possible. Perfect! You're ready to record. Or, um, recordd. Yeah, you like that, because you're badd.

Strangely, this song is included in the 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks video game. I don't have much else to say about this song other than I listen to it a lot because, much like puddles of mud(d), it sticks to you and doesn't wash off easily. And I don't like baths. Neither does Rockwell. Rock and roll.

3. Green Day, "Basket Case." So, like, remember when Green Day was cool? You know, before they started making videos with U2 and being all righteous and stuff? Think back. Maybe the older brother of the girl with whom you carpooled to Hebrew school every Tuesday night--the hot one who always played basketball shirtless on his driveway so you'd pretend to tie your shoe in front of his house on your way home from a walk when you saw him practicing--tried to get you into this song and you were like, "No, it's all about Janet Jackson!" and that's when everyone kind of started suspecting you were gay. And maybe, years later, after Green Day saved the world and became the most inexplicable legends since someone decided John Mellencamp belonged in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, you watched the video for this song and it brought back this weird nostalgia for your childhood Judaism and the lyrics were actually applicable to your life and it was catchy and unpretentious and only then, years later, did you get what everyone loved about Green Day, but by that point it was too late because Billie Joe Armstrong had become so Hot Topic. Sigh.

-Josh

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