Please be advised right at the outset of this column that I’ll never be playing any of these songs at my gigs. Ever. That being said, when I write one of these “Songs I Hate” missives, I must state beforehand, for your own protection: WARNING — this column may induce your brain to remember potentially unpleasant and cheesy music! And remember, these are only my opinions — your mileage may vary!
“Bang A Gong (Get It On)” – T. Rex. I know I’m going to get a lot of grief from classic rock aficionados who love this song. They’re going to tell me how talented Marc Bolan was as a guitarist and artist. They’ll put forth how he pioneered glam rock and helped make glitter and feather boas de rigueur on stage starting in 1971. They’ll opine about the tragedy of his way-too-young death and dream about the music that might have been. I’ll just say that I’ve heard “Bang A Gong” just two thousand too many times.
Let’s look at the insightful lyrics: “Well you’re slim and you’re weak / You’ve got the teeth of the hydra upon you.” And these: “Well you’re built like a car / You’ve got a hubcap diamond star halo / You’re dirty, sweet and you’re my girl.”
So what does this actually mean? She’s slim and weak — but she has the teeth of the hydra. Is she an emaciated malnourished patient who also needs to visit an orthodontist? And then this non sequitur: first, she’s slim; next, she’s built like a car. And has a hubcap diamond star halo (whatever piece of headgear that might be). She needs a bath, but she’s nice. This song is chock full of contradictory metaphors and (I assume) euphemisms about a woman’s sexiness. It just goes to show that modern hip-hop does not have a monopoly on hideous lyrics. And it brings us to our next alleged song…
“WAP” – Cardi B. The less written about this “song,” the better. Actually, I really can’t cite any of the “WAP” lyrics in a column that’s destined for a newspaper that’s published as a local family-friendly publication. This aural garbage is one of the most popular “songs” of the past two years. That says something about the modern music listener, although no one really just listens to music any more. Back in music’s Golden Era, we would buy records and have album listening parties where people actually listened to the music! What a concept! Why anyone, however, would actually want to hear this detritus is beyond me. Although Richard Cheese’s version does have a couple of redeeming qualities…
“Cotton Eye Joe” – Rednex. Based on the old song “Cotton-Eyed Joe” that’s older than the American Civil War, this techno-popped-up version is about as annoying a waste of sound waves as one can find. While the song’s origins are lost to history, the meaning of how one gets to be “cotton-eyed” is quite interesting. From Wikipedia: “A list of the possible meanings of the term ‘cotton-eyed’ that have been proposed includes: to be drunk on moonshine, or to have been blinded by drinking wood alcohol, turning the eyes milky white; a black person with very light blue eyes; someone whose eyes were milky white from bacterial infections of trachoma or syphilis, cataracts or glaucoma; or the contrast of dark skin tone around white eyeballs in black people.”
The song remained popular for way more than 100 years, with different recorded and live versions inspiring couples to hit the floor in barn dances throughout the South. It certainly inspired Swedish Eurodance group Rednex to mix traditional American country and folk music with modern dance music. While sometimes these fusion experiments work, this certainly was not one of those times. Who could have foreseen that this mix just might not work? Hmm…
“Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” – Rolf Harris. Just the mere mention of this should probably send you into uncontrollable spasms.
“She Bangs” – Ricky Martin. The William Hung version was more entertaining.
“Rico Suave” – Gerardo. Sorry — you were neither.
“MMMBop” – Hanson. Let’s, just for a moment, ponder these weighty lyrics: “Mmmbop, ba duba dop, Ba du bop, ba duba dop, Ba du bop, ba duba dop, Ba du, oh yeah.” This makes Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” sound like freakin’ Shakespeare.
If you lasted this long, congratulations. You’ve reached the end, for now. There are still so many more songs like this that will have to wait for a future column. Until then, let’s all sing a rousing chorus of “Achy Breaky Heart.”
Catch John Wednesdays at Herbie’s, Thursdays at Sparky’s Landing, this Friday on Facebook Live for his Social Distancing Concert, and Saturday night at the Key Colony Inn. Music available wherever you get your streaming. www.facebook.com/john.bartus