Elton returns.

Back in September, Elysha and I saw Elton John perform in Hartford, CT as part of his “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” farewell tour.

He was fantastic. Both of us left the concert feeling so good.

Then I saw the latest John Lewis and Partners, a high end department store in the UK which is famous for its Christmas ads, and I felt almost as good all over again.

I don’t know how they did it, but it is brilliant and beautiful, and for someone like me who swims in a sea of nostalgia and existentialism, a little bittersweet, too.

Weezer's "Africa" is Toto's "Africa." I don't get it.

You've probably heard Weezer's cover of Toto's song "Africa" at some point this summer. It's been the #1 song in America for the last three weeks and been on the charts for the last 12 weeks.

People love this song.

I don't get it. 

I'm not opposed to musicians covering the songs of other musicians, and I'm not opposed to those covers becoming popular.  

I'm a huge fan, for example of Joey Ramone's cover of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." Rufus Wainwright's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." Aretha Franklin's cover of Otis Redding's "Respect." 

Many, many more. The Beatles "Twist and Shout." Guns N' Roses "Live and Let Die" and "Knocking on Heaven's Door." Soft Cell's "Tainted Love." The Fugee's "Killing Me Softly." Johnny Cash's "Hurt." 

But with each of these covers, the bands have changed the original version of the song in some fundamental way. Made it their own. Given the listener a new lens into something they thought they already knew.

Joey Ramone turns Louis Armstrong's classic slow song into high speed punk.

Rufus Wainwright takes a beautiful song that Leonard Cohen performed miserably and turns it into a classic (John Cale and Jeff Buckley probably deserve more credit for this than Rufus Wainwright, but I like Wainwright's version best). 

Aretha changes the meaning of "Respect" completely by singing it from the position of a woman, leading Redding to famously say that Franklin "stole that song from me."

But Weezer's version of "Africa?" As far as I can tell, Weezer tried like hell to make their cover sound exactly like Toto's original song. In fact, when I first heard the new version, it took me a minute to realize that it wasn't Toto's original song, and my first thought upon realizing that it was different was "Did Toto release an anniversary version of the song?"

Why cover a song when you're simply reproducing the song as close as possible to it's original form? And this is Weezer. They are nothing like Toto. They could've done something really inventive and interesting and new with the song, but instead, they did nothing.

They took Toto's sheet music, played the song, and recorded it. They play it well, but they certainly don't make it their own.  

And yes, the song went to #1 for three weeks. It's Weezer's biggest hit in a decade and their only chart topper. It's hard to argue with success.

Weezer will make a lot of money from this song. The success is impressive.  

But when it comes to artistry? Musicianship? Originality?  

Not so much. Weezer's version of "Africa" is fine, but I'll take Toto's version any day, because I prize artistry over mimicry. Originality over familiarity. Creativity over copying. 

Windows down. Music up.

Driving home alone after performing in Maine last week, I decided to spend the last hour of my four-hour drive with the windows down and the music up. 

Music blasted. Springsteen. Tom Petty. Tesla. The Ramones. Guns N' Roses. The Stones. The wind roared through the car. It was fantastic. 

As I roared down the highway, I looked around, taking note of how others were driving. Searching for my proverbial soulmates. Here is what I noticed:

Almost everyone drives on the highway with their windows up. Actually, almost everyone drives everywhere with their windows up. The vast majority of people travel via automobile in their own climate-controlled bubbles of air and sound.

What a shame. 

Part of this may be generational. When I was first learning to driving, air conditioning was far less prevalent than it is today. In 2017, 99% of all new automobiles came equipped with AC as a standard feature.

But in 1970, only 54% of cars were equipped with air conditioning.

In fact, the first three cars that I owned - all built in the 1970's and driven by me in the 1980's - did not have AC. Instead I drove with the windows down. Allowed fresh air to flow through my car. Offered my musical tastes to the world. 

It was glorious. It still is glorious. 

If you haven't done this in a while, you must. The next time you are driving on the highway or any place of any distance, lower all the windows. Choose some of your favorite music and turn it up. 

I drove for four hours from Maine to Connecticut. For the first three hours, I listened to books and podcasts and stopped for breakfast, but can't remember a dam thing about the drive. It was like every other long, forgettable distance drive.

But that last hour, heading west in Interstate 84, wind roaring through the car as Thunder Road and Satisfaction and I Wanna Be Sedated blasted from the speakers - I remember it well. 

I smile when I think back on that final hour.

And when I finally arrived home, I was energized. When I stepped out of my car, I was almost running to see Elysha and the kids. Part of it was the excitement of seeing them after a night away, but a bigger part was that I was excited and happy and filled with music. 

What a joyous, riotous feeling.   

Escape your climate-controlled bubble. Let the wind mess up your hair. Blast your music in the way you did when you were a teenager and understood the power and importance of song.

Grab hold of a some of that primacy again. 

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Eric Carmen's "Make Me Lose Control" is weird on many, many levels, including being inexplicably stuck in my head.

Standing in McDonald's yesterday morning, waiting to order, a song came on the sound system that I couldn't immediately identify but oddly knew by heart.

I started singing along and was shocked to discover I knew every single word.  

The song was Eric Carmen's "Make Me Lose Control." It was originally released in 1975 and then re-released following the success of Carmen's "Hungry Eyes" on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Apparently the song rose to #3 on the billboard charts that year, but I honestly have no recollection of ever hearing this song, and yet I know every word of it.

It's crazy.

I was never an Eric Carmen fan.
I never owned an Eric Carmen album.
It probably hasn't been played on the radio since 1990. 

Isn't that strange... knowing stuff so completing that you didn't know you knew?

A similar thing happened to me a couple years ago when I discovered that I also knew Richard Marx's "Should've Known Better" on a drive with Elysha to New York. Had you asked me if I knew the song before it came on the radio, I would've said no, but there it was, trapped in my brain.

Every damn word. 

Realizing that I knew the song caused me to watch the video, of course, which turned out to be interesting, too. 

The video opens on a beach with a woman listening to the radio. We hear a radio disc jockey and Eric Carmen listening to the end of "Hungry Eyes" and talking about the song as the scene shifts from the beach to the actual radio station. The DJ plays "Make Me Lose Control." Carmen and the DJ shake hands, and Carmen leaves.

Then the scene shifts again. Now Carmen is now driving in a car in the 1950's, recreating a famous scene from American Graffiti when Richard Dreyfuss sees a beautiful woman in a T-Bird who mouths the words, "I love you" but they never meet.

This is odd because Carmen is singing about how much he loves Jennifer, the girl presumably sitting beside him in the car. In order to mitigate this problem, the director puts three people in the car. Carmen (who oddly isn't driving) alongside a woman and a man. Perhaps we're supposed to believe the mystery woman in the T-Bird is Jennifer, but he never meets this woman but sings about Jennifer as if they've been in love for a long time.

It makes no damn sense. 

Carmen is also wearing the same clothing in the 1950's version of himself as he's wearing in the 1980's.

Also makes no damn sense.  

Now for the serious question:

Near the end of the video, we oddly flashback to the radio station for a moment, where the DJ is now throwing darts at the photo of a man on a wall.

Who is this person? Why is he throwing darts at his face? What the hell is going on here? Please tell me. 

The video then shifts back to the 1950's before once again returning to the radio station, where the DJ closes the song with classic DJ speak,  and we then return to the beach, where we hear the final bars of the song as the girl picks up her radio and heads off into the sun. 

That is a lot for a music video. That's meta before meta was a thing. 

Listening to a song being performed by its musician in the 1980's who then introduces his next song so he can go back to the 1950's to pretend to be someone else from a movie in the 1970's about the 1950's before returning to the radio station in the 1980's (absent the musician now) and finally the beach. 

Damn. 

Someone thought all of that would make for an excellent music video. 

Bruce and Clarence sharing a kiss, over and over and over again

I love these photos of Bruce Springsteen and Clarence Clemons kissing on stage, which they did routinely when Clarence was still alive and performing with Bruce.

I love these photos for three reasons:

  1. As a fan, I love witnessing the love shared between two men who I admire so much. 
  2. I love the way this expression of friendship and love runs so counter to what you'd expect from two rock and roll icons. 
  3. I love the way it enrages the bigots who love their music but are repulsed by the notion of two men kissing each other on the lips regardless of the context.   

I missed so much of '90's culture. Unfortunately?

I was listening to an interview with Bob Saget, who once starred in a show called Full House, which featured the Olson twins. 

Other than what I just stated, I know nothing about this show. I never watched the show, and I wasn't even aware of its existence until well after it had ended its run. This may not seem like a big deal, but it turns out that this show has enormous cultural relevance. 

The Olson twins, for example. They seem to be everywhere. John Oliver makes a joke about them on his HBO show all the time, and every time, I think, "Is this just a twin joke, or is there something more to this joke that I don't understand?"

There was also a guy on that show who wore terrible sweaters (I don't know how I know this or if it's even true) and a bunch of other kids, and Bob Saget, of course, who I know as a comic who tells jokes that are definitely for an adult audience only but who somehow appeared on a TV show with little twin girls. 

The show is a mystery to me.  

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I have similar problems with almost all of television, film, and music from the time when Full House was on the air. 

Boy Meets World, for example. I once worked with an attorney whose son was a star of the show, but I had no idea that the show even existed. I also work with a teacher named Mr. Feeney. When I mention his name to people, they often laugh and say, "Like Boy Meets World!" 

I have no idea what they are talking about. 

This is because from 1992 until about 1994, I didn't own a television. I was homeless and then living with a family of Jehovah Witnesses, working two full time jobs in order to pay the attorney who would represent me in court during the trial for a crime I didn't commit.  

Then, from 1994 until 1999, I was attending two colleges full time (earning two degrees) while managing a McDonald's restaurant full time and working in the college writing center part-time. I was also Treasurer of the Student Council, President of the National Honor Society, and columnist for the school newspaper. 

In 1997, I launched my DJ company with my partner.

Looking back, I really don't know how I did it all. But one way was to stop consuming almost all media.  Almost all popular culture from 1992-1999, and especially from 1992-1994, is lost to me. 

This means I have no understanding about things like Saved By the Bell, Family Matters, Northern Exposure, Twin Peaks, Home Improvement, The Wonder Years, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and many more.

I've managed to catch up on Seinfeld, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Friends, but not until much later.

I missed out on all those 90's slacker films like Dazed and Confused, Clerks, and Reality Bites. I missed classics like Boys in the Hood, Pulp Fiction, and The Usual Suspects. I've since caught up on many of these films, but it turns out that if you're not watching a movie like Reality Bites in the early 1990s or Clerks when Kevin Smith is still a relative unknown, it's just not the same. 

I missed out on the rise of bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day and Radiohead. Again, I caught up with them later on, but if you're not listening to Nirvana in the '90's, you can't help but feel a little detached to what they are singing about.

And then there are shows like Full House. I'm never going to watch an episode of that show. Even if I had the time, I can't imagine that it's worth my time. Instead, I will move through life slightly lost, wondering if the Olson twins were two separate characters on the show or body doubles for each other.

Wondering why so many children live with three men and one woman.

Wondering if Uncle Jessie is a Full House reference (he seems to get mentioned in conversation surrounding this show) or a reference to the Uncle Jessie from The Dukes of Hazard. 

Wondering how a foul-mouthed comic like Bob Saget got cast to appear on a show alongside so many children. 

Things I do #12: I worry about people mentioned in songs who are frozen in time.

I first heard Jonathan Coulton's song "Code Monkey" about ten years ago. It's a song about a lovelorn computer programmer who is pining over an office receptionist. 

After offering a soda to the receptionist and being told that she is too busy to chat, Code Monkey slinks back to his cubicle, "not feeling so great."

The final set of lyrics before the chorus go like this:

Code Monkey think someday he have everything
Even pretty girl like you
Code Monkey just waiting for now
Code Monkey say someday, somehow

Tragic. Right. Code Money is waiting for "someday, somehow."

How many people in this world spend their whole lives waiting for "someday, somehow?"

Ever since I first heard this song, my heart has ached for Code Monkey. Coulton's song has trapped him in this moment of yearning, dreaming, and loss.

Does Code Monkey ever escape the mindless drudgery of his job? The disregard of his superiors? Does he find the creativity that he desires to badly? Does he ever get his pretty girl?

It's stupid and ridiculous and a little embarrassing, but my heart breaks every time I hear this song, not for the Code Monkey of the song but for the Code Monkey beyond the song. The future Code Monkey.

Does he make his dreams come true? I want to know. I need to know. "Someday, somehow" are words that haunt me. 

Here's the truth:

I don't think he does. I don't think Code Monkey gets everything. So few people do.

And it breaks my heart. Every single time. 

Crazy. I know.  

When you think the awful cover is the original song

Have you ever discovered that a song you love by a particular band or singer is actually the cover of a much more famous (and better) version of the song?

I hate that. 

I'm not talking about the covers that few people know about. Like Joan Jett and the Blackheart's I Love Rock n' Roll, which is actually the cover of a song by The Arrows. Or Soft Cell's Tainted Love, which is the cover of a Gloria Jones song. Or The Clash's I Fought the Law, which is a cover of a Bobby Fuller Four song.

These are obscure and understandably missed. Also the covers are much better than the originals.  

I'm talking about the embarrassing mistakes. The glaring errors. The classic songs that you simply didn't know existed. 

For me, the most embarrassing song is The Drifter's Under the Boardwalk, which I once thought was a Bruce Willis original from his 1987 album The Return of Bruno. 

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Almost as bad was once thinking that Sitting on the Dock of the Bay was a Michael Bolton original. Forgive me, Otis Redding. I was young and foolish. 

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These are not the only two. The following examples are not quite as egregious but still fairly stupid. In some cases, one could argue that the covers of some of these songs are better than the originals, but the originals are certainly good enough to be known:

  • Mistaking Hazy Shade of Winter as a Bangles' original
  • Mistaking Killing Me Softly as a Fugees' original 
  • Mistaking Do You Want to Dance as a Ramones' original (it's actually a cover of a Beach Boys song, which itself is a cover of a Bobby Freeman song)
  • Mistaking Respect as an Aretha Franklin original 
  • Mistaking Twist and Shout as a Beatles original 

Here's one I just learned about:

Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You is the cover of a Dolly Parton original.

Elysha knew this, but she is a legitimate musical savant when it comes to these things, so there's no telling if this is common knowledge or just Elysha being Elysha. 

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Lyric Problems: Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven is a Place on Earth"

Belinda Carlisle claims again and again in her 1987 Billboard #1 hit "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" that:

"They say in heaven, love comes first."

No, they don't. This is not a commonly used (or ever used) expression. No one says this. This song is the only place where these words are spoken.

In fact, I ran a search on the King James Bible. The three words "love comes first" do not appear sequentially anywhere in The Bible.

Also, who are "they?"

Donald Trump is fond of say that "People are saying this..." and "They say that..." but he's lying every single time. Absent of an actual, quotable human being, Trump claims that people are speaking in his favor but is incapable of pointing to any specific person. 

I'm not attempting to compare Belinda Carlisle to Donald Trump, and I understand that there's a big difference between the veracity of the President of the United States and a musician. Carlisle didn't even write the song. That credit goes to Rick Nowels and Ellen Shipley.

Still, "they" don't say in heaven that "Love comes first." Not as far as I can tell.  

That lyric has annoyed me for 30 years. 

Lyric Problems: Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"

Carly Rae Jepsen's 2016 hit song "Call Me Maybe" was a favorite of mine during the summer and fall of that year as it packed floors at weddings where I was working as a DJ.

But I have one problem with the song. One niggling complaint. 

The chorus of the song goes:

Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to look right at you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

"This is crazy?" I don't understand what is "crazy" about the scenario described. You meet someone who you find attractive, so you ask for or offer your phone number in hopes of reconnecting. 

This is not crazy. It's normal. It's how dating works. Right?

Or it's how dating worked when I was dating. Many a time I met a girl at a party or a dance club or the beach or the mall or a concert or Disney World or the the produce section in the Stop & Shop in Attleboro, MA or a rest area on I-95 in New Hampshire or a liquor store in Myrtle Beach (to name a few), and after talking for a while, I asked if I could have her number and call her sometime. 

Not crazy. Just dating. Right?

Lyric Problems: Rachel Platten's "I'll Stand By You"

Rachel Platten is a popular female soloist who is best known for her anthem Fight Song but also for her almost equally popular I'll Stand By You.

I like I'll Stand By You, but I have a serious problem with a specific lyric that ruins the song for me. 

Platten sings:

Oh, truth, I guess truth is what you believe in
And faith, I think faith is helping to reason

No, Rachel. Your definitions of truth and reason suck. They aren't even close.

In fact, "truth is what you believe in" is one of the biggest problems in our country today. 

Truth is not what you believe in. Truth is verifiable fact. It is fixed and immutable, regardless of what Donald Trump may want you to think..

As many times as Trump may say that his inauguration crowd was historically large or Barack Obama wasn't born in America or his most recent healthcare bill failed to pass because a GOP Senator was in the hospital, none of these things are truth, even if Trump wants you to believe them.

Even if Trump believes them.

And "faith is helping to reason?" 

No, Rachel. Also not true. Faith is the belief and a trust in something or someone absent verifiable fact. Faith is what you belief in. It a belief in the love of a parent, the bond of friendship, or the existence of a god or gods. 

It has nothing to do with reason. Nothing at all. In fact, if the definitions in her song were reversed and read:

Oh, truth, I guess truth is helping to reason
And faith, I think faith is what you believe in

... this would make sense. Maybe not complete sense, but a lot closer than how Platten sings the song. 

And honestly, I have to wonder:

WAS NO ONE LISTENING WHEN SHE RECORDED THIS SONG?

No producer or fellow musician or audio technician or manager or agent or record executive heard the stupidity in these two lyrics and said, "Hey Rachel, hold on there a minute. I'm not sure if that makes sense. Actually, I know it makes no sense whatsoever."

I like I'll Stand By You. I really do. At least until I hear those dumbass definitions.  

Someone wrote a song about me! About me!

Spotify recently added podcasts to its offerings. Wondering if my podcast, Boy vs. Girl, had been added, I asked Alexa, our Amazon Echo, to play Boy vs. Girl.

She told me that she couldn't find it on Spotify.

Then I asked her to play "Matthew Dicks," hoping it might pick up my name as one of the hosts of the podcast. 

"Playing Matthew Dicks on Spotify."

Then Spotify began playing a song about me

You can imagine my shock. Also my glee. 

It's a song produced by the Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library in conjunction with a TEDx Talk I gave in Somerville back in 2014 about the importance of saying yes.

I had no idea it existed. I was fairly exuberant about its existence. Elysha was also exuberant but became less so as I continued to play the song and express my excitement, pride, and lust for the tune.

I may have become insufferable in the span of about 15 minutes.

Still, a song about me! Mistakenly discovered on Spotify! I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

When you put things out into the world (in this case, a TEDx Talk), you never know what will come back to you. 

Lyric Problems: Van Halen's "Jump"

"Lyric Problems" is a new, reoccurring segment on this blog in which I point out a serious problem in a set of well known lyrics.

Today I'm talking about Van Halen's "Jump," a 1983 hit by Van Halen.  

Following the first chorus of the song, David Lee Roth sings the following lines:

Aaa-ohh Hey you! Who said that?
Baby how you been?

Did you see that? In the middle of the song, Roth suddenly breaks into at least two separate personalities that briefly converse with each other.  

The first says, "Aaa-ohh Hey you!"

The second asks, "Who said that?"

Then presumably the first answers with "Baby how you been?"

In listening to the song, it sounds as if Roth is surprised by the lyric he has just sung, as if it emerged whole and complete from some mysterious part of his psyche.

It's weird. It's dumb. I always feel stupid singing along to it. 

If you watch the video, you'll see David Lee Roth sing these lines around the 1:25 mark. It's clear that he doesn't exactly know how to handle them either. 

 

 

 

I never saw The Ramones in concert. It kills me.

Last night my family attended an outdoor concert at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, CT. It's a summer tradition that we love. The band closed the show with The Ramones' Sedated.

I took the opportunity to grab Clara and teach her how to dance to punk music on the green grass under the dying light of the setting sun.

One of those moments I won't ever forget.  

I don't have many regrets in life, and those that I do have were mostly out of my control.

  • I failed to achieve Eagle Scout because of a near-fatal car accident at the time of my Eagle project made it impossible for me to complete the project despite all other requirements being complete.
  • I wasn't able to attend college immediately after high school, missing out on that quintessential college experience, because I was forced to move out after graduation and support myself.
  • I didn't continue to ride horses despite riding at a very early age because my parent's divorce resulted in the removal of the horses from our home and left me growing up on a horse farm absent of horses
  • I wasn't able to pole vault during my senior year because of the aforementioned car accident
  • I don't know my father very well and have spent little time with him since childhood, mostly because he disappeared from my life

Then there are a few regrets that are absolutely my fault.

Never seeing The Ramones in concert was one of them. 

It's inexcusable. It was simply the result of the stupid assumptions that there would always be a next time. The band would tour again. I'd catch them next year.

Then the band broke up in 1996, and by 2004, three of the four members of the band were dead. The last, Tommy Ramone, died in 2014. I can't believe that those boys are all gone.  

I will never see The Ramones in concert. It kills me.

As I held Clara's hands and jumped and smiled and laughed, I couldn't help but think, "What the hell was wrong with you? How did you never see these guys play? You're so stupid."

It's something I've said to myself many times.

When it comes to regret, The Ramones are my north star. They serve as my reminder of how fleeting opportunity can be. They are my admonition that I need to do things no matter how hard or inconvenient they may be before I can't do them anymore.

Last summer I came down with a bad case of pneumonia. I also had tickets to the Guns 'n Roses concert at Gillette Stadium. I went to the concert despite doctor's orders and the fact I couldn't walk 100 yards without running out of breath. 

Even though I had seen Guns 'n Roses before, what if this was the last time they ever toured? What if this was my last chance to hear Welcome to the Jungle and Paradise City performed by the actual band that made those songs iconic?

I didn't want to find myself dancing in the grass to Sweet Child 'O Mine in ten years, knowing that the band had broken up or died in a plane crash or gotten too old to play anymore, and I missed my chance to see them one more time. 

I sat for the entire concert. I sang along quietly and clapped like I was at a golf tournament. 

I'll never forget that night, either.

That's the goal, people. Pile up the moments that you will never forget, and before you know it, you'll have a lifetime of happiness and joy and hopefully very little regret. 

The Macarena is fine. It's these two songs that I despise.

I was asked by someone on Facebook if, as a wedding DJ,  I'm sick of the Macarena. 

Honestly, I'm not. I explained that even though I have led thousands of wedding guests in the Macarena over the years, I almost never get tired of a song that fills a dance floor with wedding guests.

When I'm not working as a DJ, I despise the Macarena, and I think that all of the songs that cause people to dance identically are stupid (including country line dancing). The purpose of dancing is not to establish military-like uniformity but to express yourself through rhythm and movement.

If you want to dance in perfect unison, audition for a musical at your local community theater. 

I like to imagine that if aliens were to land on the dance floor in the midst of a Macarena, they would determine that Earth has no intelligent life and leave immediately or vaporize us in fear that uniform dancing might spread to their planet. .  

Truthfully, however, the Macarena is almost never played anymore. If a bride and groom don't ask for it, we don't play it.

No, the songs that I despise as a DJ are the songs that clients request that never result in bodies on the dance floor. These are songs almost always requested by brides, and are often found on movie soundtracks.

The worst offenders are "I Say a Little Prayer" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." 

"I Say a Little Prayer" took off after it was featured twice in My Best Friend's Wedding, and it's been requested ever since. It doesn't matter what version of this song is requested. It never works. It's a sing-along song without an adequate beat to inspire dancing.

At best, women stand on the dance floor and sing it to each other. 

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough" is essentially the same song. It's a excellent sing-along, but it's stuck somewhere between a fast song and a slow song, leaving wedding guests uncertain about how to handle it.

Usually they just head to the bar.

Both of these songs are also likely to drive most men off the dance floor, which cuts the possible dancers in half. For a song like "I Will Survive," this is fine, because women will undoubtedly dance to this song, but the same can't be said for these two songs.

Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" is similar to these songs. It's somehow become a female power anthem that is hard to dance to and usually result in women half dancing, half talking on the dance floor, waiting for the next song to arrive.

"Gold Digger" is also a song that shouldn't be played at a wedding unless ironically, both because of the lyrics and because it's also hard to dance to. 

When it comes to being a wedding DJ, the songs you want to hear in real life are very different than the songs you play for wedding guests. But as long as the dance floor is full and people are happy, I'll play just about anything with pleasure. 

Rachel Platten has it all wrong when it comes to truth and faith, and I have no idea why.

Rachel Platten's  "Stand By You" is a lovely song that my kids enjoy quite a bit, but there's a pair of lyrics in the song that trouble me deeply and should trouble you, too:

Oh, truth, I guess truth is what you believe in
And faith, I think faith is helping to reason
 

 

Let's just be clear: 

Truth is not what you believe in. Truth is accuracy comprised of incontrovertible facts. Truth cannot be refuted by personal preference or belief, despite what the President may think.  

The idea that truth can be whatever the hell you want it to be is partly why we are in the mess we are today. The idea that truth is malleable depending upon need is a frightening concept. 

What the hell were you thinking, Rachel Platten? WHY DID YOU SING THESE LYRICS? And please don't tell me that she didn't write the song, because as soon as you agree to sing the words, you own them. She could've just as easily said, "Hey! Wait a minute! This definition of truth in my song is insane!"

Also, she is listed as one of the writers of the song. She really owns these words.  

And "faith is helping to reason?" I have no idea what the hell that even means, but it's certainly not the definition of faith. It's not even close. I don't even think this lyric makes rationale sense.

In fact, the correct definition of faith is bizarrely close to Platten's definition of truth. In fact, had she simply reversed the words in these two lyrics, the song would make a hell of a lot more sense:

Oh, faith, I guess faith is what you believe in
And truth, I think truth is helping to reason
 

I'm still not a fan of the second lyric, but it's better than before, and now the first lyric actually makes perfect sense. Maybe the song wasn't written incorrectly. Maybe she just sung it incorrectly. Perhaps she transposed the words while recording and no one noticed.

Either way, I routinely remind my children after listening to this song that the definitions of faith and truth in that song are not right. I suspect that they may be sick of hearing it by now, but I am sick of hearing these two stupid, inaccurate, illogical lyrics sung over and over and over again, especially when it would have been so damn easy to correct them.  

Things About Me #6

I can sing all of the words to the theme song for Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears, a Saturday morning cartoon that ran from 1985-1991. 

The math on this is a little disconcerting, given that I was 14 years old in 1985. 

I can also sing the theme songs to the first two seasons of Star Blazers, an American animated television series adaptation of the Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato. When I was watching it in the early 1980's, it was an after school cartoon on the UHF stations.  

The fact that these two theme songs are also embedded in my mind is disconcerting.