Inside Your Showroom Doors

I had the unfortunate occurrence of seeing Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” video while at the gym the other day. I’d post a clip of it, but I can’t bring myself to.

The chorus of this “song” is as follows:
“Come here, rude boy, boy, can you get it up?
Come here, rude boy, boy, is you big enough?
Take it, take it, baby, baby, take it, take it, love me, love me”

It gets more blatant.

Now, I have no problem with vulgarity, that’s not my issue with this lyrical atrocity. My problem is that it’s just not interesting. It doesn’t challenge the listener. It doesn’t evoke any type of feeling, except maybe for the delusional souls who think they have a chance at sleeping with Rihanna. Not to mention it’s not musically redeeming, either.

Now, I’m not saying that any of the songs I am going to mention are wonderful examples of brilliant songwriting,[1] but I’m just saying that at least there is some attempt at metaphor. Not to mention melody.

“You got the peaches I got the cream
Sweet to taste saccharine”
~ “Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard

“Rubbin’ sticks and stones together makes the sparks ignite”
~ “Afternoon Delight” by Starland Vocal Band

And, in the slightly more subtle department:

“If she’s put together fine
And she’s readin’ my mind
I can’t stop, I can’t stop myself
Lightning is striking again”
~ “Lightning Strikes” by Lou Christie

Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer” is possibly the most innuendo laden song I’ve ever heard:

“I want to be your sledgehammer
Why don’t you call my name
Oh let me be your sledgehammer
This will be my testimony
Show me round your fruitcage
Cause I will be your honey bee
Open up your fruitcage
Where the fruit is as sweet as can be”

And then, there’s Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin’s entire discography is about sex. Really, if it’s not about LOTR,[2] it’s about sex. Here’s the tip of the iceberg in “Trampled Underfoot”:

“Trouble-free transmission, helps your oil’s flow
Mama, let me pump your gas, mama, let me do it all

Dig that heavy metal, underneath your hood
Baby, I could work all night, believe I’ve got the perfect tools”[3]

On second thought, maybe bad metaphor isn’t really any better than no metaphor.


[1]Peter Gabriel being the obvious exception.
[2]That’s Lord of the Rings, for you unenlightened folks.
[3]Also, the song from which this entry title comes.

Hope I Die Before I Get Old

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth…

Let me first of all say that I love The Who. I think they are one of the greatest rock bands of all time. No one, absolutely no one, sounds like The Who. They are on my mind recently because they are playing in the Superbowl Halftime Show this year, despite the fact that their rhythm section is dead.

When Keith Moon died in 1978 the band continued for a few years, but it wasn’t the same. Partial reunions have taken place since then, and they released another studio album a few years ago after John Entwistle’s death in 2003, but they’re really just Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey now.

I know that when Pete Townshend left The Who in the early 80s, he told the remaining members that they could continue on with The Who name. Part of me thinks that is very noble and the right thing to do.

But, part of me thinks it’d be like Paul and Ringo performing under “The Beatles” name.

I guess the difference is that John and George both died after The Beatles broke up.

Whether you like their music or not, one of the things I admire about the remaining members of Led Zeppelin, is that when John Bonham died, they stopped: “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.” They’ve done a few reunion shows since then, but nothing significant, because it’s not the same.

I know that in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter. I know that it’s none of my business. If the living members of The Who are okay with it, then they are the only ones whose opinion matters. I guess I just don’t want people to forget Keith Moon and John Entwistle. I don’t want my generation to think that the men performing at halftime show fully embody one of the most powerful and creative rock bands of all time.