The title is so true, yet, I don’t think of Gloria Estefan so much as I do Chandler Bing. Shout out to Matthew Perry for leaving us with this wisdom. I intend this article to speak to you in a similar vein as my last column entitled Popcorn Time. In case you missed Popcorn Time, it essentially posited that movies are a prime way we all visit other worlds rather than the esoteric means I usually get into.
Allow me to preface all this musical talk by saying that I was never a music critic like I was a movie and restaurant critic. Further, I gotta admit I have zero musical ability outside of knowing, almost at the first note, what song goes to what movie, sometimes down to the scene. Oh, and my daughter can play the Dallas theme song on the piano. She certainly didn’t get those skills from me.
I reflect to my childhood and the debates my parents would get into over who sang what and when and with whom. Back then they were talking about the music of their youth. It became the music of my youth along with Biggie, Tupac, The Eagles, and Billie Holiday.
Being native to the Shag state, my parents were usually discussing beach music. (The Shag is the state dance for all of you new to South Carolina.) The Tams, Chairman of the Board, and the Drifters come to mind. It was a natural extension from there to go to Motown’s Four Tops and Temptations. Obviously, that’s just scratching the surface from that era. At an early age, I learned such intricacies as the reason the Jan and Dean song Little Deuce Coup sounds like the Beach Boys is because they sang back-up for the Beach Boys.
For my money, if given a time machine to see a musical group in person, it’s the Temptations in their prime for me, all day, every day. One generation influences the next as Hall and Oates site the Temptations as their inspiration.
Music has the power to transport us to another time—another mood. From nursery rhymes to Taps, it’s woven into our daily lives. Music even has a scientific and mathematic element. Think binaural beats. There a whole slew of binaural beats on YouTube for a variety of different ailments out there. Check it out.
Music has the power to make us dance or cry. Y’all wouldn’t want to see me dance either, but I digress. Speaking of dancing, The Dance by Garth Brooks is my favorite song I never want to listen to. The song itself is poignant, but if you check out the video, you’ll see the Challenger crew on their final earthly walk, MLK, JFK, and John Wayne right before they died. It’s a tear-jerker.
Music can spark some friendly debate. I have heard it said that Taylor Swift is no John Lennon or Elvis Presley. Well, who is? Is there really any comparison when you are talking about humans that are clearly one of one. There was and never will be another. I feel she will be in that “one of one” category. Time will tell and she’s still a young woman that may eclipse these giants. Actually, I think Tay Tay recently broke one of Elvis’s records, so there ya go.
When one talks about powerful, other-worldly voices, I would pit Linda Ronstadt, Pat Benatar, and Stevie Nicks up against anyone. Don Henley comes to mind on the male side of earth-moving voices, but consider this: If Pat Benatar had better songs where would she stack up? No disrespect is intended here, but the question remains.
Here’s a statement that may be the third rail of the music world: Outside of Black Door Painted Red by the Rolling Stones, I don’t get their appeal. They should have been a one-hit wonder. The Stones are as overrated, in my opinion, as Springsteen. Born in the USA is so repetitive I could sing it with my non-existent musical skill. I put the band KISS in the same category. I guess they have cool make-up if you like that sort of thing. I must have missed the memo on these and a few others. I am aware readers’ collective heads just exploded across the Lowcountry. See, does that not feel like you are out of this world about now? Since we must label as the humans that we are, we’ll label this the Spice Girls category, file # 867-5309. There, you’re welcome. Macarena on!
Although I think VH-1 should do a documentary on whatever happened to Water (“cocaine is a helluva drug”—Rick James) of the group Earth, Wind, and Fire. They had some jam-up songs. As a September baby, when my daughter was younger, she thought they sang September just for her. One of my favorite TV shows of my youth that was treated like a real-life radio station was WKRP in Cincinnati. I can still see and hear Venus Flytrap spinning After the Love Has Gone with his gong in the background. I know that song is a bit of a downer, but I like it and it takes me back. Don’t forget Dr. Johnny Fever lost his job before WKRP for saying “booger” on-air. “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”
Robbie Nevil had a point when he told us C’est La Vie, that’s just the way it goes. Makes me wonder why the Devil Went Down to Georgia and not South Carolina. We have demon heat, just the same.
Let’s make it okay to like pretty things. Milli Vanilli taught us that, we must call it what it is, however. What says 80’s more than Wham? I get a smile on my face every time I hear Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. It’s an upbeat song and I think of the gas station scene in Zoolander with the “ridiculously good-looking” male models.
Hootie and the Blowfish hold a strange place in my heart. I loved them initially then hated them like people of my parents’ generation setting their disco records on fire at Comisky Park in 1979. As a student at the University of South Carolina in the mid-90’s, you could NOT get away from Hootie in Cola Town. Now, the nostalgia for my formative years has taught me a new love and respect.
Keep in mind that whole communities can be built on a song—a vibe. Margaritaville is the most literal interpretation of this notion. What are some others that come to mind?
I won’t put these artists in the Spice Girl category, but Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson and Holiday by Madonna are repetitive pieces of crap. See, our American Idols are human just like the rest of us.
It’s best I don’t get started on Bond theme songs other than to say that Duran Duran’s View to a Kill killed.
In the end, music causes passion and passionate feelings create music. It’s the pandora’s box that is available at the tap of the pandora button on your phone. Ironies never cease, do they? What worlds do your musical choices lead you to? What worlds do you desire to create from the music that is completely your own? After chaos’s dust clears, harmony is available for your choosing.