Friday, December 1, 2017

Bad Tunes

What makes a song a really bad song?   There are so many ways to get there:

  • Maudlin
  • Derivative
  • Novelty song but not novel
  • Just plain stupid
  • Out of touch with the zeitgeist
  • Written by John Williams
But it can be a fine line.    Elvis' "Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love" is both just plain stupid and wickedly egotistical.    But Bruce Springsteen manages to pull off an amazingly high-preening couplet in:   

I had skin like leather and the diamond-hard look of a cobra!
I was born blue and weathered but I burst just like a supernova!

The poetry overcomes the ego.   And of course the voice behind the song is not intended to be the voice of Bruce per se.

Here are some examples of terrible songs (biased, I'm afraid, towards the Top 40 of my long-ago youth):

  • Red Roses for a Blue Lady
  • Puff the Magic Dragon
  • In the Year 3535 (if man is still alive)
  • Ebony Eyes (by the otherwise impeccable Everly Brothers -- "On a weekend pass, I wouldn't have had time, to get home and marry that baby of mine ..." Boo hoo.)
  • Moon River
  • Danny Boy
  • How Much Is That Doggy In the Window?
  • If You Wanna Be Happy for the Rest of Your Life (never make a pretty woman your wife, so from my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you)
  • Crying (over you, by the often impeccable Roy Orbison)

Many, many others will come to me via the month's worth of music on my Ipod.

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