**UPDATE: I’ve changed the streaming music player. The link should work now**
This week’s Old School Friday theme was difficult for me. Who wants to remind themselves of Songs That Should Have Never Been Made? I mean, at the time when these songs came out—and were played 24-7 on every daggon radio station—I tried hard to put them out of my head. Now I must dredge them up again?
Also, I have a feeling this week’s theme might cause some controversy. On-line friendships may break up over this. You see, one woman’s most annoying song ever is another woman’s most inspirational song ever. One man’s makes-me-want-to-gauge-my-ears-out song is another man’s that-was-my-jam.
Oh well, might as well get to it.
First up on my play list is probably going to put me on someone’s isht list. First, the artist is, in my opinion, one of the most over-rated in all history. Second, the song itself is now forever sung (and sung poorly) by every friend’s little kid performing in front of the adults, every talent show contestant, every Auntie Mamie who you were forced to allow to sing at your wedding. It is hard to criticize these, um, singers. After all, the sentiments of the song are admirable. But by golly—must folks get so dramatic singing this song? They were probably just emulating Ms. Houston.
So there is my confession. I had a friend once tell me that my utter hatred of this song made me ineligible to claim a status as a Black woman. Well, it is a risk I must take. First up, my number one song that should never ever have been pressed to vinyl is Whitney Houston, “The Greatest Love.”
Okay, okay. In case anyone is still reading, my next pick I think a lot of people may agree on. I generally dislike any song about folks’ love for their pets. Or any song in which animals talk and behave like humans. Or any songs where animals themselves are the “singers.” Save that for children’s records. Then again, the Captain did kind of look like Cap’n Crunch (of cereal fame) and Tenille did look like she could have been the host of a Romper Room type program, so maybe I am the one in error for ever assuming “Muskrat Love” by The Captain and Tenille was meant for adults.
Next up: another one of those songs that everyone thinks they should be able to sing. There is no excuse for singing this song. There are no circumstances so dire that anyone should twist up their face in a dramatic scowl, hold the mic with both hands close to their lips, close their eyes tightly, shake their head slowly, and belt out these words. The only feelings I get when I hear Morris Albert (or anyone else) sing “Feelings” are depression, revulsion, and deep deep anxiety.
It is really, really unfortunate when an artist you like—an artist who also happens to be one of the greatest of all time—puts out a record that is so banal. I know that anyone can have an off day or an off album. But surely you have around you people who will say to you, “Uhhh, Stevie, maybe we should think a bit more about releasing this song.” For an artist known for complexity—complex lyrics, complex chord changes, complex rhythms, complex themes—this is one of the most gawd-awful simple songs ever written. It was used for a commercial (AT&T maybe?) and it sounds as if he wrote it with its ad-jingle potential in mind. I can only hope that today Stevie Wonder regrets that he ever released “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and that it became so widely infectious. (Somewhat like the plague.)
Please, y’all. (And Stevie.) Forgive me. I am trying to be honest here.
My last pick was a toss-up between two Paul McCartney collaborations, “Ebony and Ivory” (with Stevie Wonder) and “The Girl Is Mine” (with Michael Jackson). But since I already trashed one national treasure, I’ll go with the latter. Actually, I will admit that I did not despise this song when it came out. These two did look awkward together in the video. Was anyone convinced that there exists a universe where Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson would be focused on the same love interest? But that is not the reason I think that today this song never should have been released.
That reason is how bizarre this song is in light of everything we have learned about Mr. Jackson since this song’s release. This song…songs like “P.Y.T.”…his bizarre odes to his then “wife” (as well as that whole marriage sham and the infamous awkward kiss)… They’re just odd and troubling and make me sad for what Michael could have been were he not so scarred from his childhood and young adult experiences.
Well, now I will be singing these awful songs all day long. And I have forced them on you, too. Maybe I will make up for it by posting some wonderful songs over the weekend. If not there’s always “Stanky Leg” on your radio. (LOL)