Eight Steps to the Outhouse / An ubermullet Garden of Malodorous Song / Page 2

We Didn't Start the Fire-Billy Joel

Take a third-rate lounge hack who has somehow managed to carve out a career as a boozy, polyester troubadour, and give him a drum machine stuck on "4/4 click track", a set of de-tuned bongos, and a synthesizer whose only program is "perpetual cheese". Throw in some "lyrics" that consist of nothing but a laundry list of names, places and events of the past sixty years or so, thrown together with no thought or context or even connection, save a slight nod to minimal and loose rhyming. Throw in a chorus that basically repeats a plasticized slogan of such vapid gall that even the composer has never been able to adequately explain it, and deliver in a monotone vocal that replaces passion with soul-deadening mix of mechanical recitation and utter meat-headedness.

You have this: Ground Zero of bad music. Listen at your own risk.



Escape (The Pina Colada Song)- Rupert Holmes

And now, we spoon up a huge, gloppy helping of Seventies cheese.

The music is generic, a processed "adult-contemporary" sound, the kind of mentholated soft funk that permeated the airwaves about that time. Awful stuff, but nothing to really set it apart.

The lyrics, however? Ah, there we have the raw, stinky sewage. Let's examine:


I was tired of my lady, we'd been together too long.


The most obnoxiously sexist comment to start to a song anywhere this side of the Stranglers. The forced anonymity and possessiveness of the lyric is perfectly personified in the vocal, which can best be described as "velvet douchebag", a hideous mockery of singing of that strives like hell for suave, but achieves gargled slime.


Like a worn-out recording, of a favorite song.


The first of several forced rhymes. The lyrical meter of the song, by the way, is rigidly defined, which is the mark of craftsmanship, in lieu of artistry. Concern over rhyme, meter, and pace, of course, is essential. But when one forces rhymes in through bland or just plain confusing lyrical hyperbole, with no real thought to impact or emotional resonance, it snuffs out under the weight of it's own inflexibility.


So while she lay there sleeping, I read the paper in bed.

And in the personals column, there was this letter I read:


"If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.

If you're not into yoga, if you have half-a-brain.

If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.

I'm the lady you've looked for, write to me, and escape."


Okay, so, this guy likes what he reads, here. He has either studied the profiles printed on the flip-side of the Playboy centerfold, and thinks he's in for a big score, or he really digs this stuff. Which means he probably also digs curling up on the couch with a Danielle Steele novel.

My take? This guys not looking for the perfect woman...he wants to be one.

Also, if you like being in the rain, is that really "getting caught"? Or do you walk endlessly around on cloudy days, waiting for that perfect spontaneous moment? Does the midnight thing get you so revved you drop a nut and turn over, asleep by 12:01 a.m? And if you're wanting to change and find someone with "half a brain" does that mean you're now seeking total imbeciles, instead of Nobel laureates you've had peeing in your hot tub nightly to this point?


I didn't think about my lady, I know that sounds kind of mean

But me and my old lady, had fallen into the same old dull routine.


Does this "lady" have a name? I mean, seriously, perhaps if you saw her as a person instead of an anonymous support vehicle for a vagina, things might not be so bad.


So I wrote to the paper, took out a personal ad; and though I'm nobody's poet,


Ahh, a moment of self-revelation


I thought it wasn't half-bad.

Yes, I like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.

I'm not much into health food, I am into champagne.

I've got to meet you by tomorrow noon, and cut through all this red tape.

At a bar called O'Malley's, where we'll plan our escape.


Apparently, being "into champagne" is a trait the ladies love, not just an indicator of sleepy alcoholism.

And how creepy does this sound? We'll meet and be done with the formalities by the time the drinks get there, and my plan is to whisk you away, even though we've never talked or even seen each other.

Yeah, Norman Bates, I'll bet the chicks are just rushing to get some of you. 

Oh, and if he wrote the letter "to the paper", a "personal ad", then it wasn't specifically to one person, right? So he gives all of his information on where and when to meet for this "clandestine" assignation to everyone who happens to read the paper. A genius, this guy. May as well go trawling for psychos.

And there is a bar somewhere called "O'Mally's"...who would ever think that?


So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place.

I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face.


A man with "half a brain" would've high-tailed it out of there in record time. Because...


It was my own lovely lady, and she said, "Oh, it's you."


I'm sure it's not the first time that thought has crossed her mind.


And we laughed for a moment, and I said, "I never knew"..


That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.

And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne.

If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.

You're the love that I've looked for, come with me, and escape.

GET OUT! You mean, you and her catch each other tomcattin' around, and, rather than breaking off a beer bottle on the bar at O'Malleys and circling each other looking for the soft spot, you two chuckle at the wonderment of it all, realize there is much surprise and discovery to come, and wrap up the whole thing in A BIG, OL', HAPPY, FUCKIN' BOW?

Yeah...sounds reasonable.

A word about the video for this song: it has to be seen. Not only is Holmes dressed to the nines in his sex-offender finery, he predates bad karaoke stage presence by over a decade. He neatly divides his moves between spasmodic and mechanical, and makes Ian Curtis look like Robert Plant.



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