I just saw on TV that Michael Vick is apologizing for doing something he shouldn't have been doing. Now, I don't know Michael Vick. I'd never even heard of him until the news got out that he didn't like dogs very much. Stupid me, I thought he had something to do with Vicks Vapor Rub, that smelly crap you rub on your chest when you want to smell like an old person. Turns out he plays football. What a world!
Anyhow, it immediately made me think about songs that could act as an apology, you know, when you yourself don't have the words you want to say, you let a song say it for you. Next time Michael Vick holds a press conference, instead of stammering and trying to figure out what to say, he could break out a boombox and hit "play" on any one of these songs and he would immediately be forgiven. And he wouldn't have to use Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" to do it!
All Apologies": The thing I liked about Nirvana was how that Cobain kid would always look so annoyed no matter what was going on. He hated selling records. He hated performing for large crowds. But he wasn't happy before he was famous and no one cared. Then he marries his little ray of sunshine and he's being carted off to the hospital for a drug overdose. Then he blows his head off. Crap. If only he'd found something productive to do with his time, like needlepoint!
Ben Vaughn--"I'm Sorry (But So Is Brenda Lee)": Most people know this by that other swingin' rock dude, Marshall Crenshaw. Brenda Lee had a hit when she was below the legal driving age in most states with a song called--can you guess?--"I'm Sorry." Guys who spend way too much time collecting records and obsessing on useless musical trivia eventually write songs that make reference to these sorts of things. Who can forget "Alone Again Naturally (and whatever Arthur Lee says, I say too)" by Gilbert O'Sullivan?
Husker Du--"Sorry Somehow": Revisionist history being what it is, Husker Du are now legends of alternative rock. And, in a sense, this is true. But it was a very small world back then. The alternative nation meant 200 people at a small rock club just outside New York City half the time. Besides, much like today, it wasn't that hard to be pretty good because nearly everything else completely sucked. But they did write good, catchy tunes and then covered them up with so much noise that you could barely hear them. When they finally toned it down enough to hear the vocals, their fans complained because now you could tell what was going on. Did I mention that music fans are weird?
American Music Club--"Apology For An Accident": Here's a band who got great reviews--especially from ME--and never sold any records. How could they? I liked them. What really made these guys great was how they screwed everything up constantly and then spent most of their time apologizing for their screw-ups. So finally they just started recording songs that took their apologies directly to the people, cutting out any potential middleman. And you know? They still didn't sell any records! But, boy, were they great. "I'm an expert at all things that nature abhors / the look of disgust as I touch your skin." Can these guys party or what?
I'm Sorry": My friend Jerry once dated a girl who loved John Denver and forced him against his will to attend a John Denver concert. My friend Jerry never recovered. To this day, he is an angry, bitter old man who knows things could've turned out differently. But they didn't. And no amount of apology, no sincere regret on anyone's part, can change the fact that John Denver, inadvertently but decisively, ruined his life. So while it's nice that Denver offers up his sympathies, it doesn't change the course of human events.
- Michael Vick