Yes, it is true that most of the songs I pick are older songs. Older songs have had more time to permeate our brains and leave us pretty indifferent to the real truths behind the songs. After all, we won't know the full extent of the damage wrought by Lady Gaga and Eminem until many years from now. It's taken nearly 40 years to figure out the Rolling Stones were out to ruin our lives and subvert the American Dream. Gray flannel and sensible haircuts for everyone! That said, I take a daring poke at a couple of newer-type tunes just to show I'm awake (somewhat).
Here's where I analyze these important culture-bearing songs within an inch of their flared drumbeats. By all means, suggest songs you would like me to look into for future columns. If I can't help my readers, whom can I help? My friends? Yeah, right.
25) "Paint It, Black"--The Rolling Stones: "I see a red door and I want it painted black." As my fab g-friend Lora pointed out, Mick had no intention of doing any of the manual labor himself and some poor intern likely got stuck painting doors whatever color Jagger desired on a whim. I only feel worse for the poor sap in charge of blotting the sun out from the sky.
24) "Let It Be"--The Beatles: A cry of laziness. Why work at anything? There will be an answer. Let it Be. Can you imagine if our legal system worked this way? Oh well. Bush won Florida. No biggie.
23) "Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard"--Paul Simon: With all I've been learning from Arizona these days, it's come to my attention that Julio must be a drug dealer and that Rosie, the "Queen Of Corona" doesn't have her paperwork in order because they're saying "goodbye" to her. Me? I keep waiting for a Native American to show up on my lawn and tell me I have to go back to potato-less Ireland.
22) "Fight The Power"--Public Enemy: Who doesn't love a song that takes on the utility companies, the postal service's choice of stamps and demands to hear John Lennon's "Power to the People" with no delay? But who exactly is "Frank D'Pala" and why do they keep chanting his name?
20) "Second Hand News"--Fleetwood Mac: How quaint. These days I figure I'm getting my news at least fourth- or fifth-hand like most Americans. You start with FaceBook. You go to a link that summarizes another website. You hear that someone reported it on the news and someone else tells you it's been reported at the New York Times and you assume it must be true.
19) "Baby Come Back"--Player: Like if they get back together it'll last more than a couple weeks before he's back to watching sports at deafening volumes.
16) "Jersey Girl"--Bruce Springsteen (Via Tom Waits): Imagine being Julianne Phillips and being from Oregon and hearing Bruce sing this song each night, knowing that there's a female back-up singer in the band from New Jersey who, word had it, he dated years ago. Then a few years later, he divorces you for her. You didn't see that one coming?
15) "Livin' On A Prayer"--Bon Jovi: What kind of economic lesson is this? Gee, ma, neither one of us have decent jobs, and we'd spend more time looking for them but we're too busy praying all the time. In bed. Together. Like this.
14) "Walking On Sunshine"--Katrina And The Waves: One of the first songs about global warming and "don't it feel good"? Yeah, until the ice caps melt and start drowning the coasts, I suppose. Doesn't anyone remember the Polar Bears?
13) "Piano Man"--Billy Joel: Does anyone else find it highly ironic that Billy Joel sings this song about how dismal it can be being a piano man at a local bar and then he makes a zillion dollars and never has to go back to this dismal setting ever again while all the other unsuccessful "piano men" are stuck playing this song for all eternity?
12) "Candle In The Wind"--Elton John: I always wish the wind would just blow the damn candle out and everyone would forget about these famous people we never knew anyhow. I've got enough dead friends who surely don't wish to be serenaded by this damn song. But you look a little funny singing "Sonic Reducer" at a gravesite.
10) "Umbrella"--Rihanna: I remember when the Hollies tried this trick with the tune "Bus Stop," the old "you can share my umbrella" routine. I believe Rihanna more, because it's much more likely that a woman would remember an umbrella than a guy. We're lucky if we remember to wear pants.
9) "I Gotta Feeling"--The Black Eyed Peas: What about those times when you can sense that you're about to have a terrible night? Would these crass hitmakers have the nerve to write that song? Have they? Do they even have feelings besides the excitement of making even more money? Which is great if you're selling aluminum siding and not so great when it's music. After all that, I actually kinda like the song. I just never have a good night.
8) "U Can't Touch This"--MC Hammer: Considering how badly you've screwed up your life and career, I think I can touch anything I damn well feel like, Mr. Hammer. It just so happens I have absolutely no desire to touch anything of yours. So there.
7) "Touch Me"--The Doors: Seriously, considering where all these rock stars have been, I wouldn't be too eager to touch them. Maybe sterilize them, but nothing more. Besides, Morrison never even liked to change his leather pants. Now isn't that appetizing, ladies?
6) "Nothing Compares 2 U"--Sinead O'Connor (Via Prince): You can so tell this was before the internet made it easier to comparison shop. These days, if you start to think nothing compares to your disinterested mate, you just click on a dating site and see what someone else looked like 10 years ago and date their lame ass.
3) "Let 'Em In"--Paul McCartney And Wings: How is it that McCartney is the one who has survived all these years? With that kind of open door policy where "someone's knocking at the door so let 'em in," it's a wonder some nutjob didn't get to him first. I think the man has a moat he isn't telling us about.
2) "Sunshine On My Shoulders"--John Denver: Considering the crazy life John Denver led, it's quite possible that there was something in that "sunshine" that always made him high. When you mix it with that Rocky Mountain High, I think you have something closer to what killed John Belushi.
1) "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive"--Hank Williams Sr.: If anyone knew marketing it was Hank Williams. Who else would have the commercial sense to actually die with this song already released? Of course, if you think about it, none of us is going to get out of this world alive, which is why it's so important to speak with your tax advisor about your long-range financial goals today.