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I Hate Bad Music

by Paul Feig
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I hate bad music.

I don't dislike it. It doesn't bother me or annoy me. It doesn't make me go, "Gee, that music's bad."

No, I hate it. I despise it.

It's beyond making me wish it wasn't there. I instead find myself wishing terrible things upon the perpetrators of this harmonic pollution and have visions of myself destroying the audio system upon which the offending "song" is being played. I rethink my opinion of a human race that would not only tolerate such music but whose majority of members would agree that the music in question is actually good and something they have decided to listen to over and over and associate good memories with and sing along to in their cars and drive to a record store and use their hard-earned money to purchase.
In short, the songs that move the world to bond in brotherly and sisterly love move me to become a bad guy from a James Bond film, whose plan involves sitting on my own island fortress with some form of Doomsday machine which I will engage unless the world brings me the heads of its "Top 40" hitmakers. I wouldn't see myself as an evil person, just one who knows better than the people of Earth that what they think they like they really don't like. I'll save them from a life of stupidity, bad taste and musical ineptitude. I'll be their hero eventually, the stern parent whom they hate as children but whom they eventually grow to realize was only looking out for their best interests.

In other words, I hate bad music for all the people of the world.

But especially I hate it for myself.

There's so many examples of songs I've been trapped and held hostage by in any number of clothing stores or fast food restaurants or malls or had to be subjected to by the guy who leaves his car on and the stereo playing full blast as he fills his tank so that I'm trapped in his stereo's vicinity, the same way a dog who's moving his bowels can't move until he's finished, that I can't possibly name them all. Nor do I know the names of either the songs or "artists" of these aural travesties to identify them positively (I can only say that most of them have been part of the regular play list at KIIS-FM). And so I'm forced to use as an example the one song I've been held hostage by more times than an unarmed bank guard.

And that song is Whitney Houston's' "I Will Always Love You" (as heard in the film, "The Bodyguard").

If I had a dime for every time I'd sat down to a meal or been pants-less in a Gap fitting room or stuck in a long check-out line and heard the sad, accapella beginning to that song and had to sit through the entire thing all the way through to its "Whitney's yelling at me" finale, I'd be about a thousand dollars richer.

I know that I risk sounding like a guy who's complaining about something out of date, like a bad comedian who can't stop doing his Watergate jokes, but, my friends, it happens to me almost weekly. In fact, it happened to me today at Arby's (Why was I at Arby's, you ask? Well, uh, I like it. And don't go off about how years ago they used to hand carve the meat off an actual slab of real roast beef because it just ain't true. Arby's always has been and always will be a block of pressed roast beef food product -- but damn it's good!).

There I was enjoying my Giant and fries when Whitney started up. I know she's going through some hard times now but I can't help but think that they could take her off the Easy Listenin' playlists for at least a couple of months. Hell, I'll send her a couple of bucks if it'd mean I'd get a short reprieve from that freakin' song. I'm trapped, held hostage by Whitney unless I decide to chuck my lunch and cut my losses. But I'm far too cheap to do that and so I have to spend the next five minutes in torment, suffering like a POW getting his fingernails pulled out by the Viet Cong. And the final half of the song really does feel like Whitney's yelling at me, telling me like Andy Capp's wife after he's come home late that she will indeed Always Love Me. By the time it's over, my nerves are frazzled and my day is ruined. And then it'll go into that mind-numbing Barbie Girl song.

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's because I'm a musician that I can't tune it out, that I find myself listening to every note and drum beat and vocal extravaganza that Whitney subjected the studio engineer to that one day that has now turned into a multi-year torturefest for me. She only had to hear herself sing it a couple of times but I've had to remain strapped to the mast of my ship with her siren song pumped into my ears like Hamlet's father getting a load of poison in the cochlea. It's not fair, I tell you. How many drum machines and samples of songs I used to like being turned into songs I hate and sappy, well-harmonized love songs do I have to be subjected to before my captors come in and say, "All right, Frank, turn it off. I think he's had enough for one day."

Friends, I come to you not with a solution but only with a plea for a cure. If you're in a store and bad music is on, lodge a complaint. Don't come off like an old person who doesn't like "that jungle music." No, come across as the person who's hipper than them, the person who's seen it all and done it all and has come to the conclusion that the music they're listening to is a waste of time, a corporate product they've been brainwashed into liking. Go to the record store and bring them back a Cracker CD and say, "Here, peace be with you, brother/sister." Set them right. Save the other patrons. Save yourselves.

Life is too short to have it snatched away in three to five minute chunks by the record companies and entertainment corporations of the world. You'd walk out of a bad movie, wouldn't you? So why not demand your aural environment to be as clean as the water you drink or the air that you breathe?

Music lovers of the world unite! Music is a privilege, not a right.

They'll get my earplugs when they pry them out of my cold, dead hands.

Good luck.