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.
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.