Monday, October 02, 2006

Radio kaka

In many of the musical memes you've seen hither and yon, there's a category for dreadful music - songs that grate, annoy, vex, irk, or generally sound like cats on meth. But I had mercifully forgotten today's Dreadful Song until it slouched onto my radio a couple of days ago and made me ill.

Friends, I give you "At This Moment" by Billy and the Beaters.

(If you're drawing a blank you're one of the lucky ones. You should probably put this blog down now and have a snack or something, and come back tomorrow.)

Even when I first heard this song many moons ago, I couldn't really get the point. "OK, so your heart's broke..." Certainly it's possible to handle that sort of thing well - but Billy wants us all to suffer with him, so he has to go way over the top with the lyrics, with the music, with the whole vocal performance.

Bill, here's a hint: she don't love you no more because you're wailing all the time. The Beaters probably don't like you either, but they stuck with you because you could handle key changes and the amps all fit in your Custom Van. This is how you repaid them, and all of us. Now they can't get gigs at the Kiwanis picnic, for crying out loud. The drummer doesn't even put this down on his resume anymore; he tells interviewers that he spent six years in a Turkish prison because it's less horrifying.

Maybe it didn't seem so bad on paper. The band laid down the keyboard, muted the drums, kept it soft and rueful, and then called it a day. Then you breezed in, sang, added that pointless saxaphone krep, mixed it - and when they heard it they were aghast. Too late, fellas. Worse, it got picked up on "Family Ties" and the producers used it every time Alex P Keaton got weepy about whatserface that didn't want to sign a long-term TV contract so they sent her character backpacking across Europe, or something. And every time they heard it, they saw him moping, and died a little bit more in their souls.

Alex, the rest of the Keatons were too squishy marshmallow to tell you this, but man up. Geez, even the emo kids thought you should grow a pair. And what the hell would make you (or any actual person) use these lyrics to convince a girl to stick around? No woman is going to say to herself, Gee, he's even more immature and effeminate than I thought - sign me up. Then there's the big dramatic offer - "If you stay, I'd subtract 20 years from my life!" Yup, turn around, baby.

Who on earth thinks that it's romantic to widow one's true love twenty years sooner? Arrrrrgh.

I found two other versions, by the way: Tom Jones, and Clay Aiken. That says it all, don't it? (Confidential to Clay - COMB YOUR HAIR. It's the album cover: it may be the thing that convinces people to buy the album before they notice that you sang At This Moment on it.)

It's your turn, dear readers - anyone else guilty of audio assault should be named below.

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