Monday, November 14, 2005

Supposedly cheesy songs I like.

I don’t understand the term guilty pleasure. I’m not a guilty person by nature and if I like something I like it straight up and down and proudly. The flip side of this is that I’m quite merciless towards what I don’t like: while others might sheepishly kind of like stuff from Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne or Britney Spears (my technorati searches just went up!) everything I’ve heard from them ranks as a steaming pile of shit in my book. Music a pretty black and white, yay or nay issue with me and there’s really no room for kitch, camp or any other trendy excuse for someone’s favorite ban sucking hard.

That said, I like songs from artists that would be considered corny and what not. Not guilty pleasures so much as an occasional good song from purveyors of the suck or simply good artists that people don’t like. Here are a few of them.

50 Cent – Ghetto Q’ran

Before he went on to be a mush mouthed movie star, Fiddy was the rapper from Queens who just didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. His anger inducing single How to Rob incited retaliation from Ghostface (the hilarious Clyde Smith skit), Big Pun (thankfully not physically) and a swift lyrical kick in the nuts from Jay-Z (I’m about a dollar, WTF is 50 cents?). About a year later Ja Rule stabbed him in a recording studio setting off their beef. Ja’s about what…5’5 on tippy toes? It’s a miracle that 50 managed to escape the stigma of that guy who keeps getting punked. A big part of him escaping said stigma was Ghetto Q’ran. An extremely vivid description of the NY cocaine trade in the 80’s, Fiddy drops enough names to make Sammy the Bull blush. Rather than get called out for snitching though, 50 instead earned mucho street cred for the track’s Nas like descriptive ghetto narration. Of course, it also helped that the track featured the best chorus of the man’s career and boom bap drums that could get just about anyone’s head nodding. Sadly, this wasn’t a sign of things to come: people mentioned in the song got mad, he got shot, survived and mounted a massive pop comeback releasing untold amounts of shit. Oh well.

Guns N Roses – November Rain

This one is officially iffy since Guns N Roses are finally out of the pop-metal doghouse that Nirvana relegated them to. Their track record has always been 50% corn and 50% hilarious over the top genius akin to Queen and R Kelly (more on him later). This nearly 9 minute operatic single definitely qualifies for the later though, if only for the incredibly pretentious 2 minute introduction which ranks up there with Hanz Zimmer’s most hilarious work. By the time the track gets into ballad mode it’s hard to believe that white people really thought this was better and less contrived than disco was in the 70’s but the real kicker is how it somehow turns into an out of control growl-rocker by the end. That is if you make it that far, past extended bridges, noodling guitar solos and keyboards galore. Freddy Mercury would have been proud had he not died of aids right before/after the album’s release.

R Kelly – Trapped in the closet parts 1-12 (more forthcoming)

I won’t say much so as not to ruin anything. But I will say this: any man who can go from New Jack Swinger to Hiphop guest singer to Celine Dion and Bugs Bunny duet partner to overly sexed up masked loverman to accused child molester to gospel singer to 22 part Operatic R&B opera writer is worthy of respect. In 20 years we will be espousing the post modern genius of R Kelly as that of a man who was ahead of his time. Either that or he’s batshit loco coocoo insane. One or the other.

Wings – Live and Let Die

Paul McCartney is actually completely cool in my book. But a lot of people hate on the man’s post-Beatles career due to his increasingly light-weight songwriting. While it’s true that Macca’s Wings stuff wasn’t really important or even necessary, it wasn’t bad either for the most part and songs like this are still better than whatever else gets played at Half-time shows/Africa benefits/other events he’s payed to be at. Plus it comes with obligatory fireworks and that little reggae interlude part in the middle is hilariously out of place.

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