Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekend Listomania (Special That's Not Funny, That's Sick!!! Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to the Japan Monkey Center where between swills of hot rice wine we'll also be air-lifting space heaters to freezing Madagascar lemurs. As a result, posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a few days.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

You know -- one that's in ridiculously bad taste, politically obnoxious, or just annoying on some level other than aesthetics.

Okay, here's my top of my head Top Ten:

10. The Bouoys -- Timothy

I don't know what's creepier -- the fact that it's a bubblegum song about cannibalism, or that it was written by Rupert Holmes.

9. Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler -- Ballad of the Green Berets

Next stop is Vietnam!! Whoopee, we're all gonna die! BTW, Sadler went on to be a noted collector of Hitler memoribilia.

8. Dickie Lee -- Laurie (Strange Things Happen)

The ultimate teenage death song, with the added sick twist that she's a ghost. Think "The Sixth Sense" for morons.

7. Frank and Nancy Sinatra -- Something Stupid

Or as we used to call it back in the day, "The Incest Song." 'Nuff said.

6. G.G. Allin -- Needle Up My Cock

This guy had so many tender love madrigals it's hard to pick one. Of course, he did have the good grace to actually die for our sins....

5. Napoleon XIV -- They're Coming to Take Me Away (HaHa)

Me, I think this one's funny, but actual crazy people disagreed and got it banned in some markets. Interesting....

4. Madonna -- Open Your Heart

42nd Street peep show jerkoff palaces as a cute rite of passage for adolescent boys? Yuk. This is the video I show people when they tell me how smart Madonna is....and yes, I know it sold.

3. The Crystals -- He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)

Let's hear it for spousal abuse!!! Seriously, Carole King wrote this as a sort of protest song, but producer Phil Spector kind of missed the point (in retrospect, not much of a shock).

2. Buju Banton -- Boom Bye Bye

Granted, there's a large selection of offensive hip-hop and rap records out there, but this one, which suggests it might be a good idea to off gay men, kind of screamed for inclusion. Of course, in its defense, it is largely unintelligble, even with a lyric sheet.

But the hands down, most twisted sick record of all time is without question ---

1. Bobby McFerrin -- Don't Worry, Be Happy

"Ain't got no place to lay your head/Somebody came and took your bed/Don't worry, be happy..."

Tell that to a real homeless person, asshole. Seriously -- as my old colleague Glenn Kenny famously wrote about this song in the Village Voice, there's only one possible response to it:

Fuck. You.

Okay -- what are your faves?


NYMary said...

BTW, Sadler went on to be a noted collector of Hitler memoribilia.

"went on to"?

How about Josie Cotten's "Johnny, Are You Queer?" I loved it back in the day, but in retrospect, it's pretty goddamn offensive.

Anonymous said...

The Beatles' 'Run For Your Life' is pretty horrid...


NYMary said...

And the Ramones' "Beat on the Brat"... said...

"Let the eeeeeagle soar! Like she's never sooooooared before!" OK I guess that one doesn't count, since no one besides John Ashcroft has sung it.

I always hated Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten," his gung-ho, pro-war anthem.

"Some say this country's just out looking for a fight
Well, after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right..." Dooood, can we at least fight someone who was responsible for 9/11, not any kid on the block??

philostopher said...

"No kiddin' I'm ready to fight
I been lookin' for my baby all night
When I get her in my sights,
Boom boom -- out go the lights!"

I hadn't listened to the lyrics until a couple of years ago. This song played over and over and over on album rock radio back in the Stone Age, when I was in high school. Thanks for helping another generation of people think it's appropriate for men to beat up women for behaving in ways they don't approve, Pat.

Anonymous said...

Well, "Every Breath You Take" is actually pleasant aesthetically, but lyrically? Not so much ...

"Ode to Billie Joe" gives me the creeps, too.

And for a video that pretends to be erotic but is just flat-out tasteless (and, sadly, boring), you can't beat Madonna's "Justify My Love."

Anonymous said...

Though I've been a Dylan fan for decades now, his Jerry Falwell phase turns me off completely. Who can forget his lovely "Property of Jesus?"

He's the property of Jesus/Resent him to the bone/You've got something better/You've got a heart of stone

Nothing like a little Christian supremacy with your rock 'n' roll.

Anonymous said...

I think the Grand Prize for Wank n Roll has to go to Nugent:

Wang Dang Sweet Poontang
Thunder Thighs (Don't sit on my face, bitch, don't sit on my face!(?!?))

The verses in "Don't Worry, Be Happy" make for a perfect mashup with 4 Non-Blondes' "What's Up?", btw.

Anonymous said...

People often complain about the preachiness of Dylan's "Christian" phase, but "The Times They are a-Changin'" is much worse, a blast of conceited self-righteousness that makes PF Sloan sound like the Dalai Lama. "Ballad in Plain D," from the same period, is even worse.

The album that has "Property of Jesus" on it is (I hope I'm right) "Shot of Love," which is full of great apocalyptic rockers like the title track and "The Groom's Still Waiting at the Altar," plus "In the Summertime," one of my favorite ballads.

From the beginning Dylan's weak points have been his pomposity and self-centeredness. But his best tunes balance these faults with the lyricism of his lines and his uncanny rhythmic phrasing. Gotta go - I feel a blog post coming on.

ina said...

Hey! I've been practicin' 'Something Stupid' for weeks now! Of course, I don't sing it with my dad.

And I actually like the Weasels' 'Beat Her With A Rake,' 'cause it is so damn offensive.

And how 'bout 'Having My Baby?'

Kid Charlemagne said...

Nick Lowe had a couple of tasteless tunes on "Jesus of Cool" with "Marie Provost" and "Nutted by Reality" which had the immortal opening lines:

"Well, I heard they castrated Castro."

"I heard they cut off everything he had."

TJWood said...


"Marie Provost" was the tale of a fictitious silent screen star devoured by her pet dachsund. For its part, it had that wonderful couplet in the chorus that Steve quoted in his review of the album (retitled Pure Pop For Now People in America) in 1978: "She was a winner/Who became a doggie's dinner".

I'm having trouble coming up with a real good one for this category. Let's face it, "Don't Worry Be Happy" is going to be tougher to beat than the Patriots. The only things that come to mind right now are the Frank Zappa songs "Jewish Princess" and "Catholic Girls", and it's been so long since I've heard them it's hard to remember what their author's intention was.

Anonymous said...

TJWood said...


"Marie Provost" was the tale of a fictitious silent screen star devoured by her pet dachsund. For its part, it had that wonderful couplet in the chorus that Steve quoted in his review of the album (retitled Pure Pop For Now People in America) in 1978: "She was a winner/Who became a doggie's dinner".

Marie Prevost was an actual silent screen actress who died from malnutrition after she stopped working. She did have a dachshund, who did try to awaken her by, erm, chewing on her.

How about Under My Thumb?

A couple I had thought of today are Bobby Goldsboro's Me Japanese Boy, I Love You, written by Bacharach/David. Offensive as all hell, but oddly enough covered well by the Japanese band Pizzicato Five.

Another is the awful, horrifying generation gap ode Once You Understand by Think.

And I can't wrap this up without mentioning Victor Lundberg and his spoken word album full of hippie-hating conservative rants.

TJWood said...


Thanks for the correction. The assumption that Marie Provost was (totally) fictitious was mine, not from any information I remember from Steve's review. Terrific line, terrific song, terrific album.

I was thinking about that Once You Understand song--pure manipulative dreck, as I remember. It was supposedly a major hit in the early '70's, but I don't remember hearing it a lot. It likely would have been my choice if I had.

Anonymous said...

Billy Ray Cyrus' "Indian Outlaw." There could be no more offensive an inventory of Native American stereotypes.

You can find me in my wigwam
I'll be beatin' on my tom-tom
Pull out the pipe and smoke you some

If it were "African-American Outlaw," I'm sure it would've been about watermelon.

Cleveland Bob said...

Yep Roc records is reissuing Jesus of Cool in celebration of it's 30th anniversary release date.

Loved that record.

As for offensive, it's hard to beat the Nuge, but a tip of the ol' g-string to Lux Interior and Poison Ivy for their entire oeuvre.

C'mon, where else could you get a songs like...

Hot Pearl Snatch
Hot Pool of Womaneed
Can Your Pussy Do the Dog?
and the ever faithful...

Dames, Booze, Chains and Boots.

Now of course, I loved all of that stuff.

As for wankery, I personally always hated all Van Halen and Michael Jackson vids.

dave™© said...

I'd have to nominate "D.O.A." by Bloodrock - really fucking creepy and it got a ton of AM airplay (around the same time as "Timothy," IIRC).

And in the sexist/misogynist category, I'd have to nominate "Johnny Get Angry" by Shelley Fabares (lyrics by Hal David), with the immortal chorus:

Johnny get angry, Johnny get mad
Give me the biggest lecture I ever had
I want a brave man
I want a cave man!
Johnny show me that you care, really care for me

That tinkling piano, though, is to die for!

billy b said...

The Buoys!!!!! I was in the 9th grade when that was a hit. The fate of Timothy was a huge mystery at the time and for about 2 weeks generated as much excitement as the "Paul is dead" crap on the Beatles albums.

Then we found out Tim was a mule and no one gave a hoot thereafter.

The basic track on that record is killer. That neat back-beat drum thing with the bass player raising hell. Tight. Real tight.

As for offensive tunes, hard to top the Stones paean to Allen B. Klein, "@#$%sucker Blues" (with Star@#$%^&).

Oh where can I get my @#$% !@#$%^?
Where can I get my @## #$%^&*?
I may have no money,
But I know where to put it every time

There you go Allan.

TMink said...

Anyone remember an obscure San Fran band called Aorta? They had some goofy song about a heart attack, and What's in My Mind's Eye. It was, as I dimly recall, all the promise of Bloodrock with none of the gore, or at least very little gore.


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Anonymous said...

Here's the story behind "Timothy" from

-Noam Sane

Anonymous said...

In the Open Your Heart video, Madonna is dancing under the prurient gaze of various men while the boy waits for her outside. (Take note of the Felliniesque setting, and that when she sings "I think that you're afraid to look in my eyes", we cut to the boys eyes.) Later, she comes out to find him dreaming about the women in the posters and teases him with a kiss on the lips, after which they go off together dancing down the street - dressed exactly alike. Get it? Despite the dirty job, she's still an innocent, just like he is.

Nothing profound, I'll grant; but an adolescent "rite of passage"? I just don't see it, unless you see the kiss as particularly corrupting.