And Around. And Around. And Around.
While sitting on my tuchus being completely idle this weekend (yay!) I flicked through my Twitter stream to get caught up on what is happening out there in Interwebs land.
I came across a tweet from Penn Jillette (one half of the famous duo Penn and Teller) that said, and I quote:
“You might not want to watch this. You really might not. It’s kinda sorta dangerous funny. It hurts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpfQSqfpuac”
(if you are feeling like a laugh, go on and do a click for yourself).
So because I love and trust Penn and I needed a laugh, I clicked the link. What I found was a Taylor Swift video for the song “I Knew You Were Trouble” and in some of the high wailing parts, someone had substituted a bleating goat for the vocals.
I watched it three times. It was indeed very funny.
Just for the sake of reference, I then watched the actual video from Taylor Swift for “I Knew You Were Trouble” (well most of it anyway) and as I watched her writhing around in the dirt, I wondered to myself who this song had been written about.
It’s fairly well known that Ms. Swift likes to write such songs about broken romances. A quick Google search led me to the answer. Mr. Trouble turns out to be Harry Styles from the Brit pop boy band One Direction.
Now, as an over forty year old woman, Mr. Styles doesn’t look like an ounce of trouble to me, but I suppose I understand where she’s coming from. Who among us ladies hasn’t written pages and pages of journal entries about a romance gone wrong and maybe even some bad poetry too? I certainly have, I just didn’t have the platform that Ms. Swift enjoys for such endeavors. But I totally support her right to say what’s on her mind and be super angsty about it too.
So now that I knew Harry Styles of One Direction (by the way, doesn’t Hairy Styles sound like an awesome name for a barber shop?) was the object of this sad song, I recalled that my kid sister-in-law (not so much a kid anymore, she’s 13, it’s a long story) absolutely looooves One Direction, though her affections tend to lean toward one Mr. Liam Payne.
Then I noticed that YouTube suggested that after watching the Taylor Swift video I should watch the super hot OMG hot hot brand new song from One Direction called “One Way”.
“Why not?” I thought and gave it a click.
What presented itself to me was a video of five boys who probably aren’t old enough to have pubes singing a bee-boppy rendition of the kick ass Debbie Harry song “One Way or Another” from 1979.
You know? “One way or another, I’m going to find ya’/I’m gonna get ya’, get ya’, get ya’, get ya’/One way or another, I’m gonna win ya”
(To all whom I’ve just earwormed, I do apologize. It couldn’t be helped.)
So as these boys wriggled and mugged their way across London, I felt a sadness in my heart. I emitted a sorrowful sigh.
The tough as brass song written by the beautiful and punk rock Debbie Harry is now being autotuned and smoothed up for a boy band. The catchy lyrics written in the wake of a stalking ex-boyfriend are now fodder for little girl swoons and cutesy thoughts of dating a One Direction lad.
Oh boy. Er. Boys? If the song had been redone and there was a new or original take, then by all means go for it. I am not against remakes, I am, however, against remakes that take the soul out of a great song.
Certainly Ms. Debbie Harry, as the co-writer of the song is enjoying much windfall from the pop redo of her music, but damn. It hurts just a little, in my soul.
Later over breakfast, The Good Man and I discussed this song and video since it was still very much on my mind.
“I suppose it shouldn’t bother me that teens are listening to this crap because I listened to some poppy boy bands in my era. Like, for instance, Duran Duran,” I said.
But then I realized something…yes, Duran Duran was a schlocky boy band and yes I swooned over the poster I had of the five of them on my bedroom wall (John was my favorite) but at least they 1) actually played their own instruments and 2) wrote many of their own songs.
Ok, yes, fine, I know that remaking songs is a common occurrence and in some cases, the remake is WAY better than the original (Hendrix’s “All Along The Watchtower” for example). I also know that in the history of music there have been hundreds of over engineered boy (and girl) acts doing their soulless little dance with deadened eyes and walking down a life map that probably leads to either ultra-thumping-Christianity or deep and abiding drug use…or both. And I know I can’t stop it, nor should I try.
But I also can’t help seizing up a little whenever I hear great music so profoundly bastardized.
My thirteen year old sister-in-law is actually an excellent musician in her own right and I have to trust that over time she will learn to see that you can have both quality music written and played by the musican AND a hot guy to look at. Jim Morrison springs to mind, but let’s see if I can come up with someone more current….I know, how about Bruno Mars or even Jason Mraz?
Losing argument, I know. As long as there are dollars in auto tuning them thar children, the shlock pop is always going to keep coming around.
Shaddup Grandma! One Direction is the best band ever!
Image from the spydersden blog