Why must you be so user-friendly I buy entire Wilhelm Scream albums?

I recently purchased two CDs at Wax Trax, a local independent record store that used to be the source of virtually all my ska and punk CDs because it used to be that you couldn’t find them anywhere. Since the MP3 boom several years ago, trips to Wax Trax and stores like it have decreased for me, and when I paid $37 for my two new discs, I remembered why.

I could have bought these same items for less than $20 on iTunes, so essentially I’m paying $17 for mediocre cover art and liner notes I could have probably found online. This availability does come at a price however. It means you’ve probably bought a fair share of weird crap, horrible crap, and other assorted crap you never listen to 10 minutes after purchase. The impulse buy is easier than ever, and I’m here to show you my music buying misjudgments. Come inside and I’ll show you that iTunes is responsible for a good chunk of the bizarre weirdness that is my collection. And considering I don’t even mention my purchases of Jamiroquai, Alien Ant Farm (something besides “Smooth Criminal”) or the Scissor Sisters, that’s saying something.

Join me, won’t you?

Golden Earring – “Radar Love”

Don’t get me wrong, this is a terrific song and an odd way to kick off this list. It’s rock and roll that oozes cool. That’s why in the Spring Break episode of The Simpsons you see Bart wearing sunglasses looking like one chill cat behind the wheel of his rented car listening to this song. Them boys were lords of all creation in that episode, and this song was their theme.

My problem with downloading it was that I have such a horrible attention span, I can’t get through the entire thing. At 6 excruciating minutes, who has time? For fuck’s sake, 6 minutes? That’s like two and a half songs for me normally. I can’t listen to a song lasting longer than three and a half minutes – what am I, a freaking monk? I got places to be, dammit. And I need my music to adjust accordingly.

I downloaded this at the same time I downloaded “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum, and you might as well include that one here too. Oddly enough, both of these songs are in Wayne‘s World 2, which probably explains my purchase. Evidently, the power of suggestion is not lost on me as you’ll see throughout this list.

“Your roadie training begins today. Anyone else hear Norman Greenbaum?”

Rammstein – “Du Hast”

Now this is more like it! Nothing like cheesy, German, one hit wonder death metal to spice up your list! I haven’t a clue when or why I downloaded this dopey tune, but there it sits in my iTunes library. I’m almost positive Rammstein sings this song in earnest, but listening to it now only induces laughter. German is probably – nay, definitely – the most hilarious language ever created, and when you layer that on top of industrial beats from a decade ago, you’ve got yourself comedy gold.

Thinking back some more, I’m pretty sure I wanted to put this on a workout mix, but after trying to work out to it and getting derailed from laughing too hard, I threw it back on the scrap heap. I love this song for pure comedic value and I’ll probably put it on E Dagger’s funniest songs of all-time CD right after the Dutch version of “Barbie Girl” and before Denis Leary’s “Save This.” I really do find this song that funny.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – “Red Right Hand”

You’re probably reading this wondering what the hell this song is. You might remember it from Dumb & Dumber in the scene where Lloyd Christmas is trying to purchase a copy of “Rhode Island Slut” and loses his wallet in the kiosk. Or perhaps you know it from that scene in Scream where the town shuts down early because of the recently enacted curfew. Deputy Dewey takes Sidney and Tatum to pick up groceries for the party that night. As to why the town deputy allowed the two girls to go to a party that night with a killer on the loose… well, your guess is as good as mine.

If you guessed that I downloaded this song after watching one of these two movies, award yourself a big shiny gold star. In this case, it was after watching Scream for the first time in a few years and subsequently getting amused remembering that it was also in Dumb & Dumber. It’s a good movie song like “Wooly Bully,” but nothing you’d ever want to listen to without some sort of visual accompaniment. It’s just too fucking goofy.

Speaking of which, I was in the car the other day with a colleague on our way to pitch some new business, and I don’t know what station we were listening to, but “Wooly Bully” came on. This was strange enough, but the song after it was “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. Who the hell was manning the discs? No one in their right mind would ever put those songs back to back. And I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced anything as uncomfortable as listening to “You’re Beautiful” in the car alone with another dude. It was like that scene in Jackie Brown when Max Cherry and Ordell were listening to The Delfonics on their way to get Ordell’s money from Jackie. Awkward as hell…

Biz Markie – “Just a Friend”

You… You got what I nee-eed.

A truly awful song from the worst of the novelty rap area. The charm of this song rests entirely in watching the video for it. Biz Markie and his fat ass are playing the piano in a ridiculous Beethoven get-up while he recounts a story of entering the dreaded “friend zone” with a few truly hideous 1989 uggos. Without the video, you’re just listening to a shitty rap song that sounds like it was recorded on Playskool’s “My First Mixing Board.” Dre’s beat beds, these aren’t.

I can’t remember what possessed me to download this pile of crap, but I’ve tried to listen to it a few times since and always ended up turning it off before the end. Hell, Hart and I were drunk in Tucson after a Spring Training game listening to this, and after the initial laughing and poor singing of the chorus a couple times, we’d had our fill and moved on to the next song which was almost certainly some other classic like “Shoop” by Salt n’ Pepa. And yes, last time I checked we were both straight. Why do you ask?

I’ve read that Biz Markie is actually an excellent MC and beatboxer, but it’ll never matter because he will always be known as this – the novelty rapper who had one hit, went on Celebrity Fit Club, still managed to be really fat, and had his song immortalized by college kids fascinated with their own kitschy nostalgia. Congratulations on that. And congratulations to me for paying $.99 for this.

Dropkick Murphys – “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”

In The Departed, this song is awesome. Why? Because you only hear it for about 30 seconds. Buy this song, and I guarantee you’ll be completely annoyed with it after 3 listens. Remember that this song is Jonathan Papelbon, closer for the Boston Red Sox’s music, you’ll never listen to it again.

It’s got a great intro, cool beat, and good intensity, but stretched out over two and a half minutes with repetitive and meaningless lyrics, you’ve got a weak song. Alright, you lost your leg, we fucking get it! Is there more to it than that, or is it completely necessary you tell us that 12 times? Geez…

This song has the added distinction of reminding everyone how tired we all are of hearing about Boston sports. Between the Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots, I’ve had enough Boston coverage to last me my whole life. ESPN lives up to its common Western pejorative nickname of “Eastern Sports Programming Network”with its constant Boston fellatio. I used to like Peter Gammons, but if I have to hear him gush over Fenway Park one more goddamn time under the guise of providing unbiased coverage, I might not rest until I’ve stalked, killed, skinned, and mounted him over my fireplace. Gotta get a fireplace first, though…

Besides, I think the Mighty Mighty Bosstones are the superior Boston band anyway.

John Fogerty – “Centerfield”

This is such a wholesome song, they might as well include a copy of it with every purchase of an apple pie crust. It’s just so good-natured, it’s almost impossible to dislike. Plus, it serves as the music during the scene in Little Big League where Billy Heywood rediscovers his love of baseball while playing a pickup game with some lower-middle class kids while on a road trip managing the Twins.

“You’ve got the DH. How hard could it be?”

I bought this song while on a nostalgia kick gearing up for baseball season earlier this year. I couldn’t wait to see the Rockies defend the National League pennant and see if the Cubs could overcome 100 years of futility hoping this was “the year.” I listened to it over and over again in my office along with Steve Goodman’s “Go Cubs Go” anticipating the upcoming season despite the ungodly cold winter we suffered in Denver this year. I’m not a fan of Christmas, I feel awkward as hell around kids, and anything too feel-good rubs against my jaded ass like burlap. But my fond memories of baseball can never be tainted no matter the steroid scandals, cheating, or idiocy of Bud Selig. It’s only natural that I’d love this wholesome slice of Americana too.

That is, until I read an article in Newsweek or Time (or some piece of crap) listing what some of the top-level politicians in Washington had on their iPods. On George W. Bush’s iPod? You guessed it: “Centerfield” by John Fogerty.

It wasn’t that I disliked sharing fondness for a popular song with our much maligned president. I could care less. Although, if he said he liked Rise Against and still behaved the way he does, I’d question his sanity.

No, it was that “Centerfield” was an annoyingly safe choice to the question. I’ll bet he didn’t even answer it. I’d bet a month’s salary that someone from the press office answered this inquiry with a prepared response that would attempt to endear the president to the general populace. God forbid we choose something even the least bit controversial for fear of plummeting his already dismal approval rating even further. This also made me hate my line of work a little because the guy who inevitably answered this question is someone like me – trying to endear himself to the client, hating the stupid bullshit he has to come up with – annoyed with the disingenuousness of his role. Annoying on many levels…

It’s also entirely possible that George Bush really is like every other politician and is woefully unimaginative. Either way, a few months after I bought it, I was completely soured on this song.

The Grass Roots – “Let’s Live for Today,” “Midnight Confessions,” and “Temptation Eyes”

The power of suggestion tour de force continues here as I read an interview with Creed Bratton from “The Office” and learned that he was formerly a member of a band called The Grass Roots. If you’re paying attention to the show, you realize that Creed is essentially playing himself, only batshit loonier. In the episode where Dunder Mifflin accidentally distributes paper with a watermark of Mickey Mouse cornholing Donald Duck, the Scranton Times reporter runs into Creed in the kitchen and says, “Hey, you’re Creed Bratton from The Grass Roots. Didn’t I write your obituary five years ago?” Apparently Creed fakes his own death for tax purposes whenever he needs to.

Anyway, the end of the interview I saw showed clips from The Grass Roots on “The Jimmy Durante Show” and their sound was one I enjoyed immediately, so I went and downloaded their most popular tracks. Turns out, I knew another one of their songs because it was in that scene in Jackie Brown where Louis and Melanie drive to the mall to exchange the money with Jackie leading to one of the most hilarious exchanges of all-time culminating with Louis shooting Melanie in the middle of parking lot after she needled him one too many times about not remembering where they parked. Awesome.

Why am I telling you all this? I’m not sure, but it’s a hell of a lot more interesting than hearing me talk about how the psychedelic undertones of these three songs give me the creeps and prevent me from listening to them late at night because they make me scared. Also, when John Candy looks for Tia and Bug in Uncle Buck, he hears Young MC’s “Bust a Move” and says, “Hey this is great music. Who is this, The Grass Roots? Nah, I’m just kidding.”

For the life of me I can’t remember the names of four of Kristin’s good friends… this crap I retain. Stupid good-for-nothing brain.

Xzibit – “X”

Pimp my ride, bitch!

Let’s close up with pure ego stroke on my part. This song played to my former alter ego and does nothing but extol the virtues of “X.” Xzibit is quite charming as host of “Pimp My Ride” with his constant mugging, smiley disposition, and above-average one-liners. But a good rapper, he ain’t.

I’m almost embarrassed that I own a copy of this, but it’s not nearly as embarrassing as owning “X Gon’ Give It To Ya’” by DMX and actually loving the hell out of it for the same self-aggrandizing reason I own “X.”

At least Xzibit has appeared in some above average movies and hosts a successful TV show. DMX was incredibly arrested 4 times within 2 months earlier this year and didn’t know who Barack Obama was. So yeah, Xzibit may make some sub-par music, but at least he’s not some barking at the moon, drug-addicted habitual felon. And still, I like the criminal’s music better. But, as you already know, I’m sort of a weird dude.

***

I’ll bet you have some regrets in your MP3 collection that you don’t share with many people. Well, now is the time to exorcise those demons and get those skeletons out of your closet. Regret that Kelly Clarkson purchase? Embarrassed about rocking out to The Scorpions and Skid Row? Share it with us in the comments section. Chances are excellent you never downloaded a song (much less two) to feed your own ego. How bad could it be?

We want to know!

Until next time…

edagger@crujonessociety.com

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