“When We Were Friends” Cee Lo
Admittedly, this is kind of a jam. But he drops the n-word at least 20 times, and if there’s even a single white person at your graduation party, things are going to get super uncomfortable super quick. And even if there’s a safe DJ version where they replace all those n bombs, “Forget You” style, everybody knows what he said in the original.
Bruce Springsteen “Glory Days”
Despite the chiming major key chorus, this is not a “fun” song. This is a depressing song about shitty people whose dreams have passed them by. The lyrics are about people who peaked in high school, grew up and never got over it. The titular “Glory Days” are fleeting and have passed and are being remembered from a markedly inglorious present.
Anyway, the whole idea is toxic for kids setting sail from port high school. As I mentioned earlier, a spirit of optimism should rule the day and the summer. This is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out of context, but Mad Men has a really good line that applies here: “Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.”
Billy Joel “These Are the Times to Remember”
Let’s leave aside for a second the obvious and unassailable fact that Billy Joel is 110 percent the worst of all time and try to judge this song as just a song.
Clearly, it’s terrible. The piano sounds like Yamaha digital keyboard presets and the melody sounds like a country song about patriotism written in the wake of Sept. 11. But beyond all of those clear, obvious truths, it’s a terrible song to play for a graduate for reasons even greater still.
The song’s lyrics are about the need to embrace experiences and memories before time wipes them out. That’s an OK sentiment for adults, but not for teenagers. When you’re graduating from high school, your first priority should be letting go. You are entering a whole different world and no time for love Dr. Jones. This is not a time to remember. It’s a time you someday won’t be able to help but remember. For now, it’s a time to focus on some other crap.
Also, Billy Joel sucks and you’re wrong if you disagree. Thanks!
Green Day “Time of Your Life”
First of all, while a lot of people my age probably think of this as a contemporary song, it’s actually 15 years old. That’s right: unless your graduating senior spent 11 years in a comma while they matriculated high school, it has nothing whatsoever to do with their high school experience. It’s a distant relative of “Yesterday,” all acoustic guitar, bowed strings and maudlin atmosphere. It’s tuneful and short and a little sad and kind of sweet, so what’s the problem, really?
Basically, the chorus. There’s a strong, bitter undercurrent that’s really at odds with the optimistic spirit that should mark a graduation. When you wistfully say “I hope you had the time of your life” to someone who has the rest of their lives in front of them, you’re implying that they’ve blown a unique opportunity and that it’s all downhill from here.
Also, as a side note, the opening line “another turning point, a fork stuck in the road” strongly implies that Green Day believes that the expression “a fork in the road” involves a literal fork and I for one would like to have our new graduates have a grasp of basic comprehension of metaphors.
Hey fellas. I’m married and therefore out of the dating racket. I’ve acquired some expertise in courtship that’s going under-used. So, in the opening salvo in what might be a reoccurring feature, I’m a-gonna pass on some unsolicited advice for the single dudes of the world.
Here’s a list of subject matters that you should keep for a mature relationship or, in some cases, never. They range in intensity from “mild discomfort” to “the pretty lady will run screaming from the table.”
Play Misty for Me is streaming on Netflix. I’ve been curious about watching it again for a while, as it stars a young Jessica Walter—Lucille Bluth of Arrested Development. Walter, quirky cute in her early 2os, plays a manic pixie nightmare girl stalking Clint Eastwood, a super smooth radio DJ with awesome hair who just wants to loosen his load but he’s got seven women on his mind. Walters stands the most in the way of his ability to take it easy; even though he told her that she was just a one night stand she gets clingy and weird. The irresistibly mellow Eastwood is caught in her nightmare web until I decided to pause the movie and see what other movies Jessica Walter has been in.
And boy has she ever been in another movie. She’s the villain in the ’70s made for tv Doctor Strange movie. Skip to the two-minute mark and watch her own that shit.
So now I’m done! Final Thoughts:
- Here’s a joke I wrote about Prince this morning that is not one bit funny: I like my Prince greatest hits collections the way I like my coffee: without “Cream.”
- I think we should all start calling him the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince.
- If you really want to go deep down the Prince rabbit hole, check out the forums on Prince.org. They’re actually pretty funny sometimes, like the one where they ask who should play Prince in a biopic and the first answer is “Maya Rudolph.”
Speaking of Prince on the internet, here’s a list of titles of Prince’s internet-only albums. Do they portray a slow and inexorable descent into madness? You be the judge!
- Crystal Ball / The Truth / Kamasutra
- Rave In2 the Joy Fantastic
- One Nite Alone…
- The Chocolate Invasion
- The Slaughterhouse
UPDATED: Upon consideration, I’m calling bullshit on this. Charlie Murphy is over six feet tall and Prince is 5’2″ at best (there are rumors he’s under five feet tall). If you were telling a story about getting schooled in basketball by an unlikely opponent, don’t you think you’d lead with that detail?
I still think it’s funny, though.
While he’s grown into an internet-hating technophobe, in the ‘80s, Prince embraced new technologies with enthusiasm. He was one of the first to buy the LM-1, a $5,000 drum machine innovative for its use of sampled sounds.
The LM-1, designed in part by the drummer from Toto, was a revolutionary device. Previous drum machines made drums with electronic waveforms and white noise. The LM-1 offered different sounds and the chance to customize them (except for adding a crash symbol; that was another $3,000. No joke). The drums on “1999″ and “Purple Rain” probably blew peoples’ minds. Continue reading