This week I picked up a new word: “over-rocker”. According to the local café guy, it’s something his friend uses in textile making, but to him - and now me - it’s also the perfect way to describe those once-awesome rock fossils who just refuse to die…and in the worst case scenario, live to make Christmas albums.
He’s at the ruthless end of fandom and reckons even a legend like the Boss needs to get it that while they may have been born to run, they should seriously learn to pull up before they over-rock. Wrecking Ball? “Waaay too cheesy”.
At least it wasn’t Chrissie-themed. Once the big names go the festive album there are those who’d argue the penalty should equal instant career death.
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Who can forget the gunshot snare drum bang that ushers in Like a Rolling Stone? When Bruce Springsteen gave his riveting keynote address at this year’s SXSW music conference in Austin, Texas he expressed wonder at how it felt to be a teenage and hear Bob Dylan’s compelling description of youthful isolation.
“And the first thing he asked you was: How does it feel?” said Springsteen.
“Man, how does it feel to be on your own? And if you were a kid in 1965, you were on your own, because your parents, God bless them, they could not understand the incredible changes that were taking place. You were on your own, without a home. He gave us the words to understand our hearts.
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I can’t do Christmas carols any more. I can’t. I can maybe handle Jingle Bells, but only because my brain automatically reverts to the clearly superior “Batman smells, Robin ran away” version, but Jingle Bell Rock can seriously go and die in a chestnut-roasting fire. Any song that asks me to “mix and a-mingle to a jinglin’ beat” ceases to deserve a place in my Yuletide vernacular.
Seriously, what does that even mean? That’s the problem with Christmas carols: they don’t make any frigging sense. Even after I’ve suspended my disbelief regarding virgin births, flying reindeer, the existence of myrrh and the not-everybody-has-a-chimney thing, there’s still a lot of bunk in Christmas carols that just doesn’t add up.
I’ll give you the fat-guy-who-doesn’t-work-very-often and the not-being-able-to-find-a-hotel-vacancy-at-Christmas-time, though. But the rest is all a bit iffy.
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A few weeks back, Adam Baidawi took to the online newsstands with a statement befitting most thirteen year old girls: “Back off, haters. Justin Bieber’s Got Talent.”*
Baidawi’s main statement was that the world of social media perpetuates unfounded assumptions, especially those related to taste, and I’m inclined to agree: We jump on the bandwagon.
But there’s more to it than that – Adam’s argument ends up here: “For those curious, the sample principle should be applied to poor old Rebecca Black … who has endured a lifetime of ridicule … despite bands like the Black Eyed Peas pumping out lyrics that, frankly, read like OUTTAKES from ’Friday.’”
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It’s a universally (at least I hope so) accepted truth that the best song EVER does not actually exist.
It simply can’t. It’s pretty unlikely your best song will be my best song, mainly because songs are subjective and all that, but also because everyone has had different life experiences, so songs speak to each of us in different ways.
Much the same for the world’s worst songs.
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Every year it’s the same.
The chanting starts. Rum. Rum. Rum. Rum. I pull my pillow over my head and try to drown it out, to no avail.
Cue the angelic singers… and a mere 20 seconds into my day the phrase I’ve been dreading all year is heard: ``Come they told me, parum pum pum pum’‘, delivered in the svelte motown tones of Boney M’s Liz Mitchell.
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There’s nothing wrong with the Beach Boys per se. The album “Pet Sounds” routinely shows up on best-of-all-time lists. But I’m feeling a bit less fondly towards them after recently having the chorus of “Help Me Rhonda” stuck in my head on a loop. It reappeared several days in a row.
This experience is called an earworm. Germans first came up with the term ohrwurm to describe the musical itch that apparently affects almost everyone at some stage or another. Research into earworms has found that virtually any piece of music can become one. Most people have a particular song of their own that they find uniquely irritating. But more generally, there are factors that make certain songs more likely to become earworms than others.
One of the world’s authorities on earworms is Professor James Kellaris, a marketing and music expert at the University of Cincinnati.
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THERE was a time any song list from the ABC’s Triple J would be a talking point for at least a week. This year’s Top 100 songs of all time hardly lasted a day.
The biggest controversy was about the lack of female artists which illustrates Triple J’s appeal and audience.
However, these lists prompt reflection on your own musical choices, as it did with Punch writer Chris Deal who unleased a collection of the crappest songs of all time. That led to some of the best abuse we’ve copped so far, including being called “a bunch of hipster douchebags”, to which most of us plead a fair cop.
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Who can say exactly why we all love music but today’s Punch list of the 100 crappest songs of all time has made me sure of four things:
1. Absolutely everyone has an opinion on this topic
2. Absolutely no one agrees on this topic
3. While musical ability, fame, or output is celebrated, you don’t need it to know what you don’t like
4. People either love or hate Tim Freedman, there’s no grey area on this one.
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Near, far, wherever you are, you’re probably aware that this week the national youth broadcaster Triple J has released its rather ambitious Hottest 100 Of All Time music poll. And while staying positive and tallying up a rock-solid list of the songs that have brought so much joy to the world is a noble pursuit, a healthy dose of sticking the boot right in is required to address the balance.
The Punch does not endorse book burning, but there’s an argument for putting really, really bad records in a big pile and setting them on fire. And according to our scientific survey, Celine Dion should be the first to go up in flames:
Now that you’ve got it started, the next songs you should add are, in order, this one:
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