A couple of songs are in heavy rotation on the radio these days, and they’re both sort of making me mad.
Rude, by Magic
This song sounds fun enough. Reggae always does. It’s about someone…a kid…madly in love with a girl. So it’s like 80% of all the songs ever written. The kid approaches his true love’s father to ask for her hand in marriage. So cool. I’ve never done that and I wish that I would have.
But here’s what gets me. Dad says “no.” That should mean drama is ahead, but it doesn’t. All this stupid kid can say is “why you gotta be so rude? I’m gonna marry her anyway.”
Are you kidding me? Someone stands in the way of true love and you criticize their etiquette and sulk away.
I’m either mad at the band for being wimps or mad at reggae for being too happy to facilitate real emotion. I think there have been a couple of pretty big reggae acts who wrote emotional tunes…so I must be mad at the band.
Honey I’m Good, by Andy Grammar
You kind of can’t escape this little nugget on pop radio right now. It sort of infuriates me on a couple of levels.
- My kids love it and the word “ass” is in there a couple of times.
- It’s a hoedown squaredance song and I can’t believe anyone likes it – especially my kids.
- I’m going to be spending some nights away from my wife this summer.
You see, his words eventually say “no,” but the whole song appears to be about the reasons he wants to say “yes.” Even though he has “somebody at home,” this guy is apparently one drink away from shacking up with some chick at the bar. Some chick who looks good with long legs and “that ass,” no less.
I know it’s just pop songwriting…catchy melodies and hooks. It’s probably good. I know it’s hard to do.
But there’s no heart in these songs. Where is the love?
These songs reinforce my love for songwriters like Anders Osborne and John Hiatt. They remind me that the length isn’t nearly the only difference between pop music and blues.
Here’s a favorite from Anders Osborne. Summertime in New Orleans.