THE WITZELSUCHT MEMORANDUM
"Don't Hate It 'Cause It's Beautiful"
Issue 15: What, Groundhog Day already?!?
THE WIT MEMO ANNUAL 1997 MUSIC AWARDS
Everyone has a best or worst or top or most something-est list, here's mine. The first-ever WIT MEMO Annual 1997 Music Awards.
You're wondering: Who am I to pronounce musical judgment? Me, who hasn't bought a new cd in over two months, who wouldn't know the Chemical Brothers from the Smith Brothers, who had to have someone patiently explain to him what "jungle" is, who thinks there's been nothing new in rap since Ice Cube, and who looks forward most to the old soul, funk and country programs on public radio each weekend. But that's why I'm in the best position to judge music: I'm just like you. Oh, sure, maybe you know more bands or go to more shows, but, deep down inside, you know you're just not really With It, you're awash in guilt over not knowing half the songs, artists, and trends they mention in the cool magazines and on the smart-ass websites. Me, you can feel superior to. Heck, the songs I've picked didn't even come out in 1997 . . . but I didn't hear 'em 'till last year. I'm just way behind the times, and so are these awards, but better late than never.
Tired of award shows with 16,000 categories? Best New Female Soft Rock Video blahblahblah? Relax. The WIT MEMO Annual 1997 Music Awards has just two categories: Silliest Song, and Best Song, or, The Song That Had The Most to Say.
SILLIEST SONG OF THE YEAR. The WIT MEMO is all about silly. Of course, the best silly songs weren't MEANT to be silly, so this is one award WEIRD AL YANKOVIC will never win. No matter, given the state of rock, there's no shortage of candidates, and it's tough winnowing them out. It was down to the wire, but the Silliest Song was unquestionably the grammy-nominated ONE HEADLIGHT by THE WALLFLOWERS. This is Jacob Dylan's band, and it's totally unfair to keep bringing up that he's Bob Dylan's son, but you have to bring it up in order to say how unfair it is.
Don't get me wrong, I LIKE this song, and always turned up the radio when it came on. But it's plum silly. First off, I didn't hear "one headlight." To me, it sounds more like one head LICE. That would make more sense . . . if you have kids or read the papers, you know that head lice are a serious problem right now in schools. They're back big time, they're damn near impossible to get rid of, and they seem most prevalent among the two-career-track post-yuppie families likely to produce unkempt rockers in the J. Dylan mold . . . think about that next time you're flailing follicles in the mosh pit. And even if he's really saying one head LIGHT, what's the big deal about that? "We can drive it home, with One Head Light" he sings. Well, yes, if you don't drive too fast, you probably CAN drive it home, but you sure won't pass inspection. If it's related to your other car troubles ("I turn the engine, but the engine doesn't turn"), it might be the electrical system, and that could run into big bucks. Sorry.
The best part, though, is when he sings about the gal who "died easy of a broken heart disease." At first I thought that has to be wrong, nobody dies of a broken heart, not even ANDY GIBB after VICTORIA PRINCIPAL left him a broken shell of a man, on VH-1 they said he succumbed to cocaine-induced heart damage aggravated by alcohol abuse. But then it hit me, maybe something like that happened to her, maybe she had a myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, whatever, literally a "broken" heart. THAT'S it!! The song is really a sly PSA spotlighting a neglected killer, heart disease in women, urging females to take proper exercise and watch their cholesterol. And also warning about head lice. But it's still silly.
Running a very close second in the Silly Song category was another grammy-nominated tune, PAULA COLE's "WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWBOYS GONE?" the most ridiculous anthem of female angst since "Mimi on the Beach." Basically, the song is about a poor slob who works his fingers to the bone so his wife can stay home with the kids, and she ends up hating his guts because he's not some kind of shaman-Marlboro Man. In the song's best line, "I will wash the dishes/While you go have a beer," Paula Cole spits out the word "beer" like it's the vilest thing in the world. Guy just wants a Tall Cold One after busting his butt all day, and she makes him feel lower than a child molester. The song is so silly that I wondered if it might be tongue-in-cheek, but judging from the seriousness of the acclaim laid on this poet at several hagiographic websites, I doubt it. Paula, keep 'em coming!
On the other hand, the absolute Best Song of the year, of several years, the one that had the most to say, had to be THE SPICE GIRLS' big hit, "WANNABE." "Wannabe" begins with one of The Girls -I'm not sure who- conveying in song to her "bandmates" her most urgent desire, delineating what it is that she wants above all else . . . yeah, you all know those lyrics, she wantsta "zig-a-zig-zah" (or, as I read in Mad Magazine, "zigazig-HA." Whatever.) Call it zoom-a-zoom-zoommm if you prefer, but obviously she's talking about what Beavis and Butt-head refer to as "It," making the beast with two backs. This is her goal. Turns out, though, there's a few conditions prospective suitors are expected to fulfill before she'll even THINK about putting out: You've gotta "get with" her friends. Moreover, you've gotta "make it last forever," 'cause "friendship never ends." Forever? Never ends? Listen, girlfriend, if you really, REALLY wanted to zig-a-whatever, you wouldn't insist on having the poor guy vetted by all your chums, at the risk of having one them snap him up. Halfway decent-lookin' gals like POSH, BABY, SPORTY, SCARY and GINGER wouldn't have to go farther than the nearest TGI Fridays to scare up some strange. The message is clear: For women, who call the shots and who could get It anytime they want, there's no such thing as casual sex. And to the extent casual sex ever existed, if it was ever anything more than momentary rifts in the laws of time and space, like scoring the most perfect jacket at a thrift and finding a hundred bucks in the pocket, then it's now officially dead and gone, daddy, gone! Guys, you're officially on notice: it's over. I'm getting married.
There's another reason to love the Spice Girls, aside from the great songs and personae. They're so hated, so despised by self-serious critics and plenty others (check out The Vibe's dim-bulb gossip columnist Jill "The Diva" Stempel, metaverse.com/vibe/sleaze, who's continually predicting and praying for the end of their "15 minutes") that you just can't help but like them out of sheer spite. Some of those critics have been spreading misinformation. F'rinstance, take that story about The Spice Girls being nothing more than a marketing creation, ala THE MONKEES. Turns out, as their new movie "SPICE WORLD" makes clear (haven't seen it yet, but I read a review) they were actually girlhood chums who slogged through the club scene for years before hitting it big. WIT MEMO reader Richard L. of DC reports that SPICE WORLD is just great, and even has big stars like ELVIS COSTELLO, in what must surely be his best movie since "AMERICATHON." WIT MEMO already has tickets. My Dad took me to see "HELP" when I was 9, and I'll be seeing SPICE WORLD in the company of a 9 year old and a 12 year old. I know, I know, -you can't wait to tell me- the Spice Girls aren't THE BEATLES. But did I know that when I was 9? Were the young teen girls in the HELP audience screaming their lungs out in appreciation of the way The Beatles melded American blues and rockabilly into four-chord pop that changed the world? I don't think so. So get with it. Girl Power!!!
[A word on dates: The Wallflowers' and Paula Coles' CDS were both released in 1996; yet one received grammy nominations for 1996, the other for 1997. The difference? One came out in June, the other October. Grammies must work on fiscal years.]
What started with niggling innuendoes in the PAULA JONES case has mushroomed into the most delightfully salacious story of all time, quickly eclipsing Ms. Jones and her now-forgotten advisors and fulfilling in advance WIT MEMO's prediction of the trial of the fin-de-siecle. No other story matters, and when I turned on MSNBC two Thursdays ago for the latest update but saw the space shuttle launch instead, I cried "WHAT THE HELL IS THIS CRAP?!?" There's not much to add to the torrent of jokes burning up the net, but suffice to say it doesn't get much better than the WASHINGTON POST's deadpan reporting that a former White House colleague of sexbomb starsucker MONICA LEWINSKY described her as someone who'd "take little things and blow them up."
Meanwhile, HILLARY CLINTON, the MARY JO BUTTAFUCO of American politics, blamed the scandal on a right-wing conspiracy but was unavailable to comment on the substance of the allegations. Her aides explained that the best-selling author of "It Takes A Village" is busy at work on her next book, tentatively titled, "Why I Haven't Killed Him."
Speaking of conspiracies, thanks and a tip o' the hat rack to WIT MEMO reader Dick R. of McLean, VA, who writes in wondering if a cabal may be divined in the eerie similarity, in some photos, between Paula Jones' expensive new hairdo and the scary coiffure sported by knife-in-the-back "friend" LINDA TRIPP. Talk into the mike, please.
Despite the hubbub, PRESIDENT CLINTON's approval ratings continue to soar, confounding the pundidiots' predictions of imminent resignation. Some attribute POTUS' popularity to the deficit dropping faster than his trousers, but perhaps Ken Karpool and Harriet Housecoat are just sympathetic to any Chief Exec "with a hankerin' for taters 'n' tail." (WIT MEMO 10)
NEXT ISSUE: A VALENTINE'S DAY LEGEND!
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