Tag Archives: phil collins

The Mystery of My Dad’s Taste in Music

My dad goes through obsessive phases where he’ll listen to the same thing over and over again for weeks.  And it’s not just one band or one album that he’ll put on repeat–he’ll put the same SONG on repeat.  One time it was “My Heart Will Go On” after he saw Titanic.  Another time it was the Phil Collins song from Tarzan, “You’ll Be In My Heart.” 

My best friend and I once went on a camping trip to Lake George with him and he brought two greatest hits albums: Diana Ross and Rod Stewart.  As a direct result of this trip, one of my favorite songs is now “Maggie May.”  A couple years ago he made a mix that included “Like A Virgin.”  I don’t know what that was about.

Anyway, here are some songs that I especially associate with the padre: 

How creepy is that?!?!  The three ladies in red completely freak me out with those repetitions of “sexy, sexy lady, you just drive me crazy.”  I feel like Julio Iglesias is holding them captive and feeding them various flavors of Slim Fast spiked with mind-controlling drugs. 

This next one took a long time for me to decide on.  He has one of those, like, three disc albums by Chicago, so every song reminds me of him.  But I just heard this song in the grocery store.  I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but when I hear a song I like, I get completely distracted.  I can’t focus on anything else, especially not a conversation.  I drop everything to sing while pumping a fist.  Perhaps the best lyrics ever: “Couldn’t stand to be kept away, just for the day, from your bod-ay.”  The cheese aisle was subjected to my rendition of this a couple weeks ago:

One of his big things is theme songs.  He loves the Superman theme song, but if I hear it I literally have an anxiety attack because I worked at Six Flags one year and when you’re stationed at the Superman ride you hear it your entire shift.  Plus I got scolded hardcore when I was working the Superman ride one day–I let a girl through who was blatantly three feet tall and would have been ejected from the ride.  It wasn’t really my fault, but I won’t get into it. 

The one thing I do have to thank my dad for, though, is playing The Rolling Stones over and over again when I was little.  “Paint It Black” used to freak me out to no end.  But if I had to choose one song to describe myself, it’d probably be this:

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With a name like Band Aid, how could they have gone wrong?

‘Tis the season for terrible music playing in public places.  I think the only business in a five block radius from my apartment that isn’t playing Christmas songs is a Wendy’s that seems to always be playing stuff by KC & the Sunshine Band or Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons.  Well, there and the Rite Aid that I just said was playing “I Hear a Symphony”.  

It’s hard to name a Worst Christmas Song of All Time, but if I had to name a Most Offensive Christmas Song that Doesn’t Even Know It’s Offensive That I (Not So) Secretly Think Is The Best Song Ever—that distinct title would definitely go to Band Aid’s gem, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” from 1984.  I mean, it’s great that they raised money for famine relief in Ethiopia, but the lyrics…you could write a whole dissertation about postcolonialism and Western civilization always thinking it knows what’s best for the rest of the world using these lyrics.  For example:

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

Yeah, yeah, people in Africa are suffering too much to have time to realize it’s Christmastime.  But you know, not everyone celebrates Christmas.  A quick Wikipedia search shows that “Encyclopedia Britannica estimates that approximately 46.5% of all Africans are Christians and another 40.5% are Muslims with roughly 11.8% of Africans following indigenous African religions. A small number of Africans are Hindu, Baha’i, or have beliefs from the Judaic tradition.” 

Then there are the lines,

Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

This song just completely reinforces Africans as “The Other” (“them instead of you”).  But enough Orientalism.  There’s just no way I can NOT reserve a place in my heart for a song that features Phil Collins (on the drums?), David Bowie, George Michael, Bono (with the longest mullet ever), Boy George, Freddie Mercury, Sting (looking cool and sexy as always), Duran Duran, and so many others on ONE SONG.  That’s impressive.  And it’s so amazingly 80s:

It’s amazing.  I especially love when Sting sings, “the bitter sting of tears.”  I imagine his inner monologue being like, “Hey, that’s my name.” 

Band Aid’s video reminds me of Willie Nelson’s character in Wag the Dog and this part in that film:

Yeah, Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro are okay, but Woody Harrelson steals the show.  There’s this one part when they find out he’s not a decorated war hero, but actually a convict:

Winifred Ames: What did he do?
Stanley Motss: He raped a nun…
Winifred Ames: Oh, God. Oh, God. Jes – Oh, God!
Stanley Motss: And…
Winifred Ames: “And”? I don’t want to know an “and”. Why is there an “and”?
Stanley Motss: Look, look, look, look, look. He’s fine as long as he gets his medication…
Winifred Ames: And if he doesn’t get his medications?
Stanley Motss: He’s not fine.

It seems my blog is turning into a forum for me to reference as many people, places, and things from pop culture as possible while maintaining some semblance of coherence.  In this post alone … we start with the musical stylings of Wendy’s, throw in Bono’s mullet somewhere in the middle, and finish with Woody Harrelson raping nuns at the end.   That’s got to deserve some kind of award…at least a cookie!  On second though, no.  Band Aid’s immortal song reminds us this Christmastime that there’s nothing growing in Africa.  Therefore, I couldn’t possibly accept a cookie.