Dec
19
2011

Better Left Alone

I was at a bowling alley a few weeks ago and heard a techno remix of “If I Die Young.” At that point, I was distracted by several things – the cheap beer in my hand, coming up with clever trash-talk to rattle our opponents – so I didn’t give the song much thought and continued helping my team lose the playoffs.

The other day, though, the same remix came on during a boot camp exercise class. As I had far fewer distractions this time – pretty much just staying conscious and not tripping and injuring myself — I was able to focus a bit more on the song.

I actually like “If I Die Young” (in the same way I like most saccharine pop ballads), but am I the only one who thinks it isn’t…well-suited…for a bump-and-grind beat? This is a song that is sort of about making the most of the time you have but mostly is about a little girl dying…and things she missed out on in life and how she wants to be laid to rest…and her grieving mother. These aren’t the things I want to think about when I’m seeking a mental distraction from the physical pain of getting my ass handed to me by a screaming boot camp instructor. Or when I’m really excited to dance and hit the floor, ready to get groped and sweated on by strangers (mmm…yummy).

I appreciate the need to find new usage occasions for songs to keep them fresh, popular and generating money. I also appreciate a good beat. But some songs should just be left alone. I’m not irate enough to Meccanize anything – I’m only at my “huh…that’s an interesting choice” level, not my “…REALLY?!” level –  but if I am ever bowling, exercising or rocking out to a techno remix of “Tears in Heaven” or “Cat’s in the Cradle,” I am going to be pushed over the edge.

Written by lindsay in: Uncategorized |
  • Rogermecca

    I couldn't agree more.  Yesterday, at the gym (a facility that is, I acknowledge, oriented toward young individuals who apparently exist in a different dimension than I do), I was subjected to a seven minute, techno remake of Roberta Flack's “Strummin' My Fate”, rendered at 94 decibels by SOME woman vocalist that I would at best describe as a bit of flotsam in the ongoing tsunami of unremarkable contemporary music.  Beyond the mangling of the rhythm and the utter abhorrance of subtlety in the arrangement, the singer for some unfathomable reason chose to only repeat the first line, over and over again.  “I heard he had a good song…” (boom dah boom dah dah dah, boom dah boom dah dah dah)   “I heard he had a good song…” (boom dah boom dah dah dah, boom dah boom dah dah dah) …After 15 of 900 sequential renditions, everyone over the age of 25 was looking at the ceiling, screaming “I heard he had a smile!  I HEARD HE HAD A SMILE!!!   AND SO I WENT TO SEE HIM, YOU IDIOT, TO LISTEN FOR AWHILE!!!”The only minor saving grace during this seven minutes of psychological torture was the talented backup jazz pianist who was trying  to salvage some musical merit from the singer's schizophrenic chanting.  You could feel this pianist grimacing through the arpeggios, wondering where HIS career had gone awry.Finally, the auditory insult mercifully ended.  In the subsequent, all-too-short instant of ringing quiet, I allowed myself a brief moment of hope and anticipation that perhaps something listenable would follow.  And then, replete with full digitalized voice distortion at 94 decibels, the next clown launched into:”Hello darkness, my old friend…”  (boom dah boom dah dah dah, boom dah boom dah dah dah) …And people wonder why old men stand on their porches, shake their canes in the air, and shout “GET OFF MY LAWN!!!”

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