MUSIC: Celebrate The Cheese
I felt like writing about music, and almost decided to take on this fun music meme that's floating around, but frankly it seemed like too much work. Instead I chose to focus on the cheese – everybody's got those cheesy songs that they secretly adore. Yes, I have my Franz Ferdinand and White Stripes and Beck and Guided By Voices and so forth to satisfy my critical cool, but sometimes, a man needs a good blast of cheese.
Of course, with the caveat that one man's cheese is another man's brie, and that heck, I'm not making fun of anybody who's a fan of anything here except for myself, so if you're the world's biggest Toto fan, take a deep breath. Perhaps inevitably, being a child of the '80s my guilty pleasures are pretty much all '80s vintage. Onward!
My top 5 cheesy songs
1. "Billy Don't You Lose My Number" by Phil Collins. I loaded this on my iPod the other day, guiltily looking left and right to make sure no one observed me. This was one of the first videos I saw on MTV back in the day, and Phil Collins turns into a bee in it! That pretty much sums up the 1980s. I have an abashed love for the non-ballad Phil Collins songs, pre-1990 (everything I've heard by him since then is godawful, I confess). Sure, his songs rarely make sense — who is Billy? What is this number? And what the hell is Sussudio?? Frankly, this entire list could be 1980-1985 Phil Collins songs, but I would then have to disembowel myself in shame.
2. "Oh Sherrie" by Steve Perry. Look up "power ballad" in the dictionary, and you shall see Steve Perry's mullet. The Journey lead singer's solo turn is connected in my mind, of course, with a girl, a wispy thing named Sherry I had a brief crush on in eighth grade. I listen to it and I am swept away to an era when having a girl kiss you on the cheek was the height of possibility.
3. "Glory of Love" by Peter Cetera. Damn, my cheesy musical tastes are wuss to the extreme, aren't they? Another milky-eyed power ballad, another one inspired by a girl. "I am a man who will fight for your honor," by god! Could there be purer inspirational literature for a pimply 14-year-old? Bonus points for being the theme song to "Karate Kid: Part II."
4. "Eye of The Tiger" by Survivor. This is a bit more manly. "Rocky III" was one of the great formative influences of my youth. (Clubber Lang = Pain) This song rocks in its nonthreatening '80s fashion. True story about what a geeky child I was: I listened to this over and over on my battered "Rocky III" soundtrack cassette tape, and even at one point transcribed the lyrics, assuming that would somehow grant me the mystical "eye of the tiger." It did not.
5. "Mr. Roboto" by Styx. Perhaps the single goofiest song on my list. I mean, Styx is cheese no matter which way you slice it, but with this song they actually transcended regular cheese and evolved into another entire form of foodstuff. That said, this song captivated me as a lad. It was like some Talmudic text in need of translation - "Domo arigato?" What is that? This song's lyrics honestly read like a bad acid trip. To further illustrate my unfortunate lack of social intelligence as a lad, I must admit that at one point circa grade 6 I was bound and determined to perform karaoke of "Mr. Roboto" on stage in a talent show, wearing a mask made of tin foil. Only the sensible talk from my equally geeky friends kept me from this popularity armageddon. In some alternate universe, my life ended to the tune of "Mr. Roboto."
Feel free to list your cheesy song pleasures below, or if you wish you can just leave me to drift slowly downward in my shame spiral...