Monday, January 21, 2008

Overly Censortive

Last week I decided to conduct some research into what was generally regarded as the worst ever Beatles song. A worthless project based on a fundamentally subjective posit some might argue, but I was not discouraged. Like most hypothetical critics the task of ignoring them was simple and besides, I had some actual work that was in dire need of procrastination. To the google-mobile!

It was pleasing to see that most people considered 'Yellow Submarine' pretty dire, but my nostalgia was irreversibly bruised upon discovering the childhood favourite 'Octopus' Garden' being slagged off with alarming frequency. In most cases I noticed that it was Ringo's involvement in the songwriting that usually lead to disaster, but on more than one occasion it was the arrogance of McCartney that resulted in an annoying single simply not having the legs. Oh dear. Nothing changes, huh?

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da is a classic example. A disgusted Lennon left the studio halfway through the recording only to arrive back an hour later completely wasted, loudly declaring that he was "more stoned than he had ever been and that they would ever be". (referring to the other members of the band) Given that this assertion was made by the same man who had only recently identified himself as both a walrus and an eggman, this was a weighty claim indeed.

Suddenly I stumbled onto something amazing:

Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da one of many songs deemed inappropriate after the September 11 attack.

Was this on the level? I read on. Apparently a media conglomerate called Clear Channel Communications (recently suspecting of having been behind The Dixie Chicks ban) released to the media a 'comprehensive' list all those songs they considered contentious and that may cause offense to Americans in wake of the tragedy.

Let me first stress that I do not find the World Trade Center attack amusing in any way, nor do I wish to make any jokes at the expense of the families who have suffered.

What I will do though is publish some of the songs that appeared on the Clear Channel list:

Dave Matthews Band – "Crash into Me"
Jerry Lee Lewis – "Great Balls of Fire"
Animals – "We Gotta Get Out of This Place"
Foo Fighters – "Learn to Fly"

I'm not making this up.

What I find incredible is that in the interests of protecting those who suffered, this organisation publicly released a list of songs that directly references aspects of the tragedy in gory detail. I wonder how protected you'd feel having lost a loved one and then subsequently coming across this list while cruising for porn conducting valid research like I did? To my mind that's the protection equivalent of setting up a safe house for abused children in the Neverland Ranch and then distributing a recommended trouser list that promotes only those that button up at the bum.

(sorry, that one grossed me out too)

Futhermore, at 166 songs total, the list could hardly be called comprehensive. Take for example:

The Bangles – "Walk Like an Egyptian"

[eyes turn kaleidescopic]

I understand completely. We must do everything within our power to stop people walking, riding, and segwaying like Egyptians.

[shakes it off]

Is this a thinly vielded accusation at the assumed perpetrators? Curiously, I couldn't find any reference to The Cure's 'Killing an Arab'; presumably because no negative message could be discerned from that song's lyric.

What finally got me though was the inclusion of this tune:

P.O.D. – "Boom"

Why you ask? Need I remind you of such musical classics that WEREN'T on the list, such as:

Fresh Prince - "Boom, shake shake shake the room."


Paul Lekakis - "Boom Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)"

No I need not.

But then I suppose if those songs were ever going to be banned, it would have happened long before now.

Tick, tick, boom.


Felix for Zosia said...

A real shame that Clear Channel didn't take the opportunity to add songs to that list that are offensive merely for existing, e.g. DJ Otzi's "Hey Baby" or "The Macarena"

The Blakkat said...

Your flights of research sure are fasninating, Davey. As to that Octopus' garden song, well the littlies still love it & yellow submarine. So, they're good for sumfink.

I suppose anything refering to acts of falling (in love, out of love etc) are all too close to the act of falling out of a building, so best add them to that sanctimonous, BS list, too. Yankee Doodle land's a crazy place, aint it.

Deep Kick Girl said...

Would it be too much to ask that you add a public service announcement to the top of your blog entries, e.g. "This amusing little commentary could cause the wetting of pants"?

I am often in real danger of this calamity and it is not becoming for an almost-40-year-old. And yes I am way too young to start wearing incontinence products.

eleanor bloom said...

I'm thinking of a few other songs they would ban but I won't list them as it's too sad.

I've always liked The Cure's 'Killing an Arab'. Just a catchy and unique little tune. Doesn't make me actually think about murdering some Arabs. Although... I have found myself standing on a beach with a gun in my hand a few times, staring at the sky, staring at the sand... hmmm...

davey said...

Sadly Felix, it seems all too apparent that their music predilections hover scarily around the Shania Twain end of the market. I like where you've taken this though: Banning crap songs, now THAT is a good idea.

Those Yanks continue to boggle my questionbuster Blakkat, but their consistency in given me material is appreciated. After all, there really is nothing, simply nothing, worth doing so much as pointing at buffoons.

DKG, how about this: WARNING, this site has been attributed to the early onset of dementia. Lose bowel function at own risk!

I have the same sign on my bedroom door.

Eleanor, although I know how fond you are of cultivating your hoodlum image, don't think for one second that I believe you own a gun.

You are totally a crossbow girl.

eleanor bloom said...

So true Davey! But only when they match my bikini...

Rosie said...

you've inspired me to write about a song that should've been banned when i was a kid, Davey. not for being crap, but for being psychotic.

Milly Moo said...

Classic, Davey! You should be writing a pop culture column for the Age or (UK/London) equivalent.

Worst Beatles song - Yellow Submarine. Absolute shocker.

Songs they should have banned -
* Shaddap You Face by Joe Dulce - surely a focus on respect and politeness was required after 9/11?
* Fergalicious - utter shite that would have tempted some to blow up things
* Anything by MIKA - yes, I said it - I'd rather lick out a groupie's armpit than put up with his musical versions of epileptic fits.

There. I feel better now. A gin and tonic awaits....

Annie Rhiannon said...

The Beatles: the most overrated band in the world.