Friday, October 03, 2003

Listening Booth: What's riding the spindle these days? For one thing, the Best of Badfinger. You both are well aware of my musical sweet tooth; I'm probably the only person you know who counts the Archies' Sugar, Sugar and Herman's Hermits' I'm Into Something Good among the great pop tunes. Anyway, Badfinger was the perfect antidote for the time, as the post-Beatles era began to spawn more and more self-important dreck-peddlers aiming to make Respectable Art. (It's rock and roll, goddammit; trying to find Schoenberg in the medium is to miss the point.) Anyhow, the art of the pop song didn't get much better than "Come and Get It," with its catchy melody, bordering-on-nonsense lyrics, and the slightly sinister harmonies that seep in toward the end. Just dandy.

To put a twist into the case, though, I also picked up another bubblegum collection: The Ramones: Anthology. Punk? Leather? Fuggeddabouddit! These guys were pop-all-the-way, three-chords-a-beat fellows who dug Paul McCartney (making themselves his "brothers" by appropriating a pseudonym -- Paul Ramon -- that McCartney had used several times in his career). The Ramones were loud and messy, but they had the most hummable songs to come out of the proto-punk, CBGB world. I love this quote, by Joey Ramone, in the liner notes:

I hate to blow the mystique, but at the time we really liked bubblegum music, and we really liked the Bay City Rollers. Their song "Saturday Night" had a great chant in it, so we wanted a song with a chant in it. "Hey! Ho! Let's go!" [from] "Blitzkrieg Bop" was our "Saturday Night."

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