Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guilty Pleasures Part Eighty-Six -- Fearless Maria Returns With a Bang (and technical innovations!)

Fearless Maria returns to the fray and she's ready to talk tunes.


Wait, you don't sound much like AC/DC.

Right, because I'm Fearless Maria, your daughter. Hello? I'm not really good at sounding like a guy who's been dead for over 30 years! And I've never played the bagpipes, either!

Good point. So what's up with the explosion, then?

Dad, in a world of guns and violence, sometimes you just have to try and fit in. Do you know what I'm saying? You just have to try, in a pacifistic way. I'm not really exploding, I'm just SAYING I'm exploding. It's the whole psychology method, like what they do in politics!

Or on the History Channel when Benster is watching it, right?

Well, yeah. I'm sure "Ancient Aliens" has plenty of it. Not that Benster watches that -- I think he's staying up for the 24-hour Nathaneal Greene marathon.

That is an exciting prospect. So what do we want to do today, Fearless Maria?

Well, Mr. D, we could do something with guns and endear ourselves to our 2nd Amendment loving friends. That's called marketing, you know.

Good point! Well, as it happens, there are plenty of interesting songs with guns in them.

Please don't play "Run Joey Run," Dad! Shall we pull out the very rusty wayback machine that we almost sold at the garage sale? You know, the one no one would buy?

I thought that was a salad bowl, but I take your point. We'll set the controls for 1966. And look, it's a clip from Hullabaloo, complete with bad go-go dancing!

It's Junior Walker and the All-Stars, with "Shotgun," of course.

Well, well, well. We meet again, go-go dancing. It's not a pleasure to see you again. The good thing is, at least, although there's bad dancing, there's good music to go with it. I'm trying to be optimistic here, people. Dad told me that this one is a Motown classic and he's telling the truth. Listen to Junior Walker wailing on that saxophone! He's a lot better than some of the people in my band, that's for sure! The outfits are just the usual 60s thing -- not much to say there. They tried to look nice. And you could say that they did, I guess, although it's a black and white video so maybe the clothes didn't match or something. Final grade -- A-.

So you docked it because of the bad go-go dancing?

You got it, Pops! What's next?

It's a video that wasn't a performance, so you'll have to limit your critique to the song, Maria. But it's a song that gives you a lot to work with:

Yes, it's "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by the Beatles.

"A soap impression of his wife, which he ate and donated to the National Trust?" Some people are just really, really strange. Or maybe he should have made a dish to go with it, to make a bubble bath. I'm not sure what John Lennon was thinking; maybe he had too much Palmolive. Well, the Beatles are a great band and probably my favorite, but I have to say that this is not my favorite song. The clothing department -- well, it's the Beatles, so what can I say? Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but usually decent. Although I'm not too crazy about that pink sportcoat that Paul is wearing. Not really a good look. So final grade -- B+.

You get to give the grades around here, Maria. So now we move forward about five years. We stay in England, though.

Don't tell Benster! He'll want to stop by the offices of the Everton FC and buy a bunch of merchandise so he doesn't have to wait for his birthday!

Well, we're not really in England. That's just a figure of speech.

I know that and you know that, but will Benster know that? We'd better keep moving. Whatcha got, Daddy-O?

It's 1973, it's Top of the Pops, and it's 10cc:

Load up the "Rubber Bullets":

Some people dance on the stage. Some people dance on the street, in flash mobs. But only 10cc would dance at the local county jail. In my opinion, a very nonsense song. But kinda fun, too. And since it's the 1970s, of course they all look like they just came out of a wind tunnel or maybe a rabbit hole. Maybe both! That lowers the grade. Final grade -- B.

I like some of 10cc's other songs better, but they don't fit the theme. So now we move to 1978 and something entirely different. It's time to check out one of the more brilliant and strange songwriters of that era:

Send "Lawyers Guns & Money," Warren Zevon suggests.

Well, not much to critique on the visual side. On the lyrics side, how does he get from running away from Russian waitresses to ending up in Havana and Honduras? And how do you send a lawyer and a gun? Fedex? I don't think they had Fedex back then! Did they go on the Pony Express? Because if they did, the pony would have drowned in the Caribbean! Other than the wacky lyrics, the song has a nice beat. Dad, get me out of this! Final grade -- B.

Well, I like this song a lot, but you get to give out the grades.

Yes I do. But there's no stopping you from giving out a grade, too. What would you give this song?

An A. No doubt about it.

Well, let's see if we agree on the next song.

Sure. Back to England, one year later. Again, it's Top of the Pops and it's the very British band The Jam:

It's the "Eton Rifles."

Dad, can I ask you a question?

Sure -- what is it?

How do they get all that music to come out when they don't have their guitars plugged in?

I think they're lip synching, Maria. They did a lot of that on Top of the Pops.

Well, that's cheap and it lowers the grade for effort. As for the outfits, you can tell that it's the end of the 1970s because the clothing is starting to look less strange. In fact, the lead singer is actually rocking the shades rather than those 10cc guys who were rocking the bloodshot eyes. I like the song; the lyrics are less wacky than Warren Zevon and it's pretty catchy. A solid performance, if they'd only plug in their instruments. Final grade -- A-.

Let's stay in England, shall we? Now we go to the very end of 1979 and beginning of 1980. It's the Clash, with a song from the great album London Calling, with bassist Paul Simonon at the helm:

It's "The Guns of Brixton."

"No need for the Black Mariah?" Well, of course not! You've got Fearless Maria! Well, the lyrics were political, I guess, but Dad tells me that's for a reason. I really like the reggae rhythm and beat, which is cool and menacing, even intimidating. The outfits are 1980s, so not as bad and there's some epic looking fedoras going around, too. So final grade -- B.

I'll reserve the right to disagree again. I give this one a big fat A.

Well, that's fair. Do you have any more, Dad?

One more. Now it's the end of 1982 and we go to another British band, but one that's very different than the Clash:

It's Squeeze, with "Annie Get Your Gun."

I liked it! Good guitar, no wacky lyrics, really and some color-changing lights. I'm all about the stagecraft. As for the outfits, nothing too strange on the clothing side, so that's good. Really, that's all I've got to say. Final grade -- A.

Okay, so let's try something different. We're going to add a Pollcode box to see if this makes it easier to vote:

Pick your favorite Guilty Pleasure free polls 

Of course, we'd encourage you to share your comments in the comment section, too!

I like this innovation, Dad. I give it an A+! It's about time you moved into the 21st Century, especially since you have a hard time picking songs that aren't 30 years old. And from England, apparently.

I gotta be me, Maria. I gotta be me.

1 comment:

Night Writer said...

"Lawyers, Guns and Money" is a great ringtone to assign to your kids when they call your cell.

Perhaps Maria will want to check out Julie Brown's "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun."