"The Christmas Waltz"

Santa's on his way
He's filled his sleigh with things
Things for you and for me

We're getting things for Christmas this year? Hooray! Last year all I got was stuff. At least it wasn't crap. But if it's not too late, Santa, what I really want is miscellany. I know that's a bit fancy, but I've been a good boy, really I have.

(You have to love the way Frank builds to and hits the word "things" in that phrase, all buttery excitement, as if he's crooning the name of his dearest love. Who doesn't love things, right?)

A very Merry Christmas to my four readers! Hope you all get lots of things!


Well woman the way the time cold I wanna be keepin' you warm
I got the right temperature for shelter you from the storm
Oh lord, gal I got the right tactics to turn you on
And girl I wanna be the papa, you can be the mom, oh oh!

Admit it, unless you're from Jamaica, you have no idea what Sean Paul sings in any of his songs. Heck, even if you were to read his lyrics, you're going to have a hard time figuring out what it all means. No, it's really enough to just bop along happily to the riddim, mouthing the occasional words that you kind of maybe understand.

Until you actually do read the lyrics. Then it's hard not to be slightly creeped out. It's not that the song seems to be one long boast about his sexual prowess - that's been a proud theme of pop music since "Sixty Minute Man". It's that the song seems to be one long boast about his sexual prowess as the sole reason to have a baby with him!

Call me old-fashioned, but... ew.

If I need shelter from a storm, please just hand me an umbrella instead.


When the Moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars

Damn hippies. They ruined Broadway.

"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)"

So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place.
I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face.
It was my own lovely lady, and she said, "Oh, it's you."
And we laughed for a moment, and I said, "I never knew..."

The very first line in this song ("I was tired of my lady") is perhaps one of the most evocative opening lines in all of popular music. Instantly you're transported to a world of ferns and polyester, of shag carpets and variety shows, of a newfangled concept called the "personal ad" and lounge lizards who use the phrase "my lady". The world of Larry from Three's Company.

This was the last number one song of the seventies, and such phrases keep the song firmly rooted there. A current remake of the song would surely involve references to match.com or eHarmony, but that would strip away some of the dated cheesiness that is essential to its charm.

You know the story: a man loses interest in his lady, reads a personal ad of someone who seems more interesting, arranges a meeting with the new lady, discovers that this new lady is none other than his current lady, then laughter and a happy ending. They don't make story songs like that anymore.

Now it's almost unfair to rag on the lyrics when Rupert Holmes himself admits in the song that "I'm nobody's poet" and allows only that the lyrics aren't "half bad" (no boastful rapper, he). Still, if I were the woman walking into the bar, discovering that not only is my boyfriend planning on cheating on me, but he's about to find out that I was planning on cheating on him, I'd probably react a bit more strongly than an oddly emotionless "Oh, it's you". It irks me that Holmes delivers the phrase with a shrug, when it's the freaking climax of the song!

I'm also a bit skeptical about the happy ending. I can accept that they laugh about the situation and make up instead of launching into the mother of all fights right there in the fern bar. But anyone can see that the relationship is doomed. After the piña coladas wear off, what then? Back to a crippling lack of communication, boredom, and the personal ads, I'm afraid.

"Eternal Flame"

Close your eyes, give me your hand, darling
Do you feel my heart beating, do you understand?

If the answer is no, I don't feel your heart beating, then I'd understand that I'd need to call an ambulance right away. Although you're still calmly singing and coming on to me, so I might have to conclude that you're one of the undead. But what type of undead? I think vampires must have beating hearts. Otherwise, why would a stake to the heart kill one, right? So maybe you'd be a zombie, except I'd expect zombies to be clamoring for my brain rather than stopping to croon a sappy love song.

Let's see, you took my hand so you're not a ghost, I don't see bandages so you're obviously not a mummy, and you're not scary enough to be a nazgul. That leaves... unhand me, you succubus!!

Nah, I'm just teasing, don't do that. I'm just babbling because I can't believe you just grabbed my hand and placed it on your boob. Do you really expect me to notice if your heart is beating or not?

(UPDATE 2/27/09: Gotta love this comic...)

"Redneck Woman"

I keep my Christmas lights on, on my front porch all year long
And I know all the words to every Tanya Tucker song

I'm not much of a fan of country music, but this gleeful, boot-stompin' song makes me want to find a real fun-lovin' redneck woman of my own. Shoot, it almost makes me want to *be* a redneck woman myself. Drinking beer at the local honky tonk, buying cheap lingerie, hell yeah, life don't get no better than that.

Seriously, it's a fun song, both to listen to and to sing along to in Karaoke Revolution. But I'm afraid it's based on a pickup truck full of lies. In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Tanya Tucker herself calls Gretchen Wilson on it:
Hey, she's lying out her ass. I asked her to sing me one of my songs the other day, and she didn't know a damn word of it!

Now I'm sure this was meant good-naturedly; after all, they did the interview together and Tanya admitted she was thrilled to be mentioned. Still, it makes me think twice about my own redneck woman plans. Is it really all it's cracked up to be? Just what else is she lying about? How long do you *really* keep your Christmas lights out, Ms. Wilson?

"Jump Around"

Word to your moms, I came to drop bombs
I got more rhymes than the Bible's got Psalms

Rappers are not generally known for their humility, instead very often wishing to convey the message that they are magnificent and therefore not to be trifled with. "Jump Around", despite its shiny, bouncy package, is true to form, filled as it is with the requisite orders, boasts, and threats that you rarely find in other music genres. Within this context, having more rhymes than there are Psalms is a rather modest claim, as there are only 150 of them.

A charitable explanation is that House of Pain decided that it's a good rhyme, pedants be damned. But it still leaves the impression that someone might have thought "The Bible is long, it must have a whole ox-load of Psalms". Regardless, 150 turned out to be more rhymes than they needed anyway; "Jump Around" was the first and last hurrah for the whole Irish-American rap genre. Sadly, that genre's death means that today we're missing out on movies that are a frighteningly awesome blend of Stomp The Yard and Riverdance.