Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Worst song?
So Jack has gotten all riled up about Four Non-Blondes "What's Up". I agree with many of his points, but I'm not quite willing to endorse it as the Worst Song Ever.

To fairly judge a bad song, one needs to evaluate it in a number of categories. Bad vocals. Melodies that are, at the same time, gut-wrenchingly bad and persistent enough to stick with you like a rash. Laughable lyrics. Enough popularity to get lots of airtime. Critical acclaim, since there's nothing worse than having a bad song touted as representative of your generation. While What's Up definitely has the vocals and the lyrics categories wrapped up, it has a fairly catchy melody. Also, to my knowledge, nobody takes this song seriously, so it never manages to escape its "harmless" designation.

I have another candidate to offer. Dave Matthews' Band's Space Between. I'm not convinced that it actually merits the "Worst Song Ever" title... there is a lot of competition out there. I just want to present my analysis.

Bad vocals & melodies: The main hook (the spaaaace between) occurs 8 times in the lyrics below, but it seems like more while listening. There is a good sized jump up from "the" to "space". There is another good sized jump down from "space" to "between". I'm not sure whether that top note is actually off-key, or whether the lead's voice is just strained to the breaking point by making the leap to his upper register, but the effect is decidedly unpleasant. It makes my neck tense up. It makes my skull vibrate. It makes my teeth hurt.

Popularity & acclaim: This got constant radio play when it came out. DMB has some catchy tunes (although this isn't one of them), but people really seem to take them seriously. Almost as seriously as the band takes itself. I don't understand why.

Lyrics: Some of them are okay. But others... well, maybe I should go line by line.

You cannot quit me so quickly
There's no hope in you for me

Okay, there's nothing wrong with that line that couldn't be fixed by adding yet a few more prepositional phrases. There's no hope in you for me between us for the future about our relationship with the talking and the fighting and the singing. Oh, but we wish we could quit you so quickly, as there is, in fact, no hope for you.

No corner you could squeeze me
But I got all the time for you, love

Why would I squeeze you a corner? To make corner juice? You got all the time? From where?

The Space Between
The tears we cry
Is the laughter keeps us coming back for more

Okay this one is actually catchy. I'm guessing this is where the idea for the song originated.

The Space Between
The wicked lies we tell
And hope to keep safe from the pain

Ah, yes. Have to keep those wicked lies safe from the pain. Nothing worse than an aching lie.

But will I hold you again?
These fickle, fuddled words confuse me
Like 'Will it rain today?'
Waste the hours with talking, talking
These twisted games we're playing

These fickle, fuddled words confuse me, too. I'm interpreting this section as "Do I still have to pretend to be interested in what you're saying, or can we make out already?"

We're strange allies
With warring hearts


What wild-eyed beast you be


The Space Between
The wicked lies we tell
And hope to keep safe from the pain

Again with the lie pain. Maybe we should found the SPCWL. (That's the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Wicked Lies, of course.)

Will I hold you again?
Will I hold...

Not likely.

Actually, what happened to that second line? Did he suddenly realize that he was only supposed to sing it once? Or was it directed at somebody's secretary on the phone? What?

Look at us spinning out in
The madness of a roller coaster

Roller coasters don't spin. But I suppose "The madness of a Mad Hatter's Tea Cup" doesn't really have the same ring to it.

You know you went off like a devil
In a church in the middle of a crowded room
All we can do, my love
Is hope we don't take this ship down

Okay lyrics, but I'm starting to hope the ship does goes down before I have to hear that hook again. Oh, God, here it comes.

The Space Between


Where you're smiling high
Is where you'll find me if I get to go

The space between where you're smiling high. Is that referring to the gap between somebody's teeth? And the singer will be there if he gets to go. Huh.

The Space Between
The bullets in our firefight
Is where I'll be hiding, waiting for you

Suddenly wishing everybody had better aim.

The rain that falls
Splash in your heart
Ran like sadness down the window into...
The Space Between
Our wicked lies
Is where we hope to keep safe from pain

Hey! That last line makes a lot more sense than the one where we were trying to keep the lies safe from pain. Why didn't he just sing that before?

Take my hand
'Cause we're walking out of here
Oh, right out of here

This verse apparenly came from some other song. What are they going to walk out of? The fighting? The lies? The bullets? The gap in the teeth?

Love is all we need here

Now where have I heard that line? It sounds so familiar.

The Space Between
What's wrong and right
Is where you'll find me hiding, waiting for you

He'll be lurking in a big blob of moral ambiguity. Like a stalker who's got good intentions. Sure he's invading your privacy, but he'll be able to call 911 if you trip and hit your head in the shower.

The Space Between
Your heart and mine
Is the space we'll fill with time
The Space Between...

Ah, if we could only fill that space with distance. And maybe earplugs.
posted by Rebecca 4/29/2003 05:44:00 PM

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
posted by Rebecca 4/29/2003 01:30:00 PM

Monday, April 28, 2003

I can bring home the uranium, fry it up in a pan...
It's nice to see there are some fields in which Arab women are allowed to get ahead.
posted by Rebecca 4/28/2003 04:16:00 PM