It’s December, and I’m getting nervous.
Not about getting people Christmas presents, or the vast pile of work at the office, although those are concerns. It’s almost the end of the year, and I haven’t come across a single candidate for my Song of the Year.
Last year, it was easy: ‘Telephone,’ by Lady Gaga. Yes, the record came out in late 2009, but I was first aware of the song in January 2010, which is what counts. ‘Telephone’ is exciting and propulsive, a good song to play in the back of your mind while bicycling. I was thinking of disqualifying it after watching the music video of Lady Gaga and Beyoncé as mass murderers, but there was really no competition.
But this year… nothing. A couple of times, the Song of the Year has been a James Bond theme, but the last James Bond movie came out in 2008.
This morning, I forced myself to sit through the new Lady Gaga video, ‘Marry the Night.’ The video is a pastiche of mental illness, physical fitness, and arson: spare me. But, as with last year, I’ll give a pass if the song is good.
Which, alas, it isn’t. There isn’t much of a melody, but it could have worked if it was presented clearly and assertively. But there was more noise than music, and Gaga herself knew the words were mere poetic fluff (unlike ‘Telephone’) and couldn’t bring herself to sing them like she meant it.
The song might have gotten my attention with different lyrics, perhaps with a guy singing it, but not the way it was. Not even close.
My first Song of the Year was in 1975, when I was 14: ‘Brazil’ by the Ritchie Family. Through about 2000, there were generally several candidates every year. But then things simply dried up.
I’ll find something. Maybe.