The year is almost over: time to consider my Song of the Year for 2013. So that everyone’s clear, my first two entries are counterexamples: they are not good music, at least not for me. Anyway, here goes:
This is a very late entry: the video appeared only a couple of days ago. Yet it is so extraordinarily bad that it made this post after listening for 20 seconds. The music was thrown together, and doesn’t properly fit the words. And if you want to send your not-quite-friends a text message for Christmas, I really don’t want to hear about it. Do whatever melts your butter.
My son was enthusiastic about this song, and recommended I give it a listen. On one level, it isn’t too bad: I don’t find myself wanting to turn it off while listening to it. But five minutes later, the tune has completely slipped my mind, except for the first line of the refrain: “I came in like a wrecking ball….” OK, then what?
And I remember when music videos told a story, or at least had some continuity. We see alternating visions of Miley riding a wrecking ball while naked, and then, no longer naked, kissing a sledgehammer. And this is supposed to evoke… what? My fantasy life on a construction site?
Yes, the first few lines are mind-blowingly juvenile (“Dog goes woof / Cat goes meow / Bird goes tweet / And mouse goes squeek…”). But the music is propulsive, and unlike Miley, stays in my head. It’s music that goes with doing something, rather than moaning about how rotten the world is.
The YouTube video for this song is titled ‘People Are Awesome,’ a series of clips of people demonstrating feats of athleticism. My wife had found the video last winter, and I was more interested in the music than the visuals. The music suggests energetic striving and achievement.
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And a final thought. This song came out when I was in high school. I associated it with, among other things, a part of New York City that I had to visit this past week for a project. In its time, it was one good song among many. If it came out this year, it would have swept the competition. Is it just that music, like everything else, is more exciting when you’re a teenager? Or are there some darker forces at work?