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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Songs to Splat By

Splats don’t happen in a vacuum.  Like everything else in life, they occur context and usually involve more than one of the five senses at a time. So today’s post focuses on sound, specifically the music we splat by.  Opinions about music differ widely and ours represents only one.  It also happens to be the correct one,  but don't let that stop you from chiming in to tell us what you think, and please help us complete the splat-track! 

Any credible list requires criteria of some kind, so here are ours:  the song’s music and/or lyrics must in some way speak for splatters everywhere.  In other words, songs can't land on the splat-track as a function of individual nostalgia.  No one cares if, hypothetically, “Crazy For You” by Madonna was playing while you stood in the corner of the Lake Braddock Secondary School cafeteria on a Friday night in 8th grade, inhaling the heady bouquet of teenaged sweat and tater tots as you waited in vain for a tall boy named Doug to ask you to dance.  The song must reach the splatting population at large.  So, here are our first five nominees:

1.     "We Are the Champions" by Queen .  We like the sound of this tune just fine but it makes our list on lyrics alone.  (Start waving your lighter and/or cell phone, as demographically appropriate):

I've had my share of sand kicked in my face -
But I've come through…
But it's been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise -
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race -
And I ain't gonna lose -
We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end

Just try to dislodge this get-on-your-feet-and-stay-there anthem from the top spot on this list.  We dare you. 

2.      "March of the Toreadors" from the opera Carmen.  When The Bad News Bears came out in 1976, this instrumental made a huge splash in non-opera circles.  It became known as the theme song for a fictional little league team that got blown out of every game.  Tired of being baseball laughingstocks, the Bears and their coach decided to try to turn things around.  The kids’ hard work, combined with some very unconventional leadership techniques, transformed the group.  Once a team that lost every game, the Bears blossomed into a team that still lost when it counted but by a smaller margin and with excellent background music.  Splat!  Despite their defeat on the field, the Bears won an important moral victory, as well as post-game access to the coach’s beer-stocked cooler.  Whenever we hear a few bars of this majestic, magnificent march, we’re transported back to the movie that inspired generations of splat-ters, not to mention underage drinkers.

3.        "Loser," by Beck.  Representing the darker side of a splat, this tune opens with: “In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey.”  Nothing says “splat” like being the wrong primate at the wrong time.  OK, in truth we have no idea what those lyrics mean.  But we do know the narrator has splatted pretty hard.  He’s lost hope for course correction to the point of contemplating going  “crazy with the cheez whiz.”  You’re in a very bad place, splat-wise, when you’re expressing unhealthy urges involving spray cheese.

4.    "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5 .  This is our lone sound-only splat.  “Sunday Morning” is, on the whole, a great piece of pop music.  The piano kicks it off with a combination of jazz chords supported by the accent of a high-hat cymbal on every other beat, creating a mood that’s lazy but content.  This song doesn’t want you to launch yourself out of bed to do an Insanity workout.  Instead, it invites you to stay right where you are: “Sunday morning, rain is falling, steal some covers, share some skin; clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable, you twist to fit the mold that I am in.”  Everything’s going great as this nice little ditty eases down the musical road, all the way up until the moment when they reach the “bridge,” slam into the rails and go careening over the side.  (Only the pianist and lead singer show the good judgment to jump out of the musical car before it’s too late.)  Impact occurs when a bunch of synthesized horns burst onto the tranquil Sunday bedroom scene, shattering the mood as effectively as the sudden appearance of a creepy uncle.  (We confess we’re not 100% certain the horns are synthesized but we assume so because real brass would show some class and butt out in such a situation).  The song and band spend another eight bars or so flailing around in the water before regaining its buoyancy. 

5.    "Jump" by Van Halen.  We admit to having some sentimental associations with this song but it gets here under its own steam.  It starts with a catchy keyboard hook that gains momentum when it’s joined by forward-charging power chords and a determined, but not frantic, drumbeat.  The music itself evokes pure resilience.  Poetically speaking, the lyrics to “Jump” will never be mistaken for the work of Maya Angelou (or even any of the Three Stooges).  But they do promote the bounceback theme, and neither they nor the music will let you stay in the dirt for long.  

Love these? Hate these? Wish we hadn't mentioned [insert song name] because now it's gonna be stuck in your head all day? Drop us a line and let us know! 


  1. Great list. I think I'll go create an iPod playlist...

  2. Glad you liked it! Feel free to send along your adds!

  3. Alrighty then...

    It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over - Lenny Kravitz

    I Won't Back Down - Tom Petty

    Creep - Radiohead

    I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

    Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar

    We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister

    Tubthumping - Chumbawamba

    Too Legit to Quit - MC Hammer

  4. My evil plan to get other people to do the hard work for me is working! Mwahahahahaha. These are great! "Tubthumping" and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" very nearly made the first cut and have gotten several votes...I see an update in the very near future....

  5. hmmm, no help from me. Just thoughts of Dave Berry.

    1. The Book of Bad Songs might be my favorite book of all time! (And Dave was a genius for doing the survey...)