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Archive for August 2014

In one corner: She’s So High, by Tal Bachman

In the other: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Deep Blue Something

Each of these songs is more than 15 years old. Each of these songs is terrible. There is no reason in the world why anyone should be talking about either of these songs in this, the latter half of 2014. But both of them got stuck in my head over the weekend, so why not see if we can determine which of these one-hit wonders is less likely to clear the dance floor on ’90s night?

Artist name: Tal Bachman vs. Deep Blue Something

If an infinite amount of monkeys were given an infinite number of typewriters, they would write Hamlet. It would take significantly fewer monkeys, working on maybe 3 typewriters, to come up with Deep Blue Something. And even then, rather than being impressed that any number of monkeys managed to type out a series of actual words, random though it might be, you’d probably think “Wow, those monkeys are not as clever as they think they are.”

Tal Bachman, on the other hand, is just the name of some guy.

Verdict: While the simplicity of a given name should, in most circumstances, win out over the creative output of, like, 5 really smug monkeys, the unfortunate fact remains that that I had to look up the singer of She’s So High, while Deep Blue Something I just knew. Instant recognition means there’s no intermediate step before I can move on to forgetting about them again, so the point goes to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Subject Matter

The somewhat confusingly-titled She’s So High is not expressing concern about the stoner girl in your high school and/or college class, but instead is about a very pretty girl that Taj thinks is out of his league. Spoiler alert : she talks to him anyway.

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the singer makes a last-ditch effort to save his troubled romantic relationship by reminding his significant other that they both “kind of liked” the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Could also be titled “Grasping at Straws”.

Verdict: Neither song is breaking new ground in terms of subject matter, nor where they back in their pre-millenial heyday. There is no upending of convention in the miracle of a pretty woman speaking to a less-attractive man without being tricked into it, nor in trying to stall the end of a failing relationship. However, that the effort to stall the end is an impassioned plea that rests entirely on a film that they remember as “kind of” liking makes it clear that the relationship in BaT is absolutely doomed.

The relationship in SSH hasn’t happened yet, so it does still have the potential to do something out of the ordinary, even though it will probably be just as predictable as every other iteration. Thus, the point goes to She’s So High.

Baffling Choruses (Chori?)

She’s So High makes this case for itself:

‘Cause she’s so high,

high above me, she’s so lovely

She’s so high,

Like Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, or Aphrodite

She’s so high, high above me.

This does very little to clarify that the song is not about some tripping and probably filthy hippie, and in fact adds greater confusion, with the “high above me” conjuring images of a girl who is literally hovering above the ground.

But the most truly confusing aspect of the chorus is the inclusion of Joan of Arc in the list of historical beauties. I understand the limitations of a rhyme scheme, and that a song is not a history lesson, but really? Not to say that Joan of Arc was not attractive, and I’m sure that in the crowd surrounding the stake upon which she was burned to death, there was at least one mopey loser realizing that maybe her divine visions would have shown her that he was a good guy and he only didn’t follow her into the successful battle that she lead because he was so nervous and tongue-tied around her, and now, now that the wind-swept ashes that had been her lovely hair were catching on his eyelashes, he sees that she, like him, was human after all and he should have spoken to her and he’ll always carry that regret with him, but really?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s comes out swinging with this:

And I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

She said I think I remember the film,

and, as I recall, we both kind of liked it.

And I said, well, that’s the one thing we’ve got.

Should the fact that two people are lukewarm on Audrey Hepburn be enough to save a relationship? Does the fact that you’re not totally sure you’ve forgotten one particular activity the two of you engaged in mean that there’s something worth fighting for? Remember how discomfited we were by the SUPER racist Japanese character played by Mickey Rooney? Don’t throw that away.

Verdict: The couple at the center of BaT is clearly filled with apathy, whereas SSH is reducing not just one woman but women throughout history to helium-filled Real Girls, floating above the city like a perpetual pornographic Thanksgiving Day parade. And weren’t the ’90s apathy’s last stand, before the Millenials came along and ruined everything? Point, and, because I have to go to a meeting, match to Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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So far, the most interesting thing to happen this week is that a guy fell down on the bus this morning. Actually, there were two guys who fell over; they’d been talking to each other across the aisle and, in unison, rose from their seats as the bus approached the next stop. Neither anticipated that the driver would stop for the traffic lights that came before the bus stop, but he did; and as he deployed the brakes in a completely ordinary and non-dramatic fashion, the two guys in the process of gracelessly rising from their seats found themselves pitching forward in a suddenly dramatic yet equally graceless effort to stop from falling all the way down. Only one of them succeeded.

The one who did not succeed, the one who fell, took an awfully long time to fall completely. He went in curious slow-motion through the stages of falling, first attempting to lurch upright, then falling on one knee, then lurching forward again to crash his face into the legs of the people who’d managed to successfully make their ways toward the door of the bus, and then, finally, landing fully on the floor. It was an effort just to watch. Had I been in a similar position, I’m sure I too would have struggled every step of the way down, but as an observer, it was clear that submitting to the inevitable and just falling already would have been the most elegant path, since only after completing the fall was he able to begin to get back up successfully.

Falling spectacularly in public like that, there are really only two possible ways to react : if you’re embarrassed but overall unharmed, you can dorkily call attention to your situation and subsequent recovery; if you are, at all, in any sort of pain, you immediately start casting blame. Which I say without judgement; after I fell on the ice this winter, I immediately looked for the house number of whoever the fuck would be so fucking lazy as to leave 3 fucking inches of ice on the fucking sidewalk in front of their fucking house, because without that fucking ice, I wouldn’t have bonked my fucking head on their fucking sidewalk. Not that I am holding a grudge.

The guy this morning could only blame the driver, although there were plenty of people who did not fall over or down when the braking happened, so I suppose there was the option to blame himself. Alas, that is not the option he chose, which is really too bad. Because, if he’s anything like me – and one thing I’ve noticed over the past 40 years is that most people are – that fall on the bus was his entire morning : every time someone arrives at work and says “Hey, guy, how’s it going?” he’s going to have to mention that he fell on the bus – again, because that’s what I would do – and I’d much rather spend the morning telling the story of how I looked like an idiot but wound up okay than the story of how I’m limping because of that dumb fucking bus driver.

But ultimately, I’m actually telling you the story of how somebody else fell on the bus because, I’m pretty sure, this has been the single most uneventful 2-week span in my entire life. The only other possible thing I could talk about was some positive feedback I got on a PowerPoint presentation, but you wouldn’t be able to see the presentation, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to read a description of a PowerPoint presentation. So instead, I went with the guy falling down on the bus. And I’m sure that, our positions reversed, he would have done the same.


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