porcelainandporcupines

Archive for the ‘things that are amazing and terrible’ Category

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.

I have said a lot of negative things about Twilight, and its sequels, over the years and, while I regret none of them, there is one thing, one thing that I never mentioned, one thing that those who are familiar only with the movies will discover this weekend when they see Breaking Dawn, one thing that Stephanie Meyer did spectacularly right. I speak, of course, of the scene in which [major spoiler alert! ] Bella gives birth.

I don’t want to get into all of the pros and cons (mostly cons) of a story in which a vampire can father a child; I will, however, on that subject say that Angel, a form of vampiric entertainment superior to Twilight in every way possible, went down that road as well. Rather, it went down it one better, as both Angel and Darla, mother and father, were vampires. And while I loved Connor dearly, it was not because of any strongly held beliefs that the (un)dead should have the same reproductive capabilities as the living, nor because I was interested in the challenges facing vampire parents.*

(Incidentally, I’m not riding the big old zombie wave that I think has probably crested by now, but just in case it hasn’t – when the zombies start having babies, the time about which Kenny Rogers sang so eloquently – the time to fold ’em – has come.)

Connor’s birth was itself spectacular, as it occasioned the total disintegration of his vampire mother (while it was, obviously, raining; that show was so good), but it has nothing on the birth in Breaking Dawn. In Breaking Dawn. . . man, I don’t even know how to explain this; I could try to give some background, but that wouldn’t actually make anything clearer. So I’m just going to say it:

In Breaking Dawn, Edward chews the baby out of Bella.

Let me repeat that: Edward chews the baby out of Bella.

Understand? The love story that apparently has defined a generation culminates in the undead husband CHEWING HIS BABY OUT OF HIS DYING HUMAN WIFE.

Again, it is beyond my capabilities to describe how incredible this scene is, so you’ll have to take my work for it, but it’s phenomenal. And not just because you briefly have hope that Bella might die, but because, in the 2000+ pages of the entire series, this birth scene is the only one that’s appropriately disgusting. Something which no one will read and think “How dreamy; I hope some day I will meet the man who chews our child out of my uterus. With his teeth.” For one brief moment, the reality (such as it is) of this relationship – that Bella has to die to be with Edward, and that he is literally ripping her apart – shines through the romantic gauze, and it is beautiful.

Also, on a visceral level, it’s just gross. I’ve avoided the Twilight movies up to now, mostly because I was afraid of choking on my own rage and Twizzlers, but also in part because there was nothing any filmmaker could bring to the story that you can’t get from the book itself (maybe some lip biting and b.o.). But this birth? I’ve imagined it so many times, I might have to see if it looks like I pictured. Although, even without seeing it, I am already disappointed that they didn’t shoot it in 3-D.

 

*It was because Connor was delightfully psycho. Seriously – that kid caused some trouble.

 


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