Roll The List #6: Dalton’s Take 1

Top 5 Worst “Calm” Songs

As this is the first time we have come across this contradicting category of “top” and “worst”, it again presents a level of ambiguity that can be harvested for the pleasure of the writer. Are these the worst of the worst, or the best of the worst? I’m splitting hairs, I believe. A bit of devil’s advocacy. The point is to find the 5 worst. I am a fan of slow stuff. I have quite a few calm songs in nearly every playlist not labeled “angry music” or “instrumental for writing”. Referencing a calm song that I can recall from memory that I don’t like will prove difficult, but tis the challenge of the topic.

5. Lovesong, The Cure – I have absolutely nothing against this song. In fact, I have listened to the 311 cover of this song an innumerable amount of times. But, therein lies the problem with this classic song. It has become over the decades the default love song that most every band with a want to get laid must cover. Is there a more covered song in America? I’m sure a couple of Beatles songs could compete, but let that not stray you from my point. The number of covers this song has received has diluted its quality. As movie producers are butchering classics with their countless remakes, so is music sometimes beating proverbially dead horses into the dust that is modern creativity.

4. Swing Life Away, Rise Against – Yes, I am one of those people that says (though often to myself), “I liked them way before they were popular…” Rise Against is one such band I appreciated before they made it big. That, I believe, has no bearing on why I no longer appreciate this song. Sometimes it’s as simple as it was overplayed and I just can’t stand even hearing the tune anymore. That would be the case with Swing Life Away, as it was so overplayed on my favorite radio stations that I was convinced the government was testing the sanity of 20-somethings on their daily commutes on just how many times they could listen to this song before snapping and driving straight into a light pole. I believe all of my favorite bands have a slow song or two. Often times those songs end up placed in my top-5 of those respective bands’ discographies. But in the case of Rise Against, the gritty feel of their music, even in romantically charged titles like Like The Angel, was a missed attribute in several songs that accompanied the release of Swing Life Away. Swing Life Away was the epitome of Rise Against trying to be soft. It worked, for the most part, it just wasn’t the Rise Against I knew and loved.

3. The Nurse Who Loved Me, Perfect Circle – In my intro I argued the ambiguity of the “top worst” category. While I admitted that I think it means the 5 worst songs, I had to include this title that I believe fits perfectly in the “top worst” category from the perspective of a song that is, by several accounts, awful, but just might be the best worst song ever because it is so full of parody and thick with irony and relational symbolism. I absolutely love this song. It is calm, melodic, and can make you laugh and cry at the same time. It is a song told from the perspective of a psych ward patient who thinks the nurse attending him loves him. The tone of the song is so serious and melodramatic, but it just further adds to the parody of it all. How often do “perfectly sane” guys act just like the man in this song? Pretty much every day? We all crave this attention from women to the point that we are willing to make it up in our heads whether or not the woman reciprocates. Many friendzones out there are based around this all-too-common attribute of the platonic girl/guy relationship. We want to believe that a girl out of our league could like us so bad that we convince ourselves that it is true, that there is a thread of hope, and that if we maintain our character and caring attitudes that the circumstances will arise in which she will love you as you think she could. Hence, laughing and crying at the same time.

2. Kristy, Are You Doing OK?, The Offspring – Fortunately and unfortunately, I did not have to go far outside my own music collection to complete this list. The Offspring are in my top 10, if not top 5, favorite bands. I have a ridiculous number of songs memorized off each album, from Dirty Magic to Spare Me The Details. But, Kristy has forced me to realize that every wild dog needs to be released back into the woods when things just aren’t working out anymore. It pained me to do it, but I basically lost interest in Offspring while listening to Rise and Fall. I bought the album. I pushed myself to like it, fueled by my love of everything Offspring before it. But I just have to admit, have to confess, that I just don’t like this album. It has a couple of songs that are decent, as Stuff is Messed Up reminds me of something they would’ve done on Splinter or Conspiracy of One. But Kristy and Fix You were just so drained of the energy that even their past calm songs conveyed. Gone Away is a fantastic song of heartache, but Kristy just sounds like something Chris Daughtry wrote and tried to sing in Dexter’s voice. I just couldn’t get into it. We’ll always have Americana, right, Offspring?…

1. Hey There, Delilah, Plain White T’s – The lead singer of PWTs all-but admitted that he wrote this song to get laid. Is that not enough to just kill the vibe you got from this song the first 10 times you heard it? What? You’ve heard it over 100 times? Well, I’m sure only 20-25 of those experiences were purposeful. The other 75 or so incidents likely occurred under the following circumstances: 1. You were walking through a clothing store that has it set to every-other-song on their soundtrack. 2. Your favorite radio station was playing it after every commercial break. 3. One of your friends who has been living under a rock thought he discovered an awesome song and wanted you to listen to it. 4. You, like the lead singer, were looking to get laid and you were desperate enough to listen to this garbage to make it happen. A song that uses “pretty” to complete a rhyme and squeezes in a “never-ever” without anyone noticing just can’t avoid drowning the listener in cheese-factor. Hey, it’s not my fault your song is so overplayed, but if I’m forced to listen to it over and over and over, I’m going to dissect it like an entomologist on Dryococelus australis. Yeah, look it up. It’s a pretty cool story.

Side note: As most Bob Marley songs are “calm”, I have to say that I think all of his songs should be banned from college campuses so drugged-up, soulless art-zombies cannot claim they have reached nirvana through some dude’s music. Seriously…we get it…Bob Marley was an awesome dude who wrote some great songs…Your acknowledgment of his talent, believe it or not, does not make you a better person.

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One thought on “Roll The List #6: Dalton’s Take

  • Kyle Hagan

    But if I am not a better person for letting from Bob Marley that war and ate are bad who else am I supposed to learn it from, God?