Three Classic Rock Songs That Are Actually Extraordinarily Grating After The 100th Or So Listen (New Post from the New Guy)

Sunday, December 12, 2010
I’ve been a rocker my entire life (partially thanks to my father, and partially thanks to the fact that ZEPPELIN RULES!), and have become well acquainted with a wide variety of rock classics. So, it seemed like a good thing that the one radio station I get out here in the sticks that isn’t Pop, Country, or Gospel just so happens to be a Classic Rock station. Now, thanks to my car and my job, I spend a good 30 hours a week listening to this particular radio station and have for the past 5 months or so. And, not to sound ungrateful to 102.9, since they provide a much needed service, I do have a few minor complaints. First of all, I’m pretty young, I was born in the late 80s, but even I find it offensive that U2, Tom Petty, and friggin’ Nirvana are now, somehow, “Classic” rock. Second, considering the vast amount of songs that can be considered Classic Rock, for some reason 102.9 still plays the same songs, over and over, every night. Seriously, it’s like they found 40 songs and then got lazy and decided that was enough. I mean, my Classic Rock mix for my iPod is 60 songs, and even that is a small selection.

Now, don’t get me wrong, some of these songs are really great songs, so even after 5 months of hearing them almost every night I’m not sick of them. Songs like Long Time by Boston, Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd, Dust in the Wind and Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas, Immigrant Song and Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin; these are songs you can listen to repeatedly and somehow, after countless listens, you still find yourself singing along whenever they come on. Because they are just that good. However, this cannot be said for some of the songs 102.9 has decided to include in their 40 songs that they use. Three songs I hear almost every night come to mind…

1: Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon

I’m going to play it safe with this first one, since I have a feeling my next two choices some people may disagree with. I had to actually look the performer of this song up, because I had literally never heard of him or any of his other songs, which is strange because of the other regular songs 102.9 reuses I can almost always name the title and band at this point (NOTE: I should mention that 102.9 does not have a DJ, so there isn’t anyone to introduce these beforehand and give a title and band). I guess at some point this song had to have at least some fleeting popularity, even if it wasn’t enduring. It was kinda fun and entertaining, to be honest, at least the first like 50 times I heard it. Then, I found myself getting up and leaving whenever it came on. There are a couple of reasons for this, the main one being the chorus. The singer’s howling really grates on me after a while. It sounds less like a werewolf and more like a monkey who somehow thinks he’s a werewolf and is doing his best werewolf howl impression. It doesn’t help that the man’s chorus is literally just “Arrrroooo, Werewolves of London, Arrroooo…” over and over again while he plays the same line of music on the piano. That’s the second problem, the dude wrote like one line of music for the piano, and then plays that line over and over again for like three and a half minutes. Sure, the lyrics (aside from the chorus) are funny, but that is basically the only thing this song has going for it. That, and the fact that I had never heard of the performer or the song before I started listening to 102.9 may or may not say something about this song’s apparent “Classic Rock” status. I mean seriously, what is this song doing in the same top 40 list with the Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath? Or even either of my next two choices…

2: Live and Let Die by Paul McCartney and Wings

Let me start out by saying that I am in no way dissing Paul McCartney in this. The man is a legend, from the days when pop music was still good. But I mean come on, as far as Bond songs written by famous people, this one has got to be close to the bottom of the list, and it’s not like Wings is remembered especially favorably. This song was pretty forgettable for the longest time, I mean, I wouldn’t make a habit of turning down the radio whenever it came on or anything, but after a while I realized that the only reason I didn’t outright dislike it was because Mr. McCartney was attached to it. He was the only thing keeping me from hating this song, and his pure strength of awesomeness can only hold back my irritation for so long. That’s right, I’m saying that at its core I find this song so irritating that not even Paul McCartney can save it. The whole song seems dis-joined and fragmented, like it was made by throwing different bits of other, more whole selections into a blender and seeing where things landed. Lyrically, the song is incoherent and nonsensical… I’m sure Paul and Linda were doing their best trying to write a song based on the title “Live and Let Die”, but still. And let’s face it, Live and Let Die was not a very good movie anyway. I’m pretty sure the film was racist even for the early 70s, and Roger Moore is pretty far down the list of good Bonds.

3: Riders on the Storm by the Doors

Okay, now before all you classic rockers get angry and start vomiting in rage at me including a well known classic like this on my list, allow me to explain myself. Before I had to hear this song once or twice a night for five months, I too would have included it on a list of rock songs everyone recognizes from somewhere, even if it is tragically associated with Blues Brothers 2000. But that was before, when I had only heard this song once or twice in the background, and before I was given time to really listen to it closely. I realized a few things after having listened to this song like 100 times, and none of them were good. First of all, the song doesn’t make any sense. Like, at all. Every new verse is completely unrelated to the last one, jumping from talking about a killer on the road to why a woman should lover her man. There is no connection between these things, it’s like a jumbled assortment of partially related ideas that are framed by the line “Riders on the Storm”. Also, the song is waaaaay to long. 102.9 plays the seven minute thirty second version of the song every time, and during those seven minutes there is like 2 minutes of unique material. Whenever the song comes on, about halfway through I think something has gone wrong with the signal, because it literally gets so monotonous and quiet in the middle that I forget that its music playing. Lastly, for a Doors song Jim Morrison just sounds bored the entire way through. He sounds like they woke him up to record the song, so he’s still half asleep. Also, compared to, well, most of Morrison’s other works, the lyrics are very uninspired. Maybe that’s why he sounds so bored and sleepy through all his parts. Yes, I recognize that this may be the Doors most recognizable song, but, it’s just not very good. After having had to listen to it so many times, I’m to the point where I want to just turn off the radio for seven minutes until the song is over, and turn the radio back on again for a song that isn’t so painfully monotone and repetitive.

Okay, now, if you’re still so inclined, you may throw your coffee cup at the computer. But after you buy a new screen, I invite all who disagree with me to put these three songs together on repeat, and let me know how you feel about them after a good 100 or so listens. That’s what I thought.

2 comments :

  1. I will never again listen to Werewolves of London without thinking of a monkey doing a werewolf impression...thanks for that! Lol. My first thought when I saw this and that you included a Doors song was "WTF dude? They're the DOORS!" but yeah...the middle like 4 minutes of the song can be really, really tiring to listen to sometimes....unless you are on serious drugs...which most people were when they listened to this song in the 70's.

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  2. I agree entirely with this post. I also wonder when The Doors song The End become a required song for Vietnam War movie soundtracks? Francis Ford Coppola we are looking your way!

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