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Mainstream Rock: Steve Miller Band, “I Want to Make the World Turn Around” (1986)

Scott: Man, I really like this tune. Its moodiness and slinky backbeat really resonate. His guitar playing reminds me of Gilmour in his ’80s heyday. I don’t even mind that sax part.

John: Well, it’s no “Bongo Bongo,” that’s for sure. Talk about making a hasty retreat from synthpop to Glenn Frey-ville. Some people call him the Midnight Cowboy — I call him the Gangster of Sludge.

Taylor: I tend to like the Steve Miller Band more often than not (which is funny in and of itself if any of you have paid attention to my taste thus far), but there’s really nothing redeeming about this song. It’s boring, repetitive, and all arounddddddddddddddddddfffffffffff… oh shit, sorry, fell asleep on the keyboard there for a second.

Will: The ‘80s killed saxophone as an instrument for me (much as it did for other people, I’m sure), but I do like its use at the beginning of this song. As a child of the ‘80s, I knew this song and “Abracadabra” before I ever knew anything about Miller’s ‘70s output, so that’s probably why I’m at least as partial to this material as I am classics like “Jungletown,” “Fly Like An Eagle,” and any number of other AOR hits. I think I finally gave up on him when I decided 1988’s “Ya Ya” was really, really dumb…but I hear Wide River (1993) is actually a pretty good album.

Dunphy: Funny story about this song: Can’t remember it for the life of me. I think this must have been the month I was abducted by nearsighted aliens. Once they beamed me aboard they got a good look and said, “Hell, I ain’t probing that…”

It’s actually not a bad song at all, kind of enjoyable and relatively pompatus and papaya free.

Jason: Often (read: sometimes) people ask me if I ever write any original songs. “No,” I reply, “because I feel like every lyric I write would wind up being stupid and cliché.” Then I hear shit like this and think that maybe I should give it a try. I mean, the lyrics aren’t any dumber than any of his other songs, but what the fuck is that saying?

That being said, the music isn’t that bad, and I do like his guitar playing. Did we figure out why he’s wearing clown makeup?

Zack: Wow. This song is an incredible accomplishment, in that it manages to take everything I like about the Steve Miller Band and make me hate it. I was just the right kind of drunk to enjoy the saxophone solo starting the song, and at the moment when the drum machine kicked in, I was so disgusted I almost spilled my drink (ed. Zack did not spill his drink). The pointless harmonizing. The shots of children playing violins while no strings are audible (reminiscent of a desperately hated No Doubt video where trombones and trumpets are nothing more than props). The “Enemy Mime”-style face paint. Absolute garbage.

Py Korry: I thought the clown makeup Steve wears in the video was:

a.) A testament to his love of KISS.
b.) A way to hide is aging mug.
c.) A muddled reference to his album “The Joker.”
d.) ALL OF THE ABOVE.

Vrabel: You know why I never listen to the Steve Miller Band? Because I’m not in a fraternity. I can’t back this up with paperwork, but I firmly believe that if the Steve Miller Band is playing and you’re hearing it, there’s a 92.5% chance you’re either in a Delta Chi house or, of course, at a rib burnoff in Naperville where Steve’s playing.

Scott: It’s so funny you say that about Steve Miller and fraternities. I would go one step further and say that Steve Miller wouldn’t have a career today if it wasn’t for colleges. I wasn’t in a fraternity, but I heard his Greatest Hits album playing out of every dorm room in the late ’80s. He should go on tour with the Violent Femmes, another group that owes whatever money they make to college students suddenly discovering the first Femmes album during their freshman year,

Modern Rock: Green Day, “When I Come Around” (1995)

Taylor: Dookie was THE album when I was in 4th and 5th grade. I remember a friend of mine who was a year older than me “stole” it from her brother, and we all thought she was so damn cool. I never bought a copy, so I guess that says a lot about me. I can’t really explain why — I liked them, just not enough to want to get the album. I think I was still bummed that my favorite country station had just gone out of business. Anyway, this is my favorite song from that album. Well, this or “Longview.”

Medsker: Fourth and fifth grade? What are you, 17? I was three years out of college when Dookie came out. Fuck. I am old.

Vrabel: Dookie was THE album when I was in COLLEGE (is there anyone else around here that was in 4th grade in 1995, because I really couldn’t feel older right now, my back suddenly hurts and I’m overcome by a burning desire to listen to John Mayer music), and this song is tremendously fun to sing to when you’re fueled by whiskey.

Dunphy: I just had an awful realization. This panel is the cast of Cocoon, making me the fat, ornery Wilfred Brimley of Chartburn.

Crap.

Jason: Please tell me that this makes me Guttenberg.

Py Korry: I have nothing bad to say about this song, because when it came out was I was living in Philly and feeling really homesick for San Francisco.

Zack: I could have always lived without Billy Joe, but something about Tre Cool’s drumming (despite the name) has always appealed to me. A good friend of mine in high school declared this song as his own anthem, as a testament to wondering where he would be when he regained consciousness after a proper high-school style drinking binge. It’s a relatively simple video concept, effectively realized (although the concept of a pubescent ballet class being on display through windows is somewhat unsettling) and while it’s a mostly forgettable song, I can’t find too much to complain about here.

Jason: I really don’t give two hoots about who Green Day ripped off. I like this song, I’ve always liked Armstrong’s voice, and in high school, this song made us all feel like we were punks. (We were the whitest of the white, of course.)

John: I liked this song about 1,205,286 plays ago. Thanks, ClearChannel!

Dunphy: It’s kind of an unremarkable song, but was refreshing in it’s lack of earnestness. By this time I was tired of grunge telling me everything sucked, including sucking (goodbye, Krazy Straw) so Green Day and the “Dookie” album found safe harbor on rock radio. Of course they played it to death, instigating a backlash that might have ended the band right there. I’m very glad Armstrong and Co. had the nards to try new things out rather than regaling us with infinitely possible sound alike follow-ups: “Crap” and “Shit.”

Zack: Green Day scored big points with me when they brought Pansy Division on tour with them in support of Dookie, thus leaving many, many high school follower jocks in a confounded state at the shows. Imagine the internal monologue: “wait, am I supposed to think that those guys rocked? They were opening for Greenday, so they must be cool. Except they were singing about throbbing cocks. So I’m really not sure what to think. And the guy next to me isn’t either. What should I do?”

Scott: This is pretty standard Green Day, in my opinion — though they did show some range by slowing things down on the song. A sign of things to come for them.

Will: I was first introduced to these guys when I was attending Averett College in the early ‘90s, right before they released Dookie and became international superstars, and I’ve followed them ever since. I have to think that a lot of people who wrote them off around the time of this album as a bunch of sub-par punk revivalists spent a lot of time eating their words…well, that or they’ve spent a lot of time just getting progressively angrier with their assurances that they’re still nothing but a bunch of sub-par punk revivalists.

AC: George Baker Selection, “Paloma Blanca” (1976)

Zack: I really don’t have the faintest clue what to say about this.

Taylor: Uhhh…. are you kidding me? I keep thinking “this has to change into a real song at any minute,” but it never does. I just got to the chorus — I’m sorry, I have to turn this off.

Py Korry: I remember when this song was popular, but this is the first time I’ve seen the video. Um, two electric guitars are being played in the video, but I don’t hear them on the recorded track. But hey, they have stop time on the song!

Will: When I die and meet St. Peter at the Holy Gates, one of the first requests I’m going to make is that I be able to pay a visit to the parallel universe where the Misters from “Reservoir Dogs” made their slo-mo strut to THIS George Baker selection. I have a theory that it’s the same universe where Dewey beat Truman, and I desperately need confirmation that I’m right.

John: Wasn’t this featured on that Slim Whitman LP commercial that was omnipresent in the ’70s? This is all sortsa awesome, and I say that in a non-Williamsburg hipster “ironic” sense. I want to take my little portable square 8-track player with the plunger program-changer handle and built-in speaker and go draw with my SpiroGraph at the roller rink.

Scott: This is the guy who did “Little Green Bag.” What the hell happened? I, too, remember the Slim Whitman commercial. I, uh, hate to say it, but the Slim version is better. PLEASE DON’T HATE ME!

Jason: Holy shit! I never knew what Buckwheat was singing before!

Needless to say, this is the first time I’m hearing this song. I kind of want to put it on the Mellow Gold list for the video alone. Is that Asian guitar player a guy or a girl? And why does George Baker look so eerily like Lindsey Buckingham from a distance? When they do the closeups, I’m genuinely afraid that he might be a vampire. Something is fucked up with his teeth but I can’t figure out what it is. As for the drummer, I think my dad owned both that shirt and those glasses.

Dunphy: Much like Sheriff Brody’s wife’s first impression of Captain Quint, George Baker Selection scares me. I mean, hooray for multiculturalism and a head of hair that could withstand a nuclear blast, but this is the stuff K-Tel collections are made of. And what about McLovin on drums? (By the way, this is my favorite version of “Una Paloma Blanca.”)

Hot 100: Freddie and the Dreamers, “I’m Telling You Now” (1965)

John: Take THAT, Beatlemania! Please, I’m asking everyone to fight their first instinct, and not use the word “gay” to describe this mess. It ain’t our fault. I mean, we can dance. (Also, insert “restless leg syndrome” joke here.)

Will: Not only were these Liverpudlians not the next Beatles (despite Ed Sullivan’s overly dramatic intro which tried to imply that they were), they weren’t even the next Gerry and the Pacemakers. I strongly suspect that their follow-up single, “Do The Freddie,” was less an attempt at a new dance step than a desperate plea by frontman Freddie Garrity to score some action despite his ridiculous appearance…

Scott: Yeah, this one gets my weekly “eh.”

Zack: I swear to God I’m going to have nightmares about Freddie Garrity coming to kill me in my sleep. Noting how well that dovetails into another familiar story…one can only wonder. Seriously, there’s something deeply unsettling about how he leaps about the stage here.

Dunphy: It was as if Ed Sullivan, desperate for another hit of British Invasion mojo, ordered up another batch of Beatles and a box of douchebags arrived at his door C.O.D.

Okay, douchebags is rather harsh. I’m sure the rest of the band knew they were following Willy Wonka to pop music oblivion once the audience saw his… “dancing.” And that insidious little giggle before the kick-in? Who do you think got seriously drunk that night after the show? It certainly wasn’t Freddie who was probably too busy straddling a toilet in the mens room whilst tapping his foot, waiting for someone to “Do The Freddie.”

Taylor: I actually like this song — but I was someone else was performing it. I bet Justin Timberlake could do a hot cover.

Jason: Again, I’ve never heard this song before. Never heard of Freddie and the Dreamers, either. All I know is that I’ve watched this clips three times in a row and I can’t get my jaw to close. It this guy Jerry Lewis’ illegitimate son? Is this just the result of Beatlemania — that any band could come across the pond and get teenagers to go batshit over them? Because I can’t imagine a time — ever — when this kind of dance would be cool.

That being said, I think I’d like to cover this song. I think I could get Mike to do the dance, too.

Py Korry: You stole my thunder, Jason! I thought Freddie was Jerry Lewis’ younger brother. The dance they do in the video should make former members of any of the boy bands seethe with rage — ’cause it’s just that brilliant. And the laugh? Oh. My. God. Just try that one out when you’re riding a roller coaster at Disneyland and see what kind of fights you get into…not that I’ve ever done that.

Jason: Also, what the hell is with this “using the microphone as a razor” gimmick?

Last night, before bed, I tried the dance. I admit it. It looked idiotic. Then, the song ran through my head for at least 30 minutes.

I feel like I need to go watch the video again.

Scott: It is impressive that Freddie and the Dreamers are actually playing live.

Py Korry: You gotta admit that Freddie knows how to make people pay attention to him — lame/brilliant dancing and all.

Jason: That’s true. I’m riveted.

Here’s a description of the dance in “Do The Freddie,” And here’s their last performance before Freddie died, in 2000. They are moving significantly slower.

Zack: Yeah, but I can make people pay attention to me by spitting watermelon seeds at them and dropping ice cubes down the backs of their shirts. But it’s not going to make me popular. At least, it didn’t at summer camp.

Dunphy: Where’s Mark Cuban when you need him? He needs to develop a biopic on Freddie’s last days right now and cast Jim Broadbent ASAP.

Jason: I just watched “I’m Telling You Now” for maybe the 6th time today.