[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/NVm3SmyMkFU" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Mainstream Rock: The Tubes, “She’s a Beauty” (1983)
Michael: I like this song a lot. I like “White Punks on Dope” even better. I still remain confused that the same band is responsible for both songs.
Zack: I can’t help but find the opening hook to be pretty interesting, but it doesn’t quite sustain itself beyond that. It’s certainly not bad, and Fee Waybill’s channeling of Roger Daltrey makes it interesting, but by the end I find myself just slightly on the positive side of indifference.
Jon: I always used to parse the lyrics of this song the way you parse a Clinton speech. I could never figure out the exact situation Fee was describing here, and the video didn’t help. If the pretty girl is “behind the glass,” how do you get to “talk to” her? If we’re objectifying the poor girl who’s being kept behind the glass, what’s the point in talking to her anyway? And why would you bother to “fall in love”? Of course, at age 17 I had no first-hand understanding of strip clubs, but Fee sure seemed to be setting up a complicated scenario for a place where I was pretty sure you just went to watch women take their clothes off. Call me naive. Really, go ahead.
David: Being of an impressionable age when MTV first hit, I was unsurprisingly a big fan of the Tubes, thanks to MTV’s near-nonstop playing of “Talk to Ya Later,” “Prime Time,” and “Don’t Want to Wait Anymore.” By the time “She’s a Beauty” dropped, it could have been any old piece of nonsense — and as it turns out, it was — and I would have rubber-stamped it. But shhhhhh … I was a much bigger fan of “Out of the Business.”
Will: Given that I didn’t know the first thing about music in 1983, let alone the Tubes, this was another case where MTV was directly responsible for my introduction to both a song and the band who sang it in one fell swoop. I still think this video’s pretty creepy, but damn, what a chorus.
Mike: Fantastic hook. Sad to say, before I saw the video, that was all I remembered of “She’s a Beauty.” Very strange (but entertaining) video. And who the hell thought Fee Waybill would be a good stage name?
Zack: Probably the same guy who came up with “Engelbert Humperdinck.”
Darren: I remember buying Outside Inside the day it came out — before “She’s A Beauty” had become a hit, even — and then putting it on my girlfriend’s stereo before a major makeout session. From that moment in time, the album and that moment became inseparable in my mind. Of course, I haven’t heard it in ages, don’t listen to enough radio to hear “Beauty” more than two or three times a year, and have yet to buy another Tubes album (the fact that their next one was called Love Bomb was enough to scare me off forever, I guess).
I will say that the coolest thing David Foster ever did was work with the Tubes. “Talk to Ya Later” is one of those songs that, to my ears, is damn near perfect in every way: not overproduced, a brilliantly energetic performance, and a killer hook. “She’s a Beauty” is just about as perfect, loaded to the gills with hooks and bells and whistles, but sounds a little more intentional in its approach (i.e. it screams “hit single or bust,” which is not necessarily a bad thing, I guess).
Jeff: I’m with Darren — working with the Tubes was the best thing David Foster ever did. This is the perfect Foster production, really: all gooey nougat and caramel on the inside, with enough satisfying crunch on the outside to keep it from sliding over the edge into sheer, passionless craft. I always feel funny saying it, but this is my favorite Tubes song.
Dunphy: The coolest song about a nudie booth ever. Matter of fact, the only song about a nudie booth ever. Would you have expected anything less from a band whose lead singer used to dress up in a “cock ‘n balls” costume? The shock is that it was a hit. The bigger shock is that it’s really pretty good. The Tubes had this infuriating way of making great pop-rock singles, then you take home the album and it’s filled with bunches of weirdness.
Lifton: The Tubes kind of passed me by. I guess the first time I really heard of them was when Vince Welnick joined the Grateful Dead. I never even knew the name of this song until just now. I thought it was called “Don’t Fall in Love” or “One in a Million Girl.”
When Jason and Jeff were on my show, we talked about the unfortunate influence of cocaine in ’80s music and videos. This video is clearly another example of where they spent the video budget on blow and wound up stealing masks and costumes from an amateur theatre production of Cabaret.
Jason: I completely missed the Tubes in the ’80s. In fact, up until two months ago, this was the only song of theirs I knew. I probably shouldn’t say how I found out more about them, but what the hell — they opened for Richard Marx. (I take my mom to see Richard Marx whenever he’s in town, but I cop to being a fan as well.) There is only one thing more ugly than seeing Fee Waybill in his Quay Lude outfit during “White Punks on Dope” and that’s the looks on the faces of all the Richard Marx fans when they saw him in his Quay Lude outfit. Marx actually mentioned it when he came out to perform. Speaking of, did you know that Fee Waybill is the godfather to both of Richard Marx’s sons? Here are the photos I took of the show. I think you’ll agree that time has not been kind to Fee.
Whenever I hear “She’s a Beauty,” I think of “Along Comes a Woman” by Chicago. There’s a similarity there, although I can’t quite put my finger on it. Both were produced by David Foster, though, so maybe that’s it.
Robert: Nobody’s mentioned yet that Steve Lukather cowrote “She’s a Beauty” and “Talk to Ya Later,” have they? And didn’t other members of Toto play on the two Tubes albums that contain these songs? I don’t know many songs by the Tubes, though I got in a conversation at work the other day with a coworker (who’s the former drummer for Veruca Salt) about Toto breaking up and how their fans are quite, uh, passionate, and then he mentioned that Lukather cowrote “She’s a Beauty” and “Talk to Ya Later,” and then he said he’d burn me a copy of the Tubes’ Remote Control since it’s produced by Todd Rundgren and we’re both fans of his. “She’s a Beauty’s” video was all over MTV and Nickelodeon when I was growing up, so it was odd to find out years later that the Tubes were known before their Top 40 breakthrough for concerts that contained “lewd quasi-pornography,” as Wikipedia says.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/qJQ3Z0Plwbo" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Modern Rock: Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping” (1997)
Darren: I happened upon AT&T’s online coverage of the Bonnaroo festival for about ten minutes. Saw Gogol Bordello just long enough to mutter “What the fuck?” and see some striking similarities between GB and Chumba — well, more accurately, just enough to make me really miss Chumba, which I never thought would happen.
Zack: Ah, yes, the Euro-hit: a European band that’s virtually unheard of in the U.S. will release a song that becomes a monster hit (cases in point: “99 Luftballons” and “I’m Too Sexy”), and as soon as it’s been played out, you’ll never hear a single note from that band again on American radio. I can’t help but smile at songs like this, because they’re catchy and usually bring back a good memory or two.
David: It took years before I appreciated this song’s simplistic brilliance. I think the telltale moment was when I was assembling a mix CD to accompany a weekend of skiing with a couple of dear friends, and boom, it hit me: “I get knocked down! But I get up again! You’re never gonna keep me down!” That’s my skiing theme song! That, plus Homer Simpson’s bastardization of the lyrics — “I get knocked down! I get knocked down again! You’re never gonna knock me down! / I drink a whiskey drink, I drink a lager drink / And when I have to pee, I use the kitchen sink!” — have gone a long way to tempering my original dislike for the song.
Robert: “Tubthumping” never hooked me, and I seem to remember Chumbawamba reluctantly playing it in concerts after it became a hit or refusing to play it at all. They seemed confused and then angered by its success, probably because they knew it’d be the only one and they’d never be able to get away from it. Was it an anomaly compared to their other songs?
Will: I can officially say that I never got burned out on this song, or if I did, it must’ve been for a really short period of time, as I can’t remember an occasion where I haven’t enjoyed hearing it. I’ve tried to follow the band’s career since, and I was sorely disappointed when “Jacob’s Ladder,” a song from their 2002 album, Readymades, didn’t become a hit. (I’m sure it was little consolation to the band, but it did at least feature on just about every mix disc I made that year.)
Lifton: Beau might be the only one who can relate to this, but this always reminds me of soccer. At the time it was popular, I was beginning to get into English Premier League, and the chorus sounds like the band was trying to turn it into the latest anthem to be sung from the terraces. I’m also a big DC United fan, and shortly after this came out, our biggest rivals used this in their ten-minute, end-of-a-disappointing-year highlight video. It was awesome.
Mike: A) Every time I hear this song, I want to dress up in soccer gear, get drunk and kick over tables. I’ve already got the messed-up teeth, and I think I can master the accent. I’d be a perfect Brit.
B) I can’t think of a used-record store I’ve been in over the past two or three years that didn’t have at least one copy of Tubthumper (usually for $1.99 or less).
C) Totally random memory: Chumbawamba was doing a radio interview during the countdown show on NYC’s Z-100 and the next song up was “You Make Me Wanna …” by Usher, which they pronounced “Oosher.” I like that pronunciation much better and I’ve been using it ever since!
Jon: I’m gonna be a buzzkill here, even as I praise this song: “Tubthumping” started picking up significant airplay right around the time my father died. The mourning process had been excruciating — and entirely non-cathartic — for any number of reasons, but primarily because of a major clash of personalities among my family. It wasn’t until after I had returned home, more than a week later, that I actually allowed myself to feel anything, and when I finally did I wound up arguing with my wife, leaving the house in a huff, driving pointlessly for several miles and then planting myself in a parking lot and bawling for well over an hour. As the tears finally dissipated, I turned on the radio, and the rest of the story is obvious and cliched, but I’ve always used music to recalibrate my emotions, and Chumbawumba sure as shit did the trick that fall. So, whatever else one might say about their politics or their one-hit-wonder status, “Tubthumping” will always be aces with me.
Michael: You have to be my age (i.e. 30) to really hate this song. Because if you are, you were in college (or college age) in 1997, and you heard this song approximately 8,700 times a week in every bar, party, and economics lecture you ever attended. Poor, weird, anarchist Chumbawumba. I’m not sure if any band was more bemused by their brief moment of incandescent fame.
Jason: Michael is right — this song was clever the first few times I heard it, but once one of my college roommates adopted it as his pre-bar theme song and blasted it every night of the week, I was done. I think he followed this one up with either “Save Tonight” or “Barbie Girl.” That actually makes “Tubthumping” the best one of the bunch.
Jeff: Yeah, it’s another one-hit Europop sensation, but if “Tubthumping” hadn’t been horribly overplayed, I think more people would remember/acknowledge what a great little song it is. It didn’t deserve the level of pervasiveness it achieved, but it also doesn’t deserve to be lumped in with “Save Tonight” or “Barbie Song.” And I say this even though hearing it reminds me of driving through Goleta on Friday nights in 1997, trying to avoid hitting the dozens of drunken UC Santa Barbara students that clogged the streets and fighting with my whore of a girlfriend.
Will: That’s “Barbie Girl,” dammit. Don’t make me put Aqua’s second album in a future edition of Hooks ‘N’ You.
Jeff: I’m still trying to come to terms with you telling me that Deep Blue Something released a second album.
Mike: Now that is something that should have been outlawed. Hell, someone should’ve outlawed Deep Brown Something making a first album.
Ken: Now there’s something I know a little about. And it’s one of the classic, sad record company stories. As you know, DBS had great success with their first album. and especially the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” single. They recorded it on their own, and then licensed it to Interscope. They all made good money on that. When it came time for their second album, one of my best friends was hired to produce. They recorded in Texas, and in Nashville. The A&R guy from Interscope was basically in the studio the whole time, loving what he heard.
When the album was finished, Jimmy Iovine (head of Interscope) gave it a listen, and issued the classic scumbag label response, “I don’t hear a single.” Back to the studio the band went, but Iovine was never happy.
In the end, that album, their true second album, never came out. And since they were still signed to Interscope, they weren’t free to sign with anyone else, or release anything else for a long time. It’s the story of a band with a lot of potential whose career was destroyed by the record company. By then, the band had been forgotten.
Dunphy: They should be grateful. They could’ve been Sponge, for Pete’s sake. And as for “Tubthumping,” this song deserves what it got in every respect. It’s a possessing tune that you’ll be hard pressed to forget once heard, and because every douche-cake in town was singing it in ’97 you’re probably grateful Chumbawamba never had another big US hit.
Frankly, I was sick of the band’s griping about their sudden success. “We’re anarchists!” Ooooohhh, I’m scared now.
Beau: Aside from Dave’s point about soccer-anthem making and Jon’s association with the song, there is nothing redeeming about Chumbawumba. “Oh, we’re out to confuse people into anarchy! We have a guy dressed as a girl! Some of us are Chumbas! Some are Wumbas! Buy our records! We hate being stars! Only those of us who live in an enlightened country like the U.K. could produce something like this without being hung, castrated or beaten by the audience, but we’re ungrateful little punk wannabes who want to snark on the whole thing like a bunch of frat-boy libertarians whose only political cause is making sure they have cold beer and no one’s going to bust them for pissing out the windows!”
Sorry … I get a little wound up.
Jon: As long as it’s been mentioned in passing, those of you without daughters might like to know that “Barbie Girl” has officially been stripped of its irony (and a verse or two) — by none other than Barbiegirl.com, a virtual-world website created by Mattel. My 6-year-old recently spent hours watching an animated video over and over again and singing along. (I believe that Mattel has excised the syllable “un” in the line, “You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere,” as well as the verse in which Barbie is revealed as a metaphor for shallow-but-living Boy Toys everywhere.) Life in plastic — it’s fantastic!
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/09qBdgqwYJY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Adult Contemporary: Stevie B, “Because I Love You (The Postman Song)” (1990)
Jason: I have it on good authority that this is Robert’s favorite song.
Robert: It’s true, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. When I was 16 years old I lost my virginity in a truck-stop bathroom, and “Because I Love You” is the song that was playing over the PA. It was so perfect. I never forgot Red, or that special night, or the correspondence I received over the next five years, which was mostly napkins containing phrases like “chrome hitch” and “I.O.U.” Sometimes I wonder where Red is today, and sometimes I wonder how the hell “Because I Love You” became the #1 song of 1990. I mean, it holds special meaning in my life, but what’s the rest of America’s excuse?
Jon: Considering that this song tied for #10 on my “Worst Number One Singles of the ’90s” countdown, my feelings should be clear. It’s a good thing there’s so much echo on Stevie’s vocal, because it distracts a bit from the fact that he can’t seem to sing two consecutive lines in the same key. I also find the lyric nauseating, but that’s a minor point compared to the pitch problems. I’m sorry, but Stevie B gave new-jack hair a bad name.
Lifton: I had a feeling the AC song would be my Baptism of Fire into Chartburn, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. The only thing that would have made Stevie B’s hair in this video more dated is if it also had a Jheri curl. I’ve already forgotten how it goes after listening to the others.
Mike: That is the most awesome mullet ever! (Admission: I had the black mullet for a minute back in 1989). Too bad it’s combined with “Because I Love You”, which gets my vote for the worst song of the Nineties. Some folks just aren’t meant to sing ballads.
Jeff: I never understood why, but for a few years in the late ’80s and early ’90s, girls of a certain age really seemed to find it impossible to resist this shit. Between Tommy Page, Timmy T, and Stevie B, you couldn’t get to second base without having to grit your teeth through a nutless, cheaply made, poorly sung, lowest-common-denominator piano ballad. Stevie B was the lowest of the low, which is probably why this did so well. Still painful to listen to.
Dunphy: Beeee-cause I luuuuuuv yuuuuuuu … The title is misleading. I prayed the postman would go postal and put Stevie B. out of my misery. And dayum, bro… Does your “Soul Glo” or what?
David: Instead of pausing iTunes to listen to this song for the first time since 1990, I pressed on. The next song to play: “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight,” England Dan and John Ford Coley. I regret nothing.
Will: Meh. If I’m going to listen to lite R&B from this era, I’ll stick to Hi-Five’s “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game).”
Michael: I can’t think of a better example of “Check out this incredibly catchy/annoying chorus hook! Quick, slap together some mindless pablum for the verses and let’s get this on the air!”
Also, does anyone else think Stevie B sounds a little like … Matthew Wilder? Same helium-y nasal voice.
Zack: What does it mean that I think it would be entertaining to see this song performed by one of the more able contestants on American Idol? Because that’s where it seems to belong — I can envision some nineteen year-old named Cory crooning it underneath rotating lights, looking earnest and nonthreatening and breaking the hearts of all the tweens in the audience.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/nZAbdwgZPQY" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
R&B/Hip-Hop: Montell Jordan, “This Is How We Do It” (1995)
Jeff: For a little while in ’95 and ’96, I had a radio show on a college station in the Bay Area, and because it was on in the middle of the night — and because we hated the program director — my cohost and I did just about everything we could think of to get ourselves fired, including bringing my younger brother on every week to pretend he was an irate Indian cab driver with a terribly offensive accent. There were actually plans for awhile to have him record an album of karaoke-style covers in character, and “This Is How We Do It” was supposed to be the first song, but we never got around to putting it together. Regrets? I have a few.
David: The inclusion of this song will surely produce a bunch of snark, but frankly, when it hit, I was so far removed from Top 40 radio that its ubiquity didn’t affect me. I was officially down the Britpop rabbit hole. Again, I regret nothing.
Will: First, I’d just like to say that, as I watched this video, which someone had clearly recorded not on their VCR or DVR but by standing in front of the TV with their video camera, I thought, “Wow, so I guess this is the modern equivalent of my holding a tape recorder up to the radio.” As for Montell Jordan, I hear he had more hits beyond this one, but I don’t know a one of them.
Zack: I’m not sure I understand. Exactly what is “it” that we’re doing? And the instructional video that accompanies the song fails to provide a detailed breakdown of how exactly “it” is done. I understand that I need to tip up my cup, and throw my hands up, but I feel there’s got to be more to it than that. Disappointing.
Dunphy: This is the worst do-it-yourself manual ever. I’m taking it straight back to Barnes And Noble and getting my money back. It’s even worse than “This Is The Way We Roll,” which didn’t teach me anything about rolling … Not even a foot. It might be a slight bit better than Rachael Ray’s “Stuff Me Tonight” book of poultry.
Michael: Right after the bars played “Tubthumping,” they would play this, and occaisionally “No Diggity” (but I love “No Diggity,” so that was okay).
Now, Montell Jordan was born in L.A. Montell Jordan might have even been born in South Central L.A., I don’t know. But what I do know is that Montell Jordan went to Pepperdine.
Maybe it’s possible that “Pepperdine does it like nobody does” lacks a certain … je ne sais quoi, but dammit, be authentic, Montell! Show some love for your Waves!
Lifton: A great summer R&B hit. At the time I was working in the outer suburbs of DC, and the morning of the Million Man March, I remember coming out of the Shady Grove metro station and there were two young African American men walking in the opposite direction, and singing this while grabbing their respective crotches. I thought, “OK, it’s not exactly ‘We Shall Overcome …'”
Robert: I’m going to start an online hip-hop magazine called Respective Crotches.
Jon: I found this song annoying after a couple listens, but I do want to know a couple things. First, how did Montell go from being a “lower-case g” to a “Big G”? He seems to think it’s all about the Benjamins, but I’m sorry — I thought being a “G” was about something a bit more … profound. And second, isn’t it irresponsible for him to say, “I gotta get mine in a big black truck/You can get yours in a 64”? A quick visit to Wikipedia just informed me that “64” is the year of Chevy Impalas that are best transformed into lowriders. (I can’t believe I just admitted I didn’t know that! I’ve been frontin’ for years, but now I’ve proven I’m not down with West Coast.) It seems to me that a lowrider should have been plenty big enough for even the 6’8″ Montell and his bitches/hos to get their freek on — and he would have gotten improved gas mileage, to boot. I’m just saying …
Mike: I’m surprised no one’s confused him with Montel Williams yet! I worked at Tower Records when this song was big, and every third person would ask for “Montel Williams” instead of “Montell Jordan.” I can’t forgive him for turning a great Slick Rick song into a piece of crap only worthy of one of those “Jock Jams” compilations.
Will: For the record, my initial draft included the line, “Unfortunately, this was his only across-the-board hit. Thank God he had his talk show to fall back on, eh?” I guess I should clarify, though, that I did know the difference between the two. The only reason I didn’t include the line was for fear that someone would say, “You dumb-ass, thatÁ¢€â„¢s Montell Williams!Á¢€ And then IÁ¢€â„¢d get defensive, and it would probably descend into a big screaming match.
On a Montel Williams note, though, he actually provides the voice of the GuideStar representative in War, Inc., and heÁ¢€â„¢s pretty funny.
Jeff: I can’t believe I’d forgotten this, but I actually dated two sisters whose family was so fucked up they appeared on The Montel Williams Show. You’d think that would have been enough to keep me away from at least one of them, especially considering they were my neighbors. But no.
Robert: They must have been really hot sisters.
Lifton: Well … we’re waiting for the rest of the story …
Jeff: I think everyone here would probably be most comfortable if I just skipped ahead to the moral of the story, which is: Never, ever date sisters who have appeared on The Montel Williams Show.
Jason: I think I speak for everyone when I say that we would be happier if you told the entire story in excruciating detail.
Darren: You wouldn’t still have their digits, would ya? Actually, I dated sisters … last name “Morehead.” Seriously. Good times.
Robert: I hate musicians.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/28KobNbbI2s" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
Hot 100: Matthew Wilder, “Break My Stride” (1984)
Zack: I have to say, this has been the most listenable Chartburn ever — there wasn’t a single song among these that was absolutely intolerable. “Break My Stride” is another song that brings a little smile to my face — and for some reason it makes me think of Australia (therories, anyone?). Apparently Wilder produced the No Doubt album Tragic Kingdom, so I’d imagine the royalties from that have kept him fat and happy through the present day.
Robert: Are Zack and I the only ones who like “Break My Stride”? It’s fun, people! I’m choosing to ignore the racism in the lyrics, which I hadn’t noticed until y’all mentioned it, but I tend to ignore all racism anyway, because in general if you ignore things they tend to go away after a while. That’s why I don’t understand why people call racists ignorant, because if they were ignorant they wouldn’t be racists, right? They’d be blissful. Blissful white people living among other blissful white people in a wonderful utopia.
Michael: Jason and I play this as part of Acoustic ’80s. it comes in on a C diminished chord. Let me tell you: There are few things uglier sounding than two acoustic guitars playing a Cdim chord in reggae rhythym.
Jason: Oh, I LOVE this video. My friend is convinced that this song is racist because they talk about going to China and getting laundry cleaned. Michael and I have been performing it for years, but if I recall correctly, it took us forever to figure out exactly what chords he was playing, and I refused to learn how to play the Cdim for about a year after that. I had no idea that Matthew Wilder knew such exotic chords. I also had no idea he was straight. Look at that moustache, people!
Will: Last night, I had the strangest dream. Okay, actually, I didn’t. But I did read Matthew Wilder’s Wikipedia entry, and I laughed at the attempt to tie his solo recording efforts into his production work by suggesting that No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, which he produced, “recalls the the Jamaican lilt of ‘Break My Stride.'” Get real. “Break My Stride” is a pleasant enough ditty, but Wilder’s voice is pretty reedy, and it’s no wonder he didn’t have a long-term career in front of the microphone.
David: I dated a girl in high school who loved, loved, loved this song. Neither of us had driver’s licenses, so I have this vivid memory of the two of us in the back seat while my stepfather drove her home, and she would sing every word to this, mainly because she knew I hated it. God, doesn’t that sound like something out of the ’50s? On the plus side, Wilder produced the awesome song “Starbucked” by here-today-gone-yesterday Brit Pop band Bond, so there you go. Everything comes full circle.
Jon: That Marilyn McCoo sure was boppy! This song is annoying in innumerable ways, from its faux-reggae syncopation to Wilder’s vocal tics (rolling his R on “rrrrunin’ so fast” was just uncalled for). Then there’s the fact that Puff Daddy liked it enough to sample it for his first shitty #1 (among many), “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down.”
Do you think he ever gave Gwen Stefani a moustache ride? (Actually, I’d be surprised if he still has the ‘stache. Throughout this clip it looks like it’s going to crawl right off his face and go after Ms. McCoo.)
Lifton: This is a bowel-wrencher of the highest order. It was actually improved by having Marilyn McCoo interrupt it. The Chinese laundry stereotype, the “China/find ya” rhyme, the cheesy chorus, and the knowledge that it provided the hook for Puff Daddy’s first solo hit. And listening to it again after I hoped I had escaped it permanently, I see that his disregard for pitch is not limited to Gwen Stefani.
Zack: I’d forgotten about the Puff Daddy version — I retroactively take back anything nice I said about Matthew Wilder for his part in allowing that abomination to come into being.
Mike: This song’s follow up, “The Kid’s American,” was a MUCH better song. “Break My Stride” is a little too cloying and cute, which was fine when I was seven, not so fine now that I’m thir– … um, the age that I am now (I’ll just let you do the math). Glad he switched gears, though. Production suits him way better than singing did.
Beau: I had a vague memory that “Bouncing Off the Walls” was better, but I just checked it out on YouTube. It’s not. Producing was a good career move. He has everything but the voice.
Dunphy: I found out who Matthew Wilder was about fifteen years after the song came out. I knew of the song, all right. It was all over AM radio and, for some odd reason, I thought Men At Work was involved with it. C’mon, that sounds like Colin Hay on the “No I never met a girl like you” at the bridge, don’t it? Regardless, this might as well be the jingle from “I feel like Chicken Tonight” for all I care.
As for the assumed racism in the song, well, I like Chinese. They only come up to your knees but they’re cute, and they’re cuddly, and they’re ready to please.
Jeff: I’m sorry, I’m still laughing about Wilder giving Gwen Stefani a “mustache ride.” I can’t type straight. Has anyone ever seen Matthew Wilder and Robbie Dupree in the same place at the same time?