Eric Clapton – “I’ve Got a Rock and Roll Heart”
Dave: Did Clapton have to record this to pay back the writers for lending him money for blow? This record is such a piece of dogshit that a couple of Phil Collins-produced records and selling out to Michelob were considered a “return to form.” And that lyric “I get off on screaming guitars” would be horrible even if the guitar lick actually, you know, screamed. Maybe the problem was that he was too busy removing his dick from the tailpipe of a ’57 Chevy to realize his tone sucked.
Scott: What do you have against a man and his masturbatory habits, David? When Clapton recorded this song, he’d kicked drugs for the first time; he needed something to get his rocks off. Still, this song isn’t that bad. It’s an natural extension of the drug fueled reggae influenced shuffles he churned out in the 70’s, except this time he was sober. Maybe “I get off” was a bad selection of words, but when you look at the charts from 1983 (Men at Work, Human League, Culture Club) who the hell expected this song to be a hit? Certainly not Clapton. The look of his face on the cover of “Money and Cigarettes” tells it all: “I don’t give a shit. I’m Eric Clapton.” I’m sure some dumb ass exec enthusiastically told him that this song was a bona fide hit. To which Clapton most likely replied, “Fuck it, ya poofter, release whatever god damn song you want. I’m ERIC FUCKING CLAPTON! Now bring me a Trans Am, I’m through with that saggy old Chevy.” Seriously, the song’s obviously a throwaway that became a fluke hit. How else do you explain him selling his soul to the devil and teaming up with Phil Collins?
Dave: Come on, Scott. Once Clapton cleaned up and got legit with George Harrison’s wife, everything cool was sucked right out of him. Since then he hasn’t so much recorded as much as called up his triple-scale session buddies like Duck Dunn and Albert Lee for a royalty-filled snoozefest on the record company’s dime. Roger Hawkins hasn’t sounded this bad since Aretha ate his floor tom down in Muscle Shoals back in ’68. My guess is that Carla Bruni heard this song a few years ago, then went running to Nicholas Sarkozy to ease the trauma. By the way, I don’t doubt that Clapton has a rock and roll heart. What bothers me is that he has a Mellow Gold scrotum.
Lou Reed – “Rock and Roll Heart”
Scott: Excuse, I had to shut off my Honda scooter and turn down “Walk on the Wild Side” blasting through my stereo. Speaking of sellouts, our next song is by Lou Reed, a man who has shoved his dick into just about everything that breathes, and possibly even picked up Clapton’s sloppy seconds on the ’57 Chevy. We all know that Lou is a poet first and a rocker second. Alas, poetry doesn’t sell records, so we wind up with mediocre songs like this one that Lou hoped would entice people to lay down their hard earned cash and rock out. Screaming guitar aside, nothing Lou does in this song is original. And the lyrics are plain lame. Then again, maybe the eternal New York hipster was just trying to be “ironic.” Let’s all be glad that Lou quickly regained his senses after “Rock and Roll Heart” and went back to writing obtuse, esoteric paeans about junkies, prostitutes and affairs of the heart. At least, until he started hawking cheap Vespa rip-offs and tried to make us believe he’d actually be seen riding one around New York City.
Dave: So tortured was I by that Clapton song that I took a cocktail of Percoset and Valium, from which I have only now awoke with my soul scrubbed. Yeah, I’ll grant that Lou Reed’s “Rock & Roll Heart” hardly rises to the levels of his earlier rock n’ roll-named works, but at least it RAWKS! And it’s only got three chords, which is the very definition of rock n’ roll. Also, Lou knows that, if you’re going to write a song about rock n’ roll, ripping off the organ part from “Like A Rolling Stone” is the way to go. But Scott, I can’t understand how you can write for an pop culture website celebrated for its irreverence and choose Clapton over Lou Reed. If Lester Bangs were alive he’d spit in your face. Then he’d apologize and ask you to split a bottle of Robitussin.
Scott: I’ve just returned from getting my ass kicked in the back alley by Lou Reed, Bowie and Iggy Pop. When they were through, Rob Wasserman’s bass could be heard playing somewhere in the distance and I saw the ghosts of Andy Warhol, Basquiat and Edie Sedgwick rolling around in my blood. Lester Bangs was there, too, extolling the virtues of Grand Funk (until he threw up). Look, David, I agree that the majority of Clapton’s lyrics are trite, especially “I’ve Got A Rock and Roll Heart” (“Layla,” though, will stand the test of time), but at least he’s accessible. And when Lou tries to be accessible, he mostly comes up with formulaic songs like “Rock and Roll Heart.” I like accessible, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing for a website that champions the likes of Toto, Hall & Oates and The Hooters, as well as The Watson Twins and They Might Be Giants. My feeling is that Lou should stick to the poetry-in-music art form that he’s mastered, and that Clapton should stick to the blues (cause this whole Adult Contemporary bullshit he’s been doing for the past ten years makes me want to shoot myself).
Now, David, what I really want to know is whether you like Eric Clapton’s “I Can’t Stand It” or Lou Reed’s “I Can’t Stand It” better.
No, wait, don’t cut me off. Dude, this could really be good. Dude? Dude?
Last episode, Dramarama scored a solid victory over Pearl Jam, taking home an filibuster-proof 60% of the votes. In other news, Mojo Flucke has removed one of his white gloves and cast it on the ground at Jeff Giles feet, and thus demanded satisfaction. Jeff, in turn, took up the glove and slapped Mojo across the face with it, and thus the challenge was accepted. As to the affront, it remains unknown, and it is suspected that neither of these gentlemen shall willingly air the cause of his grievance. Their seconds have agreed that the weapons to be used shall be Rockets. Join us in two weeks as they settle their dispute and face off at dawn on the Song-Off field of honor.