Friday, October 29, 2010

Off Season Post 6: My Popsicle Hurts

Hello again, bored off season readers. They—whoever “they” are—say it’s wrong to lead off anything with an apology. However, “they” didn’t have significant computer trouble this week. Between my personal laptop going crazy and my work laptop crashing like Lindsay Lohan after an all night coke binge, I haven’t had access to the on line world until today. I’m sorry for that, but things just happen sometimes, I suppose.

Thanks to the IT Department, I’m up and running again and I’m in time for a Friday post. Thanks to those of you who sent emails or Facebook messages of encouragement and I’m even thankful for the “What the F*ck?” message I got from a not to be named reader. I’ll take your hostility as a sort of affectionate expression of your pent up frustration. It’s not me, it’s you. I get it. I hope your blood pressure subsides once you see I’ve posted.

We’re six full weeks into the Bachelor off season and, frankly, I’m wondering if anyone is reading anymore. Imagine the big blow to my ego knowing that my entire blog reading base is using me for my insight into a reality show rather than tuning in to vicariously experience my radiance and charm via my online posts. Sigh . . . .

At any rate, I’m glad you’re still reading. This week’s shout out goes to Christy in Charlotte, North Carolina who sent me a message after having a Brad Womack sighting at 9:30 a.m. on Tryon Street. She commented on his ultra tan skin, carefully coifed stubble, and ultra tight jeans. Gee, thanks for that, Christy. I’m happy to know you scoped out his package on your way to work. I wonder if that’s standard practice for you or if it just applies to Bachelor contestants. I’m sure his jeans are unreasonably tight because his ego is in there somewhere. I’ll get to Womack eventually. Thanks for stalking him for me.

I also want to thank those of you who took the time to comment for the advice, name suggestions, and overall encouragement you provided over the past week. I’ve had a lot going on and being able to count on some positive feedback at the touch of a button makes more of a difference in a crappy day than you might imagine. I know it’s hard to believe but Lone Star beer bottles don’t always contain the solace that a person seeks. Although they do contain clever puzzles on the underside of their bottle caps, which makes it more interesting to drink. They even have an iPhone app that solves them for you in the event that you’re too drunk to complete rudimentary word association games. I use it often. Hell, I spend so much time in bars that I had to put a neon sign above the bathroom in my house just so I could find it. With that in mind, let’s get to it.

As I drove aimlessly and awkwardly home from the airport headed North up the Missouri-Pacific Freeway (also known as Mo-Pac, or Loop 1) in Austin this weekend, I used the rare alone time that my drive afforded me to ponder possible blog posting subjects. My general rule is to await inspiration via a daily occurrence or an early morning dream. Considering the fact that I awoke abruptly after dreaming of being chased by a white elf with a giant hammer screaming “mayonnaise” as froth dripped from his mouth I was a little short on inspiration this week. I was forced to force myself to think about it.

About halfway toward my destination, I realized that I left my iPod in my man bag in the back seat. Sadly, I would now be forced to listen to the radio. Between the iPod and satellite radio, I rarely, if ever, listen to the radio, but I figured I’d see how the other half lives this week. I turned the radio on, hit the “scan” button and began to listen.

After enduring commercial after commercial for various local businesses and listening to the local sports hacks complain about the current state of college football, I took matters into my own hands and began to manually scan. It’s amazing how spoiled a person gets from his own iPod. Even though Algunos Hombre en Austin speaks Spanish, I found the preponderance of Spanish stations quite shocking. I moved on in search of popular music. I wondered what the iCarly crowd was listening to these days.

I stumbled upon what I assumed was the local pop station. I listened to a couple of songs I didn’t recognize. Although I had no idea what the songs were or who the “artist” was, I did recognize the familiar structure of the American pop song. It hasn’t changed in ages.

In a mid to up tempo 4/4 beat lasting no longer than 4 minutes, we get a 13-20 second Intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-Bridge-instrumental-chorus, chorus . . . .(or something very similar). The songs tell a relatable story and have a catchy hook that every person with a financial interest in the song prays will bounce around uncontrollably in the listener’s head for the majority of the day. It’s as formulaic as an episode of Happy Days (rest in peace, Mr. C.), but it’s worked forever.

Some Guy practices some entertainment law and I can tell you that there is a ridiculous, filthy, unfathomable amount of money in songwriting. I’m severely oversimplifying the formula, but a songwriter gets about nine cents—get this—every time any song he/she has written is played on any radio station anywhere in the world . . . forever. The songwriter also gets nine cents every time the song is downloaded or an album is sold. Toss in movie rights and a piece of the album sales and you get the picture. Those are referred to as “mechanical royalties” and they don’t include “performance royalties” that the person performing the song gets.

Let’s put that in perspective. Michael Jackson (rest his moon walking soul) wrote 4 of the 9 songs on Thriller. The album alone sold 110 million copies worldwide. Do the math. Now you know why any unknown rap star on MTV Cribs can afford to paint his $500,000 Bentley purple, put a chandelier inside of it, and replace the trunk space with a giant set of speakers and park it near his poolside grotto with a gold plated stripper pole in it. Trust me we’re all in the wrong business.

With this in mind, I decided to select the next three songs I heard on pop radio and make it a case study for myself. Notwithstanding the fact that Yoko Ono gets half of it, I was certain that the Lennon/McCartney song catalog was certainly worth the nine cents paid whenever a Beatles’ song is played. Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Paul Thorn (Google him and listen. He’s a friend of mine), Pete Yorn, and even contemporary artists like Jewel or Sarah McLaughlin have real songwriting talent and deserve the money from the effort they put into both the composition and performance of their songs. How bad could pop radio be?

Unfortunately, as I would soon be reminded, popularity and wealth are in no way related to talent, especially in today’s market. In today’s climate, the above mentioned group is now the exception rather than the rule. Allow me to explain.

My car is fancy enough to have that display thing that tells me the name of the song and artist. I simply used my iPhone to take a picture of the display for the next three songs I heard. The first was a song called “Take it Off” by some little brat named Ke$ha—no the money sign is not a typo. Please. Let’s examine Ke$ha’s poetry, shall we?

And now we lookin' like pimps
In my gold Trans Am.
Got a water bottle full of whiskey
In my handbag.
Got my drunk text on
I'll regret it in the mornin'
But tonight
I don't give a
I don't give a
I don't give a

I wondered why looking like the boss of a sex worker was a desirable quality. I pictured her and her friends in purple velvet leisure suits with matching hats, silk shirts, and big canes. A gold Trans Am? Is she kidding? I seriously doubt Ke$ha was alive when the gold Trans Am was fashionable. She was born in 1987 and Smokey and the Bandit came out ten years before that and, ironically, starred a brilliant songwriter named Jerry Reed. The only people to ever really buy those cars were middle-aged Burt Reynolds fans with a porn stash and a silk, chest-hair sporting shirt to match. Why does Ke$ha own one and why does she have to get her drunk text on in it? I found that odd, especially in the green friendly world of today. Shouldn’t she be getting her hybrid on or something?

A water bottle full of whiskey in her hand bag? Everyone worth his salt knows that Johnny Law would ferret that out in a heartbeat. A handbag usually has a license in it and can easily be matched to a women because it can be identified with the outfit it matches. Hiding whiskey in it precludes deniability. It’s a foolish choice. You hide your whiskey in the center console or under the passenger seat. That way if the Five-O pulls you out of the car you can always deny you knew it was there. It worked for Lindsay Lohan and a host of other celebrities. Paris Hilton just used the “that purse with all the cocaine in it didn’t match my outfit” defense to get out of a bust. There’s nothing like endorsing drunk driving in a sports car and simultaneously giving your audience poor arrest avoidance advice. Oh, and the song sucked too.

Guess what, though? I Googled it when I got home and it’s currently number 10 on the Billboard Top 40. Oh, and Ke$ha—rotten advice aside—wrote it. Know what that means? You guessed it. Nine cents every time it’s played or sold . . . forever. I went to the liquor store in my Trans Am and got a bottle of whiskey to fill up my water bottle before assuming the fetal position in the shower.

After thinking that Ke$ha’s masterpiece couldn’t be topped, I settled in to my drive home and opened my mind and my ears to experience the next offering. It was a song called “California Gurls” by Katy Perry, who, as I was thankful to find out shortly after my Ke$ha Google search, is actually from California. She’s a poor man’s Betty Page with less talent and softer features.

I suppose the fact that she’s a product of the California public school system would be apparent from her inability to spell “girls” correctly. That state has some serious education problems it needs to address. Besides, everyone knows that the Artist formerly known as Prince and then by some symbol and currently again known as Prince is the only person who can look cool with a bunch of misspellings in his songs. Prince rules, by the way. He’s unbelievably talented—and purple too—despite the fact that his real name is Roger Nelson.

Annnnnyyyyyhoooo . . .

Katy’s masterpiece offers the following wisdom:

California girls
We're unforgettable
Daisy Dukes
Bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin
So hot
We'll melt your Popsicle
Oooooh oh oooooh

Sex on the beach
We don't mind sand in our Stilettos
We freak
In my Jeep
Snoop Doggy Dogg on the stereo (Oh oh)

Notwithstanding the fact that songs about California girls are a hackneyed premise, I find the song confusing. Why is it necessary to put a bikini on top of a pair of Daisy Dukes? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Also, wouldn’t sun-kissed skin so hot actually freeze my popsicle? I mean if she’s going go to for a sexually charged metaphor she might as well make it accurate. Is that too much to ask? I can’t have my popsicle melting at the sight of sun-kissed twenty-somethings. That would be embarrassing.

At least she had the wherewithal to hyphenate “sun-kissed.” Oh, and if I’m going to freak in someone’s Jeep, I’m opting for some Bon Jovi. Snoop Dogg is hardly romantic. Then again, if I’m freaking in my Jeep with stiletto wearing hussies with sand in their pants, perhaps Snoop would be more appropriate.

Like Ke$ha, I Googled Ms. Perry—now Ms. Russell Brand, by the way—when I got home. Guess what? It’s currently number two on the Billboard Top 40. Guess what else I found out? She wrote that song along with four other people, including Calvin Broadus—also known as Snoop Dogg. Know what that means? You guessed it. She gets about two cents every time it’s played. After drinking half of my water bottle full of whiskey, I really wanted to go freak myself in a Jeep.

The final song in my pop music experiment was a song by Beyonce called “Check on It.” I’ll be the first to say that I love Beyonce. Call me what you want, I dig her. I was a Destiny’s Child fan before they broke up and I actually own the gospel album that Michelle Williams recorded after they disbanded. They wrote their own stuff, danced their tails off, and worked hard to get where they went. I respect that. Incidentally, I respect Katy and Ke$ha for that as well, but think Beyonce is far more talented. More about that later.

Check On It is a song about checking on it. It goes like this.

If you got flaunt it, boy I know you want it
While I turn around you watch me check up on it
Ooo you watchin' me shake it, I see it in ya face
Ya can't take it, it's blazin', you rock me and amaze me

You can look at it, as long as you don't grab it
If you don't go braggin', I'ma let you have it
You think that I'm teasin', but I ain't got no reason
I'm sure that I can please ya, but first I gotta read you

I’m thankful that I can look at it as long as I don’t grab it. It’s nice to have options. Normally, I’m not inclined to grab it after looking at it after period of time, but I was happy to know my limits. I was also relieved to know that if I didn’t boast about looking at it that Beyonce was inclined to let me have it. At first, I wondered if she was teasing, but took comfort in the fact that she had no reason to do so. Truth be told, I like that song. It—as is intended—is mindless, fun, and catchy. Oh, and Beyonce is quickly approaching the 100 million sold mark and she owns her own music. That’s a hell of a lot of nine cents. No wonder she wants me to check up on it before I grab it.

At the end of my experiment I found myself shaking my head in disbelief. Keep in mind that these three songs have reached the top of the charts in dozens of countries all over the world. They are played literally thousands of times per day and will be for years to come. Talent or no talent, it’s a good thing to get a song on the radio—and it pays the bills as well.

Look, I’m a free market guy and if someone offered me that kind of money do whatever it is that I do, I’d take it in a heartbeat. I suppose it was a combination of dumb luck and hard work that put all of those songs on the airwaves and I’m glad we live in a place that allows a song about freaking in a Jeep to make millions of dollars for the people who put it out there. That still doesn’t stop me from crying about it.

Well, there it is. Thank you all again for weathering my computer storm and I’m sorry it took me so long to post this week. Next week’s post might be a day or so late because of work obligations but you can figure that out on my Facebook page. Please, especially in the off season, keep the comments and emails coming. That’s what keeps me afloat. Take care of yourselves and enjoy the change in the seasons. In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be putting some back and some neck upon it while you stand there in the background and check up on it. DP


  1. Enjoyable read, DP!! And as a MN girl, nice shout-out to one of the celebrities we actually like to claim!! (As opposed to the ones we'd like to forget are ours--aka former Gov. Ventura!)

  2. daisy dukes are short shorts. the bikinis on top are not on top of the shorts. the bikinis are what is worn on the top part of the body. so bikini top on the top part of body, daisy dukes on the bottom part of the body. just thought i'd help you clear that up! :)
    -laurie in ohio

  3. Another great off season post some guy. I am glad you are ok, when you did not post on Tuesday I was starting to worry! Although I think Kes$ha is terrible, I have to admit a fondness for Katy Perry. Sometimes you need a little harmless pop candy. Sarah McLaughlin is not for driving in heavy traffic. Mindless Pop makes the commute less annoying. But I am with the end, I would rather listen to my IPod! Have a good week.

  4. Laurie, thanks for the explanation. The verse is, at best, ambiguous. She should tighten the language up a bit. DP

  5. Oh man, DP. Glad you finally got your computer issues worked out because this was the perfect way to start my Friday morning. :) I needed this laughter desperately. I agree with you, Ke$ha sucks, and Katy Perry is mediocre but catchy. Beyonce, I'll give you that she is definitely talented, I'm just not that into her. Bravo, once again, good sir. And next time your computer freaks out on you, just beat it into compliance. :)

  6. Oh, that was just awesome. I laughed so hard. I know I always say it, but this was a REALLY funny post. The entire paragraph after Beyonce's song was hysterical. Your sarcasm is delightful. Also, I have something funny to tell you about Ke$ha that I will send via email because it's highly inappropriate. I really hope business sends you to FL someday because I want to drink some beers and hear more "Some Guy" insight!

  7. I'm not a pop fan....more of a country fan....I'm with you on Jerry Reed. Did you hear about Limewire? Anyway, heard and saw Katie's new song Fireworks on E! last night. Not too fond of the sparks off her boobs but the message is awesome. My 10 yo daughter and I looked at each other after and said at the same time "that was awesome".

    Glad for you post after a long long long week! And I didn't have any computer problems.

    Keely in Houston

  8. I'm not a big fan of Ke$ha either but you have to admit that song is REALLY catchy! Even my 14 year old son - much to his utter horror - can not get that song out of his head. If you listen to it, it has the same tune as the 'snake charmer song' - he figured that out while practicing for guitar for school.
    Katy Perry - NO!

    Thanks for the fun post - as always!

    Jackie in Houston

  9. Great post. I feel like I just took a class in Entertainment Law/Economics. HA!

  10. Love, Love, LOVE Prince. The world would be a lot better place if the music of today was more like the 80's. Now THAT is some music. We need more
    and yes, even Air Supply!

  11. Standard practice. =)

  12. Unfortunately I am one of those stuck with the radio. After a trip to Boston a few weeks back I realized that half the radio stations in my area are in spanish - which I have never taken. Nine Cents - so did Wes get any money whenever he played his song on TV? Just wondering. Another great post that had me laughing out loud. Keep Rocking On!

    Post It Girl

  13. I cringe whenever Ke$sha comes on ... with two "tween" daughters, the last thing I want is them singing along! But with all the ipods in the middle school, they hear everything anyway.
    But my 19-year-old stepson made me listen to a song by Cee Lo Green titled, um, "F%#@ You." I put on my disapproval face, but couldn't help listening. It's hilarious -- love the back-up singers. So I youtubed the video that goes along with it, and it's my new favorite song (except when the other 3 kids are in the car). It's especially good when I'm in a bad mood ... cheers me right up!
    Thanks for keeping this going during the off-season DP!! If you go back to the Bachelor blog when Womack the Wearisome (sorry, that boy bored me to pieces last time) takes over, please try and get in a second blog as often as possible! I really look forward to your posts -- the off-season ones have been great -- and I enjoy re-reading them at home to see if I missed anything when I flipped screens when bosses approached!)
    Happy Halloween!

  14. Some Guy, don't lose heart. We are still here and reading! I can completely picture you rolling your eyes as you typed each one of their lyrics out. The visual had me rolling. Although I wondered what was up on Tuesday, today I think I needed it just a little bit more. Thanks for delivering what we all crave! Keep up the good work. Until next week...

  15. Those are some of my favorite ladies!
    Oh, and don't even get me started on my love for the Miley Cyrus hit Party in the USA!
    Believe it!

  16. I so look forward to your blog on Tuesdays.
    For the few minutes it takes to read your witty and clever post, I feel transported from my boring job to a sunny fantasy world where I escape on a date with you, mystery GUY.
    Thanks, Girl in her make believe World

  17. Ke$sha has another lyrical miracle..."Dirty Picture." Actually, she's just the featured artist, but close enough. Be prepared to lose an IQ level or too.

  18. oops..or two! see, I already and dumber.

  19. I was waiting for you to post about Brad's ego! However, I'm disappointed you didn't! I would love to hear your opinion of him...I look forward to reading your blogs each week. I pronounce boat correctly, not as boot and I say hey not eh? I am from the far north of Canada,however I'm not Eskimo and don't live in a igloo. I have been to Texas and liked it! The first time rocky mountain oysters were described to me I refused to believe anyone would indulge themselves.Blaaa!!! Love ya two steppen cowboy..Yeeha!!!

  20. DP-

    While I agree with previous posters that music was better in the 80s, I'd venture even further back in time. The 60s and 70s are to the 80s what the 80s are to today (if that made any sense). Maybe next week you can post on music from that time period. I'd love to read your opinion on Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Eric Clapton.

  21. Well, Some Guy, here is one loyal reader who is glad for the delay your computer problems caused. On Tuesday I was at may office, just another lawyer trying to escape the law (even tho' all too often the law has to win). With no Some Guy column in sight I had to get my work done to prepare for a business trip. So off I went to the midwest, despite scary high winds. Fast forward to *very* early this morning in an airport motel in Indiana. I was so happy to be able to print out your latest to entertain me at the airport. You travel well! Many thanks, and I too would be interested to know your thoughts on Bob, Neil and Eric (see above) as well as Joni, Joan and even, if you dare, Leonard (Cohen). Some time ago, before I was a lawyer, I was in a band and those were some of my favorites. Thanks once more, and here's to your timing.

  22. P.S. a thought from the Indy airport: consider this name for your land "Boots on the Ground." TTFN

  23. Solid comments from everyone. Sounds like I need to do a piece on music. It's nice to know I've got some readers with similar taste. I appreciate the emails of the porno Ke$ha pictures that apparently exist in cyberspace. I had no idea I was opening that can of worms. DP

  24. DP, I agree that music form the 80's was the best. I downloaded some favs on my sons iPod from that era and he really loves the songs. I'm telling you those never go out of sytle. It seems to me that music was more universal than it is today. Pop songs all sound the same and rap..who can even understand any of it. I like music that I can enjoy and not have to concentrate too hard to enjoy. Prince rocked it! Maybe that's why I like purple so much! HAHA
    Have a great week! Kim in Nevada

  25. Some Guy, please don't ever doubt just how important a part of our weekly lives you have become! We are out here reading & enjoying your witty perspective on life. I have endured many times in the car with a 10 yr old daughter who thinks Ke$ha & Katy Perry are great & always wants to tune MY radio to the pop stations. Nails on a chalkboard come to mind. Keep up the good blogging, I know life gets in the way of the fun stuff sometimes but I for one will wait for whatever you'll be posting!

  26. When you are ready for some real music, let me know......and I will burn some Crash Test Dummies for you.

  27. i shudder shudder shudder that my 2yo daughter will one day listen to that drivel.

    these are really not the people i'd like her to look up to. but you're right- a zillion dollars for putting words down that seriously hardly ever make sense....
    kinda hard to escape when it's EVERYwhere!

  28. I teach a hip hop dance class, and we may have just used a Ke$ha song...and a little piece of my soul died when I burned the CD but it has the right bpm that so many songs don't.

    I do kind of love Miley though.

    BUT if we're talking quality music, we MUST bust out the country tunes, the older hip hop (when there was a message that wasn't limited to how many hoes were subjected to some awful sexual practice...I'm looking at you, Soulja Boy) and of course Glen Miller, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and their generation. And maybe some New Kids...