ALERT! banished songs are escaping from the phantom zone!

They have more in common than you might think . . .

As stated previously, the Evil gets the muzak at work. You might imagine most of the songs selected for a work-safe, repeating-daily playlist are calculatedly putrescent. You would be correct. (And possessed of a severely flaccid imagination; when the Evil imagines things, we’re talking about a horde of lascivious harlots cavorting on the beaches ringing the Lake of Fire—now that’s imagination!) Lots of Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, that kind of dreck. Evil recalls an era when a “safe” playlist was comprised of last decade’s easy listening/soul music, piped along the grocery store aisles as he rolled along in a shopping cart. Alas, no more.

And yet there are some lines the Sirius muzak playlist-maker won’t cross. The Evil wouldn’t have believed that until he wandered into Target a few days ago and began to seize up—unexpectedly, uncontrollably.

They were playing “My Heart Will Go On.”

Why? How? Didn’t we as a nation, as a culture, as a species, ban that song sometime around the turn of the millennium? Evil’s not talking about one of those VH1ish “Top 100 Worst Songs Ever” countdowns. (Though he does remember MTV pulling just this stunt—officially banning one video from its programming forever. Unfortunately, MTV corporate liked the idea so much they banished all videos forever.)

No, no—Evil doesn’t mean that. What he means is . . . really. Evil feels sure we banished “My Heart Will Go On.” And was he proud of us! A single, targeted thrust of the collective unconscious, aimed like a laser to excise a musical tumor from our lives. Remember? There was that six-month period when “My Heart Will Go On” finally left the national playlist, and you walked around in Old Navy blinking and saying to total strangers, “Wow, isn’t this nice?” It was a beautiful moment of unity, a secret handshake deal we all made without actually having to touch each other’s filthy hands. Right?

Or did one of you have your fingers crossed? Bastard!

Anyway. Celine is back. We mourn. But in the meantime, hearing her shrieking harpy voice forced the Evil to consider another song he would like to—and might even pay dearly to—never hear again. Near. Far. Wherever, um, he are.

To make this more interesting—and in hopes of drowning out Celine—Evil restricted this exercise to a song he didn’t necessarily always hate. Maybe he even liked it once upon a time. Maybe he struggled to learn how to strum its melody. But at some point, after the ten-thousandth time he heard it, the Evil simply desired—desperately—never to hear it again.

It didn’t take long to hit on the answer. “Hotel California,” of course. By this point, hearing Don Henley whine about pretty, pretty boys that some chick calls men makes the Evil want to vomit. On Don Henley. And to puke acid, like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly. Right on Don Henley’s vocal chords.

The Evil had forgotten how gross Jeff Goldblum looked in The Fly. Now he wishes he hadn’t posted this picture.

. . . And of course Sirius spins “Hotel California” on the work-muzak. Twice a day.

The Evil can’t control the work-muzak, but he does hereby swear that “Hotel California” will never be heard in relation to any of the National Evil’s sundry media properties. Consider that a solemn pledge.

Now: Evil wants to hear what song—one you might once have loved—fills you with such nausea that you ban it, if you could, from Earth.

Just please—please—don’t say “Babe.”

Just because.
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6 thoughts on “ALERT! banished songs are escaping from the phantom zone!”

  1. The “Horse with No Name” needs to die as painfully as possible, amid “plants and birds and rocks and things.” For instance, a giant Venus flytrap could swallow him whole and begin digesting his flesh away excruciatingly slowly over a period of seven years, then vomit him back out in a molten lava field where vultures can pick his twitching carcass clean. “And things.” Oh, I’ll be only to glad to give you some pain!

    “YMCA” — this one is conditional. I envision a universe in which straight people will only be allowed to marry provided the sign an affadavit stating that they will not play this song at the wedding reception, on pain of death “horsey style” (see above).

  2. Let me just add this before I forget: When I first got to New York and met Raul, I wondered why he was living in a refrigerator carton. Hadn’t he heard the song? Well, as it turns out, The Ramones never did do a cover of this one, so he hadn’t. I could hardly believe it! He’d run away when he was nine and had been hustling ever since, and here I was fresh off the bus from Waterbury, and already I know more about life on the mean streets of Manhattan than he does! So, I sang the song for him. He was skeptical at first, until I did the dance, and then he seemed to understand, and nodded that we should go check it out.

    As it turns out, The Villiage People are a bunch of goddamn liars. It is NOT fun to stay at the YMCA. Raul caught crabs, and I had my shoes stolen. This might not seem like such a big deal, but you try and “discreetly liberate” a pair of size 19 EEEs sometime. So, we hike all the way back to Bowery, only to find that Giuliani’s minions had confiscated Raul’s box, so then we were really screwed.

    If I ever see that Indian walking down Christopher Street, I”m gonna break his nose.

  3. both excellent choices. as for YMCA, i bow to your experience, vic.

    as for the other . . . name that fucking horse and be done with it, america! grant the beast its dignity!

  4. you know, the village say “it’s fun to stay at the YMCA” . . . but they never specify who exactly it’s fun FOR . . .

    hmm. evil feels a movie pitch coming on . . .

  5. In all seriousness, I do think the song was very sincerely written as a kind of public service announcement. I read an article maybe a year ago, wish I’d saved the link, that said 44% of all homeless teenagers are gay or bi or trans males, with an estimate of something like 23,000 in Manhattan alone. Even if we consider the unrealistically high propaganda figure that we account for 10% of the population, those homelessness statistics are still over 400% out of whack with where they should be. So what we’re talking about is huge numbers of kids getting thrown away and gravitating towards large cities that don’t really want them there, either. Not good for business/tourism if you’ve got tens of thousands of teenagers living in patched-together Hefty Bag tents and cardboard boxes. Most of them have no job skills, and many of them are too young to legally work anyway. So, they usually wind up hustling, selling drugs, etc., and nobody wants that going on outside their window. The police hassle them, and “neighborhood watch” vigilante groups push them from one neighborhood to another, and nobody’s too upset if they wind up dead.

    So, I have really mixed feelings about the song. Yeah, it has the camp suggestion that it’s “fun” to stay at the Y, which like I said, is complete bullshit, but it also points out that you can “get yourself clean, you can have a good meal,” and you can “pick yourself off the ground.” So, in a sense, it’s about finding a way from the bottom of the barrel to a sense of dignity and empowerment. It just really pisses me off that it’s treated as comedy, or as the ubiquitous soundtrack to rituals of entitlement and exclusion. So, even though I joke, there’s a lot of honest rage behind it.

    As for the horse, he’s obviously named “Smack,” even though America fiercely and adamantly deny the song is a drug metaphor. I really hate it when people don’t have the balls to be honest because they’re afraid of losing AM radio airplay.

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