Friday, August 26, 2005

Creamy, nourishing irony

A number of popular songs have meanings that are ignored or misunderstood by most people; meanwhile, Corn Chips & Pie looks on smugly, wearing an insufferable and slightly deranged grin, hand stuffed down the front of his trousers.

The most common and oft-cited example of this is "YMCA," which is cheerfully sung & danced by beefy homophobes with Oakley shades worn atop hats, NASCAR-style. Oh, the creamy irony: the song's about anonymous anal sex. But there's more: "Mercedes Benz" by Janis Joplin was famously used in a television advertisement for Mercedes-- in blatant disregard of the song's original intention, which was to promote the clubbing of harp seals in Newfoundland. "Every Breath You Take" by The Police is another example, as it's often assumed to be a dreamy love song. Quite to the contrary: it's yet another song promoting animal-directed violence, this time toward pine martens. "Alison"? Narwhals. "Margaritaville" is often mistaken for a melancholy tune about time misspent. In actuality, it was intended as the template for a thousand shitty Mexican restaurants serving head-sized margaritas, catering to ruddy frat boys & facilitating date rape. By way of contrast, every song ever written by Death Cab for Cutie sounds just like it was intended: whining.