Friday, November 03, 2006

Thoughts had while watching the final installment of VH1's '100 Greatest Songs of the 80's'

Last night, I spent another hour of my life watching yet another VH1 top 100 show that hooked me with a death grip and wouldn't let me go. Here were my musings:

- I have no issue with VH1 online voters (more about them later) ranking Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" at No. 19. What I nearly flipped out over was the fact that the special named several "artists" who covered the song, including the legendary Joey McIntyre, but omitted the gut-wrenchingly beautiful Eva Cassidy version that might be better than the original. That's like mentioning Roseanne's cover of the national anthem but ignoring Whitney Houston's. Reedonkulous.

- Panelist Darryl McDaniels has always been my favorite member of Run DMC. Maybe because he's the bespectacled Simon to Jam Master Jay's Alvin and Reverend Run's Theodore, but he just seemed to me to be the coolest, most down-to-earth member of the group.

Also, a propos of nothing, I saw Run DMC open for Guster once at Boston College. Strangest concert pairing I've ever seen.

- Now 28 years old, almost two decades after U2's "With or Without You" came out, I had always thought of it as a breakup song. While explaining its No. 13 ranking on the list, VH1 made me realize that the song might also be about God. Now I realize that "see the thorn twist in your side," "you give yourself away" and all subsequent lyrics might have metaphysical connotations. As a college English and Communication double-major, I should have been the first to overanalyze this song and adopt the out-there interpretation.

- Panelist Mike Mills (of R.E.M. fame) seems about as accessible as Michael Stipe doesn't.

- Hmm... "Come On Eileen" at No. 18? Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know" at No. 12? And "Like A Virgin" at No. 8? I guess all the men were busy voting on Maxim and ESPN's online polls instead.

- Now, Hall & Oates are pretty cool, but "I Can't Go For That" is the 6th-best song of the 80's? Really? I don't even know any lyric from that song other than the title! Let's face it: "Maneater" was a better song, but even that should peak on this list at like No. 42, tops.

- Props go out to two panelists in particular: deejay Chris Booker (formerly of the formerly awesome 92.3 FM in New York City, now on mornings in Philly) and comedian Godfrey, both of whom I've had some pleasantries with in the last couple of years.

Explain your answer:

For a couple of days about two years ago, I was very briefly in the running to be Booker's on-air Sports Guy correspondent, doing snarky sports reports for his afternoon show. That is, until a genuinely funny and talented guy by the name of Nick Stevens took that spot and ran with it. I called into Booker's show a couple of times after that while he was still on the air in NYC, and Stevens is hilarious as well on the New York comedy scene. Both seem to be nice guys and it's sweet to see them fare well for themselves.

While I was on a date a couple of years ago, I caught Godfrey at the Comedy Cellar. When he asked me where I was going to school, I explained to him that I was 26 and a journalist. He picked up on the fact that I had a low, resonating voice and from that point onward referred to me as Stone Philips. He spent the next five minutes setting up my hypothetical reporting from Iraq, which was hysterical. At the end, he said something to the effect of, "Oh, no, if you're a reporter, you're probably going to write about how much I suck now." Just the opposite, man, you were awesome.

- Promo time! I have to say, my interest in VH1's "Totally Awesome" was totally nonexistent until I found out that Neal Brennan -- who cowrote and cocreated "Chappelle's Show" -- was involved. That, combined with the clips of Tracy Morgan that I saw, might just suck me in. Or it might just suck.

- The top 3: "Hungry Like the Wolf" gets the bronze (meh), "Pour Some Sugar On Me" gets the silver (nice!) and "Livin' on a Prayer" wins the gold (shrug). I grew up hating Bon Jovi, but I'll admit now that they're good musicians with some catchy tunes. I think I hate to love them. Or the other way around. Still can't make up my mind.