I was in Home Depot yesterday with Ian, and the music is definitely white boy heavy. It’s not surprising, given where I was, but I was struck by just how much angsty white boy music there is, and how much I fucking love it. Then I heard:
In a way I need a change from this burned out scene
Another time, another town, another everything,
But it’s always back to you.
I told Ian that was my jam and started singing along:
How many times can I break until I shatter?
Over the line can’t define what I’m after
I always turn the car around
I sang it quietly, but I was definitely into it. I told Ian it was my jam, and I struggled to remember who sang it. Snow Patrol? No. Dishwalla? No. Good Charlotte? No. After several seconds of agony, it hit me. O.A.R.! That’s who it was. I excitedly relayed the information to Ian, and he looked flummoxed. “This is O.A.R.?!!!” He couldn’t believe it because it turns out that O.A.R. used to be a noodly stoner jam band. I listened to some of their earlier stuff when we got home, and it’s completely different than their big hits. I said, “O.A.R. gotta eat, yo!” which was evident in their newest song which is literally a video of the lead singer being a dad in which he sings about putting food on the table.
Quick aside: Sometimes, I go down the WatchMojo rabbit hole, and yes, I know they’re terrible and everything that’s wrong with the world, so don’t @ me. However, it can be addictive, and I recently saw one about the Top 10 Biggest Musical Sellouts, and it touched off one of my pet peeves. People need to eat, even artists, and it’s easy to say that someone should be holy and pure when they are being creators, but you can’t eat ideals. I usually bring p the case of Liz Phair because she was all alternative and Lilith Fair-ish for the early part of her career. Then, she decided she wanted to be more marketable and released a record deliberately aimed garnering a wider audience. It worked, and her song, “Why Can’t I?” became a pop hit. I’m not a big Liz Phair fan, but I was peeved at how whiny people got. If someone listened to her hits and then listened to her old stuff, maybe they would be converts! Also, it can be cold comfort to be a better musician than, say, the Spice Girls, but not have half the recognition.
In addition, in the old days, creative types had patrons and created pieces to please said patrons. Shakespeare was under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth, for fuck’s sake. I’m not saying that if a band you like changes direction, you have to be loyal to them, but understand that they’re a living entity, and you can’t encase them in glass. Also, it’s their job. They want to make money off of it and gain notoriety. I don’t think there’s any shame in realizing you want to be more commercial. Funnily enough, Liz Phair made the list. Poor Liz. She doesn’t deserve that, and neither does anyone who decides they want to be more palatable to the masses.
Anyway. Back to angsty white boy music. I realized when I did my guilty pleasures that aren’t guilty pleasures post that most of if not all of my so-called guilty pleasures are angsty white boys. ’80s hair metal bands and their power ballads? White boys. Sensitive emo feelingsdump songs? White boys. Angry ranting anthems to how fucked the world is? White boys. When I was chronically depressed, I’d listen to emo music for hours on end because it was the only way I could feel anything. I don’t know why it’s angsty white boys that resonate deep within me, but I have a few theories. One, they’re what’s predominantly played on the radio and are easily digestible. Two, I’m an emo at heart, and nobody does emo better than white boys. NOBODY. I shall brook no argument on this. I’m not going to cover most of the songs that I presented in that post, but one or two may slip in.
The first band I really liked was Duran Duran. They had a few ballads such as Save a Prayer, but they’re usually way more fun than navel gazing. For that, I turn my eyes to Bon Jovi. I had a massive crush on Richie Sambora, and my god, the feels. Talk about the epitome of ’80s power ballads. They’ve done several, but this was the first one I really cried to by them.
Ooooooh, I guess you’d say we used to talk about busting out. We’d break their hearts. Together! Forever!
::waves lighter in the air::
Now I’m just going to list some other songs of this genre (angsty white boy) that I will always sing along to at the top of my lungs when I hear them and/or will blast when I’m depressed.
Blue October, “Hate Me”.
I went through an intense Blue October phase in which I listened to their songs over and over again. There are several that really speak to me, but this is the epitome of how shitty I used to feel on a day-to-day basis.
Next up, “I and Love and You” by The Avett Brothers. This is a special performance with the Brooklyn Philharmonic in Brooklyn a few weeks after Hurricane Sandy. Jimmy Kimmel asked them to perform the song, and it was brilliant and bittersweet at the same time. Plus, Asian dude on the cello (Joe Kwon) kicks all kinds of ass.
Cat Stevens has perhaps the quintessential song about fathers and sons. You’ll never guess what it’s called! That’s right. “Father and Son”. The first time I heard it, I bawled my eyes out, and I listened to it perhaps twenty-five times in a row. It’s a tearjerker that hits me hard every time.
Plus, Cat Stevens (as he was known then), was fucking fine, yo.
Next up? Kid Rock. DON’T @ ME!!! The song is “Picture” feat. Sheryl Crow, and oh, the emotions! Also, it’s hilarious to me that cocaine is blanked out but whiskey isn’t. Yes, I know he’s a scumbag, and I have the urge to hose him down every time I see him, but this song….Plus, I love me some Sheryl Crow.
Admit it. You sing along whenever you hear this song. Only me? OK, well then.
I’ve said that I don’t have any guilty pleasures, but I did think of one. I made my FB friends guess what it was, and no one could. My first hint was “North”. That garnered some interesting responses, but none were right. My second hint pretty much gave the game away, but I followed it up with the actual song. Once I did, I got a bunch of women saying I don’t need to be ashamed for liking this song. Ready for it? The embarrassment is that I’m twenty years too old to like this song (at the time). Yes, I LIKE BAND ONE DIRECTION. LOOK AT MY BUBES. It’s One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful”.
I’m singing along as I type!
In a radical change of emotions, my next song is “Say Something” by A Great Big World. This song is dedicated to an ex of mine who didn’t know I thought of him in this way. Yes, there’s a version with Christina Aguilera in it, but I much prefer this stripped down, agonizing rendition.
Here are some quick hits with no comments.
Shout-out to all the angsty white boys out there. You’ve served me well.
Addendum: I have to add a song I absolutely love but that isn’t well-known at all. It’s by Andy Prieboy, and he gets help from Johnette Napolitano, the lead singer of Concrete Blonde (they do a kickass version of the song as well). Here’s the live version of “Tomorrow Wendy”. Warning, it’s pretty dark.