Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever  

Monday, January 04, 2010

I stopped making New Years resolutions when I was 12. I had resolved to make myself less cynical. A resounding success, don't you think? That was when I realized that the annual passage from one year to the next was no more significant than the passage of May into June, Monday into Tuesday, 8:50 and 8:51, and more importantly, none of those changes had any impact on my deeply ingrained mental reflex to clap sarcastically when a friend falls down the stairs. But in spite of my general antipathy for New Years, I do want to pay tribute to our bygone decade for leaving us some of the worst pop music ever. I can't help being a cynic. Now that I realize that, it's time to put it to good use, because we can stop making steaming piles of fetid shit into Top 40 hits. So for the next ten days, we're going to relive the worst decade ever, in hopes that we may never speak of it again.

Sisquo -- The Thong Song (2000)
Looking back on it, this whole shitshow of a decade just started badly. Eleven days in, fears that Y2K would turn all of our VCRs into ungodly implements of destruction still lingering, and this is unleashed on the world via "The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" soundtrack. Is there any hope found in the fact that "The Nutty Professor II" opened atop the box office, while "The Thong Song" topped out at No. 3? No, there most certainly is not.

The song itself starts off with something of a prologue, in which Sisqo explains why he's speaking to you. He wants to tell all the ladies out there about "the finer things in life," and with the string quartet playing in the background you just might believe him. But wait, man: this is the 21st fucking century. We have drum machines! Once we have a beat, it takes this Kel Mitchell-looking motherfucker mere seconds to drop a reference to Ricky Martin's equally awful hit "Livin' La Vida Loca."

"The Thong Song" owes every bit of its success to its famous hook, because that's all there is to the song. I'm not being facetious; look at the fucking lyrics. This song is one three-verse hook on a loop. In fact, the only lyrics in this song that aren't part of the hook are our occasional glimpses into Sisqo's internal monologue, when he explains "I think I'll sing it again." There were five fucking writers credits on this song. Even if all one did is program the drum machine, and another one found the string sample there would still be three people trying to figure out how many times you can repeat the line "Baby make your booty go da na, da na" before all of the listeners kill themselves. (Answer: 14.)

But the lyrics those five writers came up with must be pretty good, right? Well, "she had dumps like a truck, truck, truck/thighs like what, what, what." Ok, I'm done.

The worst part of this song isn't the awful, repetitive lyrics, the bizarre key change or even Sisqo's really fake gymnastics in the video, it's the fact that the whole thing is catchy as hell. After all, it has to be. It's a four minute song based around a string loop, a canned beat and a handful of cobbled together nonsense phrases. But all together, this song could probably play for 15 minutes before you would notice anything is wrong. And it sticks with you. It's been ten years and I still can't say the word "thong" without following it up with "thong thong thong thong." And now writing this will pretty much ensure this song is stuck in my head for another ten years.

What was the point of this project again?

1 comments: to “ Music Schmusic: Worst Decade Ever

  • Will Staples
    10:55 AM  

    Oh god. Oh god! All this time I thought "The Thong Song" was just some nightmarish fever dream my adolescent mind concocted while drowning in the malaise of 10th-grade oceanography class.

    Why did it have to be real? Why, damn you? WHY?!

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