Shut Up Dude

Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best And Worst Comments

Happy 30th anniversary today to “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” The worst Billy Joel song? No, it’s not even the worst song on Storm Front. But the Piano Man (whose catalog is soon to be a TV anthology series) has said he doesn’t love this Cold War history rap (he has compared the melody to the buzz of a mosquito) and it has made plenty of Worst Songs Of All Time lists. Maybe because it plays like a boomer apologia, more likely because it’s annoying. Perhaps you have to be 11-years-old to love it, which makes sense because I was 11 years old when it was released and I loved it. I bought the Storm Front cassette (my first album) at the Miracle Mile Record World (R.I.P.) a few months later and it didn’t leave the tape deck of my mom’s Mazda for months.

“We Didn’t Start The Fire” became Joel’s third and final #1 hit by the end of ’89. You can blame Sean Lennon. Lennon, who would’ve been around 13 when it was written, visited the 40-year-old Joel in the studio where the two had a conversation about their respective generation’s troubles. Fred Schruer’s Billy Joel biography quotes Lennon: “At least when you were a kid, you grew up in the fifties, when nothing happened.” That’s what inspired the song’s rhyming list of historical events, 1949-1989. And you can blame the chorus on Jann Wenner. From Schruers book:

Then one night, in the studio at the Hit Factory, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner visited Billy. Jann was a friend of Mick Jones’s and a motorcycle-riding buddy and neighbor of Billy’s in East Hampton. “I was throwing all these ideas for titles,” Billy remembers. “And each time Jann just shook his head. Dancing Through the Fire? That sucks. Waitzing Through the Fire? No from Jann. We Didn’t Start the Fire? And all of a sudden Jann went, “Yeah–thats cool.”

“So it’s Jann’s fault,” says Billy. “I’m going to blame it on him. Because some people hate that song.”

In 1990, middle schools around the country were given “We Didn’t Start The Fire” lyric sheets to use as a history lesson. My school did. My parents, who are Joel’s age, had explained most of the references to me by then, though. My daughter, who is now about my age when the song hit #1, loves the song (ok, she merely likes it) and I enjoy teaching her what I know about the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

My generation grew up writing parodies of “We Didn’t Start The Fire.” So many parodies. So there’s that. And it’s only one of two #1 hits to reference thalidomide. (Just kidding, it’s the only one.) Tom’s gonna give it a 2 isn’t he.


#10  theyachtmaster
Score:33 | Sep 26th

also i volunteer to perform as the stage

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#9  d-brad
Score:33 | Sep 20th

So sorry to hear about the layoffs. Michael and Julia will be greatly missed. I still think about that War on Drugs essay all the time.

Posted in: The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
#8  cokeparty
Score:36 | Sep 20th

Mike Nelson was let go?! Oh fuck that fucking bullshit.

Posted in: The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
#7  mjhk75
Score:38 | Sep 20th

Damn, I hadn’t heard the news about Michael, he’s become my favourite music writer over my years of reading Stereogum. Michael, if you’re out there, I can’t thank you enough for introducing me to so much great music – you will be sorely missed, I look forward to following you to whatever you do next.

Posted in: The 5 Best Songs Of The Week
#6  blochead
Score:38 | Sep 25th

Woke up this morning, looked east, and once again the sun was rising.

As it invariably does. NAMASTE

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#5  Decatur Or
Score:42 | Sep 26th

The Idler Sampler Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Clearances Will Ever Do

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#4  cokeparty
Score:44 | Sep 23rd

This is troubling, but her reasoning is sound imo. Nothing about her music bothers me, but I can see how, from her POV, seeing a young child dancing provocatively to my music, music she clearly feels disconnected from as she gets older, could bring this on. If that’s the reason, I actually applaud her for choosing her conscience over her desire for fame. There’s no saying she can’t drop the name and come back with music she’s proud of. I do think she needs people in her life right now to care for her. She’s posted disturbing stuff on Twitter before, and when people cry for help, let’s give it to them.

Posted in: CupcakKe Tearfully Announces That She Is Retiring & Removing Music From Streaming Platforms
#3  tomwaitsforpancakes
Score:45 | Sep 25th

Fuck, it’s Wednesday.

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#2  storkknees
Score:48 | Sep 25th

Now I get why Tom needed to take a break

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#1  unheard78
Score:71 | Sep 23rd

Sincerely worried for her. It sounds like she needs help and I hope she gets it. Even if she never does anything else musically, please, someone needs to step in and help her. Don’t want to see anything bad happen to her.

Posted in: CupcakKe Tearfully Announces That She Is Retiring & Removing Music From Streaming Platforms


#5  onlineactivewear
Score:-16 | Sep 25th

Hello! Maybe you interested in Adidas YEEZY BOOST shoes! You can find it here ->

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#4  AmbienDoesntMakeYouRacist
Score:-16 | Sep 23rd

And then she’ll surprise release 2 albums next month

Posted in: CupcakKe Tearfully Announces That She Is Retiring & Removing Music From Streaming Platforms

Dillon-Rebbecca Smith
Score:-16 | Sep 22nd

Miley plz stop trying to sing rock u are trash at it stick to what u are good at which at this point i think u should just give up because your voice sucks it not like it use to be.

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#2  chomskyhonk
Score:-20 | Sep 23rd

Sorry but feeling anguish from believing that you are corrupting the youth with sexual lyrics is not mentally sound behaviour.

Posted in: CupcakKe Tearfully Announces That She Is Retiring & Removing Music From Streaming Platforms
#1  AmbienDoesntMakeYouRacist
Score:-27 | Sep 23rd

Not to be an insensitive prick, but can you say bi-polar?

Posted in: CupcakKe Tearfully Announces That She Is Retiring & Removing Music From Streaming Platforms


Score:25 | Sep 24th

So, I saw this at TIFF, and let me just say that it feels like you’re injecting pure cocaine into your eyeballs for 2 1/2 hours straight. It is the perfect movie.

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