Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best Comments

Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best Comments

Twenty years ago today: Turn On The Bright Lights was first released, Shazam launched as a text message service, and Nickelback ended a Portuguese festival set after two songs when the crowd wouldn’t stop throwing rocks at them. 😔


Score: 22 | Aug 15th

I truly sympathize with those of you who are quite fed up with hearing about Magic…but considering that it’s at the top of the charts again, please forgive me one more post about it?

OK, Olivia’s Magic is not quite like Running Up That Hill level top of the charts, but in the last week, it is the second most streamed song on iTunes (#1 is Hopelessly Devoted to You, and the Beyonce/Madonna track is muscled out to #3; Madame Bush is still in the Top 10, incredibly, at #10). Indeed, Olivia songs make up 7 of the Top 10 on their charts. Not so surprising as waves of nostalgia wash over the people who helped her sell over 100 million records in the past.

But this made me dig a bit more about Magic this week as I listened to it a dozen more times, and I came up with some interesting facts – and a really well-written reassessment of the track.

It’s worth a reminder that Magic was the 3rd biggest Billboard single of the musically monumental year 1980, eclipsed only by Call Me and Another Brick In The Wall. It is also supposedly the 376th biggest song in the first 60 years of the Hot 100, nestled up to Funkytown. It was also one of the only tracks to be mentioned in a 1980 Newsweek interview with John Lennon of contemporary songs he likes (he bought the single), and apparently was in Michael Jackson’s Top 5 songs of all time at the time.

Billboard also published a reassessment of Magic this last week (something I would wish for in Stereogum), which you could read here:
But here’s a part of it:
“Much like Xanadu, “Magic” – written and produced by John Farrar, who worked with her on previous No.1s “I Honestly Love You,” “Have You Never Been Mellow” and “You’re the One That I Want” with John Travolta — doesn’t seem quite right at the start. The guitar tone is unusual, with the first chord strummed down and the second one up, making it feel, for a moment, as if the second chord was an accident on the part of the guitarist. It’s a mildly clanging, Pretenders-lite guitar riff that hints at discordant, but never quite goes there; sure enough, by the time the riff has rolled around for the fourth time, you’re beguiled by a tune that’s a touch off but unexpectedly angelic.”

Indeed, the D major song is unassumingly complex (it scored over 90 scores in Chord Complexity and Melodic Complexity in Hooktheory, a site which analyses complexity in pop songs – highly recommended!). It sounds at once slightly discordant and lushfully rich at the same time. Its chorus is also atypically complex in its second part becoming almost like a bridge.

It’s a song that sparkles, tugs at heartstrings (especially the A-minor key at the word ‘survive’ in the chorus), plays with a vocal delivery that is cushiony and soft and flirtatious in the verses but strong and willful during the chorus and transports those who give in to it, something not hard to do.

I won’t link to it though. How about yet another excellent Physical track called Stranger’s Touch that’s often forgotten (many of the non-single tracks on it are truly excellent, almost no fillers here). Lovers of A Little More Love are likely to enjoy this especially…

Posted in: The Number Ones: Enrique Iglesias’ “Be With You”
Score: 23 | Aug 17th

Good day, TNOCS commenters! The number one when I was born was “Boogie Fever” by The Sylvers; it’s a 6. Back in TNO column’s virtual late 70s, I listened to every Billboard Hot 100 #1 song and ranked my Current Top 20 Favorite Songs That Ever Hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. When each Top 20 song gets its unique TNO column, I will reveal where it ranks in my individual top 20. It’s been 9 virtual years since my last entry, but I am back! 

Hey! A few songs that are actually a part of my favorite genre of music, melodic alternative/modern rock, actually became Hot 100 #1’s. This is great news for my rankings. A couple years ago I saw Vertical Horizon for the first time in concert, playing before Everclear and after Fastball. They were awesome, definitely the best set at the show. Of course this song was their set closer and best song of the night by any artist. Something about it just sounded different and felt different than everything else that night. The opening guitar part that runs through the song – as well as the “You’ll just sit tight” bridge – catches me, and I sing along in my head with the choruses almost every time I hear this song on the radio.  

Short story: The one time I briefly took acoustic guitar lessons was in Connecticut in fall 1999, before this song took off, and I remember the instructor telling us all that he gave lessons to Matt Scannell. Transplanted from the Midwest, I was not all that aware of Vertical Horizon yet, but another student there was a fan and talked on how “We Are,” their first single, was getting radio airplay in the area. How excited she must have been after “Everything You Want” blew up! “Everything You Want” is a 10 and ranks #1 on my list of Top 20 Billboard #1 songs. Here is the list:

20. “Livin’ on a Prayer” – Bon Jovi (Hit #1 in 1987) – 
19. “Need You Tonight” – INXS (1988) –
18. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Tears for Fears (1985) –
17. ? (2009) – 
16. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake (1987) – 
15. “Unbelievable” – EMF (1991) –  
14. “Africa” – Toto (1983) – 
13. ? (2012) – 
12. “Call Me” – Blondie (1980) – 
11. ? (2007) – 
10. ? (2008) – 
9. “Take On Me” – A-ha (1985) – 
8. “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper (1984) – 
7. ? (2000) – 
6. “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” – Starship (1987) – 
5. “Heaven Is a Place on Earth” – Belinda Carlisle (1987) –  
4. “Maggie May” – Rod Stewart (1971) – 
3. ? (2016) – 
2. “Lost in Emotion” – Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam (1987) – 
1. “Everything You Want” – Vertical Horizon (2000) – 

See you later in the virtual year 2000!

Posted in: The Number Ones: Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want”
Score: 23 | Aug 12th

I know violence is never the answer, but it’s kind of fucked up that a woman can’t slap her cheating husband and father of her two children (one who is a newborn!) after being blindsided by an affair with his very manager. I don’t know the details of their personal lives, but based on Michelle’s statement and the fact that recent posts by her praising Carney felt sincere rather than performative (she never really struck me as the performative type, unlike some of these TikTok and OnlyFans couples who seem totally perfect and idealistic about their relationships in their posts, but end up murdering each other…) I don’t get the feeling she saw this coming whatsoever and reacted like most women would. For Carney to call the police and press charges against her over that all because he’s a cheating dick is definition of male fragility and shows what kind of guy he is, because any other real man with a conscience would realize how majorly they fucked up and understand why that slap hit.

Posted in: Michelle Branch Arrested For Domestic Assault, Splitting From Husband Patrick Carney
Score: 24 | Aug 12th

before i read tom’s column, i just wanted to share my story of how much i love aaliyah (will try to keep this as “short” as possible!). the first time i saw aaliyah on my tv screen, i was 13 years old and the video for “if your girl only knew” came on. i was struggling with my sexuality back then, confused at who i liked. but when i saw her, i was in love. her street but sweet demeanor and style really stood out to me, a perfect blend of masculine and feminine vibes. from there, i bought her new album plus her first one, and engrossed myself into anything aaliyah during my high school life, including exclusively wearing tommy hilfiger and centering all school projects around aaliyah.

i think her greatest influence on me was when i started dancing. i had always loved dancing (mainly copying janet jackson videos in my garage or living room), but never did anything about it. when I was 15 years old, aaliyah released “are you that somebody?” and i taped the music video and then spent 90 minutes rewinding the tape over and over to learn the choreography. the next day i went to my summer school class and afterwards, my friends and i were just hanging out in the parking lot when the song came on the car radio, so i just did the dance i learned in front of them. one of them suggested i join her dance studio, but i was hesitant as i was shy in front of strangers. i still went, and after class, the dance teacher asked if i would be joining regularly, and i told him if he does “are you that somebody?”, i would. so the very next week, he added the song to his rotation, and a few months later it was my first performance ever, dancing at the la county fair to aaliyah!

our studio later danced to “try again” also. i was so proud when aaliyah became the first artist to have a song go to #1 based solely on airplay (on radio songs, she was #1 for 9 weeks). not only was this a big deal in terms of her having her first #1, but now to be in the record books forever with this achievement. such a flex! (my thoughts and rating of the song will be in the comments.)

a year later, when i was 18 years old, i happened to see that aaliyah was scheduled to perform on the tonight show with jay leno, so i requested tickets but didn’t get them. so I drove out to the tonight show studio at 4 am and waited outside for them to open, and somehow i got two tickets! i was able to see aaliyah for the first time in-person on july 25, 2001, as she performed “more than a woman” on the stage. on the way home from this taping, i was listening to the aaliyah cd, and my gut told me to turn it off and instead put the radio on. as soon as i switched to the radio, an ad came on saying “meet aaliyah tomorrow at the wherehouse!” i couldn’t believe it! it was fate! the next day, i drove back out to la and stood in line for four hours, and i got to meet the beautiful aaliyah! she was so sweet, accepting one of my school projects about her lol. my sister came with me as my photographer, but the photos came out blurry. below are two of the clearest pictures at the signing (i also inserted a 2019 photo with aaliyah’s wax figurine inspired by “try again”)!

a month later, aaliyah passed. i was gutted. i had just finished watching an episode of big brother and turned the tv off, only for my aunt to call telling me to turn the news on. as soon as the words came across the screen, i fell to the floor and started bawling. my parents didn’t know what to do or how to console me. the days after, i received so many calls and visits from friends, knowing that i had just lost my inspiration.

throughout my adulthood, i have always kept aaliyah’s legacy alive, and i’m happy to see so many others joining in to celebrate her brilliance. aaliyah gets a 10!

Posted in: The Number Ones: Aaliyah’s “Try Again”
Score: 26 | Aug 12th

I’m thinking this has to be the most noteworthy case of a famous person slapping another famous person in recent memory.

Posted in: Michelle Branch Arrested For Domestic Assault, Splitting From Husband Patrick Carney
Logan Taylor
Score: 28 | Aug 15th

I read the news today, oh boy

Posted in: Drake Broke The Beatles’ Record For Most Top Five Hits
apache slomo
Score: 29 | Aug 17th

This album scored me a lot of points with a girl I was dating at the time before my wife. When we ran into each other many years later she thanked me for giving her this album and stated she had become a big fan. There was no gratitude for our time together, that’s when I realized the sheer magnitude of this album

Posted in: Kill The Moonlight Turns 20
Score: 30 | Aug 12th

Feeling a bit cranky/sad about the state of the world today, so perhaps I’m off-base here. And I love the Gum and James’ writing, so I don’t mean this personally at all. But is there any real need to report on this sort of stuff, especially seeing as outlets like TMZ already have it covered? Yes, it’s two musicians, but… I dunno, it feels like lifestyle reporting rather than anything that’s genuinely music news. This is probably a really painful experience for all involved, and I just don’t see how it helps anyone either within or outside of the situation to be publishing about it and adding to the maelstrom of noise/info we encounter on a daily basis. Like, a Phoebe Bridgers/David Crosby beef is one thing–that’s funny and relevant to the state of music and whatnot, but this feels different. And, at least personally, having this stuff on the Gum decreases my desire to come here. Sorry for an overly moralistic comment, I may be completely wrong about these points

Posted in: Michelle Branch Arrested For Domestic Assault, Splitting From Husband Patrick Carney
Score: 31 | Aug 17th

If there were such a thing as a Vertical Horizon tribute band, it should be called Horizontal Verizon as long as they don’t get sued.

Posted in: The Number Ones: Vertical Horizon’s “Everything You Want”


Aug 17th

I roll for initiative! The last time I played D&D, a phrase that never incited excitement, my character name was Cher’Balogna and I was an Elve whose moods were controlled by her number of moon blood counters, I would sing “If I could turn back time” after every failing roll. I was kicked out of the game pretty early on.

Posted in: Stream A New Dungeons & Dragons: Spelljammer-Themed Comp Feat. Osees, Shabazz Palaces, Lucius, & More

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