All Things Go does a semi-recurring series called ‘The One,’ in which all the writers select ‘The One Song You ____’, with the themes being things like ‘Lost Your Virginity To’ and ‘Listen To After A Break Up.’ You get the idea.
For ‘The One Song You Hate’ I decided to get a little crazy…
I would listen to the song on repeat for an hour.
For as long as I can remember, I have hated “How Bizarre” by OMC.
It became a running gag in college for my friends to put this on during moments when I was unable to change it. For some reason this group from New Zealand’s 1996 ‘hit’ was the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard to me, all set to an overly plucky, distinctively 90′s beat. When ATG Mama Bear Hilary said that we would be writing about the one song we HATE, I knew immediately what I would write about.
I understood that I would actually have to listen to this song in order to truly digest my feelings of disdain for it, but then I had a masochistically fantastic idea:
I would listen to the song on repeat for an hour.
It would be a test of nerves and sanity. I was going to look this beast in the eye and see who would blink first…
0:00: I hit play. I am immediately bombarded with reflexive memories of my distaste for this song. Those tinny trumpets. That too-happy guitar. Ugh. What did I get myself into?
~4 minutes in: This is a new feeling. Usually when having to endure this song, I know that I just have to make it roughly 4 minutes before it’s all over. But now, as the track fades out and my tensed muscles start to instinctively relax, that initial quick pluck of a guitar signals the song’s first repetition, and I feel my heart sink with despair.
6 minutes in: I realize that I’ve never heard this song on high-quality headphones. Ever the optimist, I think that maybe it will help unearth some secret divinity to this song.
7 minutes in: I come to the conclusion that hearing the spacing between the accordion and trumpet lines does not positively affect my view of this song in any way. If anything, I feel like I am being surrounded by it. It is a boa constrictor and I am the helpless mouse.
11 minutes in: Every time the song ends, there is a part of me that still believes it’s over for good. How long will my resolve last? When will I learn that this is my new normal?
~16 minutes in: As the backup singers chant, “It’s making me crazy,” I start to wonder if they are speaking to me directly. Are they coming from inside my own head? Is this my subconscious talking to me? I begin questioning my place in the universe and the aspect of free will.
~21 minutes in: Like Theon Greyjoy in Game Of Thrones, I realize the worst part of this torture is the lack of information about the man torturing me. I decide to Wikipedia OMC only to find out that its central figure, Phil Fuemana, died 3 years ago after suffering for several years from a chronic degenerative disease. I feel guilty wondering if continually being exposed to this song had anything to do with it.
~30 minutes in: I have reached the halfway mark. I remind myself that the glass is half-full.
~38 minutes in: The lyrics are now tattooed on my brain. I begin to understand the story as a whole.
~40 minutes in: I come to see this tale of fugitive escape as a harrowing bit of folklore. He is Dr. Richard Kimble; he is Whitey Bulger; he is the inner rebel in all of us who has broken free of his chains.
~42 minutes in: We are all criminals. Some commit crimes against the state; some commit crimes against others. Most commit crimes against ourselves. I begin to truly understand how bizarre it all is.
~48 minutes: I forget what life was like before this song, like when I’m sick and can’t remember what it feels like to be healthy. Every time I look around, it’s in my face.
~54 minutes: IT’S ALL A SCAM! The song’s final lines finally resonate with me. “Want to know the rest? Buy the rights…” Buy the rights?! You lure me in with your danceable rhythms, you seduce me with your tales of romantic unwarranted prosecution, you infect my brain, and in the end all you want is for me to give you money to hear the ending?! No! I will not stand for this. Don’t try and pull an E-Harmony Free Communication Weekend tease and think you can get away with it! Soylent Green is people! Soylent Green is people!
~55 minutes: I am indignantly hate-listening. I tried to expand my horizons. I tried to see the good in you, and, for just a second, I thought I found it. But I know now that you are the woman in room 237. Your false beauty falls apart the closer you get to me until I see you for the monster you are.
60 minutes: It’s over. I have made it. I wrap myself in a blanket and make some tea with milk and honey. It warms my soul and reminds me that we must live our life for the present and not the past. I am not a victim, I am a survivor.
Honorable Mentions: Eagle Eye Cherry – “Save Tonight”; LFO – “Summer Girls”, LMFAO – “Sexy And I Know It”