The music heard on this channel is the stuff that didn't make it onto classic rock radio because it was too genre-bound (disco, mostly), too MOR (Olivia Newton-John), or just too weird. Normally I love hearing this underexposed side of my musical upbringing, presented in such an unadorned, context-free setting. But driving home from the airport last night, I heard the dark side. A bar-band riff. Cubic-zirconia vocal polish. Lyrics that didn't make a lick of sense until I realized they were composed by someone who didn't speak English as his first language.
It was tantalizingly familiar, but I certainly couldn't sing along with it. It was like a song that I had heard three times in my whole life, a song that just didn't stick. But only now could I realize that it was the worst song ever committed to vinyl.
It was "Sausalito Summernights" by the Dutch one-hit-wonder Diesel. Click here to listen (if you dare).
Why is this the worst song ever recorded? It takes elements that I am inclined to defend in the music of my life and proves the point of the people who cringe at them. Let me count the ways:
- You may think you know what "over-produced" sounds like, but this song has been marinated in Turtlewax until the shiny surface could hold its shape without any music underneath.
- The supposed story of a California road trip has clearly been written by someone who's never been to California. It reminds me of number 17 on the Willesden Herald's trenchant "Common faults in short stories submitted" for their literary prize.
- The early eighties Steve Miller Band sound was marginal even when performed by talented musicians. Why would anyone want to adopt it as their inspiration?
- Inaudible, sibilant, synthesizer-processed backing vocals on the chorus had me straining to understand them on every (interminable) repetition. "All aboard .... ssss-th-sss-ess ..." ??
- Just when you think it's ground to a halt -- a reprise of that opening riff. It's starting over! (See #4.) The version I linked to is not the five-minute version. Be grateful.