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Friday, May 9, 2008

For the Birds

I'm an animal lover but I just don't get birds. I don't. Sure they're beautiful when they fly and they're used to symbolize everything from God to automobiles. Whatever. They still kind of freak me out. I mean they have these weird beady eyes and they're always moving around like some meth addict looking for a VCR to reassemble. And being surrounded by birds is the most uncomfortable feeling in the world.  Like when I was eating coffee cake and reading the paper downtown LA Starbucks a few years ago and I looked up and my table was filled with dozens of tiny little birds just staring at me. Eww. I shrieked like a girl and nearly scalded my crouch with hot coffee.

 So songs about birds are even more baffling to me. For every one decent ditty about the winged creatures, there are like  40 really horrible ones. These songs inevitably feature rhymes about "fly,sky, high, cry, eye" and are usually meant to be uplifting. Instead they just end up sounding stupid or really campy.

Take for example, Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado. Please. Granted this song had it's moment in pop culture but have you heard it recently? Yeesh. It didn't age well and you realize that Furtado made a wise move by currently singing about "Promiscuous Girl's and the like. All this mumbo jumbo about not knowing where her home is and flying away would make anybody put on some booty shorts and hook-up with Timbaland.
 Worse yet is "White Dove" by The Scorpions. Yes, those Scorpions. Lyrics like "white dove fly with the wind" are bad enough but the children's choir in the middle is totally unforgivable.Oh yeah and there's this "I Wanna Know What Love Is"-type of solo that comes out of nowhere. However, lead singer Klaus Meine's thick German accent still makes me chuckle. 
 The funniest song about birds, in my book, has to be "Fly, Robin, Fly" by the Silver Convention. This repetitive disco jam is just goofy. Other than "up, up, up to the sky!" it consists solely of repeating the title and a porno baseline. I've often thought about performing this in karaoke just to drive people nuts but as you can tell from the video, I could never live up to such a riveting performance. 

Another winged guilty pleasure is Anne Murray's "Snowbird". Sounding like the bastard child of a Christmas song and something they'd play on a log ride, "Snowbird" was a dentist's office staple back in the day. And this dusty, chestnut just gets cornier with time. I'm not really sure if she's talking to an actual bird or using it as a metaphor but whatever the hell it is, it sure is funny!
Leave it to ABBA to knock  out the competition with "Eagle". There's all the Swedish sugar you'd expect from an ABBA jam plus it contains 40% more cliches than the other songs about birds! Not only do the ESL lyricists meet the requisite "fly, high, sky" quota but they manage to incorporate other aspects of nature like "Over mountains and forests and seas
and to go anywhere that I please."Nicely done, Benny & Bjorn but you're not the worst.

No, that honor goes to James Taylor and Carly Simon's "Mockingbird". This is the rare type of duet that really makes the listener wish they could have ears ripped off by a crazed seagull. Truthfully, this song could end up on other lists like "worst songs by white people pretending to have soul"  or "worst songs by couples who've since divorced. But I think it's also the worst bird song ever. Much like that fine feathered friend who sits outside your window and squawks endlessly, "Mockingbird" seems to go on forever and it's might make you crazy. I've had to hear it three times while writing this and I'm about to lose my shit.

I'm sure there's dozens more but all this bird talk is starting to wig me out. I mean, what if one them reads this, rallies the troops and wants more than just coffee cake this time?
 And I thought James Taylor's moustache was scary!

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