5 Good Songs I’m Never In The Mood To Hear

There are certain songs I could listen to every moment of every day for the rest of my life. “Hypnotize” by the Notorious B.I.G. and “Down on the Corner” (the notorious) CCR head up the list. Other songs are more time and place specific. The New Pornographers are perfect summer music, but their albums collect serious digital dust on my iPod during the winter months. Other songs, however, I never ever ever want to hear. It’s not that they’re bad. Several of these songs may even be musical masterpieces. I’ve just never heard them in a context I could appreciate.

1. “Brick” by Ben Folds Five

Was this the unlikeliest radio hit of all time? Ben Folds Five’s feel-bad abortion slowjam unexpectedly took the airwaves by storm, bumming people out all across the country. Oh, hey, you’re enjoying a late-night trip to Wendy’s for a Frosty. Things are looking pretty rosy. Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute. Here’s a song about terminating a pregnancy before dawn on the DAY AFTER CHRISTMAS. Seriously, Ben Folds? You couldn’t wait until the day after the day after Christmas?

When, ideally, would you listen to this song? On the way to get an abortion? After the abortion? Abstinence-only education class? How about never. Never ever. Ever ever ever. Ever.

2. “Piano Man” by Billy Joel

Another glum song. Which is fine. It’s okay for songs to be sad. “Piano Man” is such an epic mopefest, that it’s hard to picture a time it would be good to hear. Even the guys in the bar in “Piano Man” wouldn’t listen to “Piano Man.” They’re probably rather hear some Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. I don’t think a bunch of problem-drinking townies would appreciate the postmodern artfulness of sitting in a bar listening to a song about guys just like them sitting in a bar just like theirs.

Also, Billy Joel insists that Paul is a “real estate novelist.” That is not a kind of novelist. I have never seen or heard of a “real estate novel.” There is certainly not enough demand for this kind of novel that the world’s only writer of them would never have time to get married.

If I were ever at a bar where the piano player broke into “Piano Man,” I would just shake my head and be like: “Come on, man! What are you doing here?” Seriously, I would rather hear the borderline-unlistenable “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

3. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

I know, I know. I’m an east coast liberal elite communist Jew. I’m sorry. I just never want to hear this song. The original version or the rendition that Kid Rock Vanilla Iced into his own regional pride anthem. I’m sorry. When I want to hear someone making music about loving a place that other people disrespect, I’ll listen to early Jay-Z. If it has to be from the south, I’ll opt for “Raise Up” by Petey Pablo, because at least that song gives you the direct imperative to wave your shirt around like a helicopter.

In the interest of even-handedness, I will admit that I am rarely down for hearing “Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys, which where I’m from is sacrilege. I do, however, appreciate it when I am actually on my way to Boston. It’s the same as how “Life Is a Highway” only sounds good when you’re on an actual highway. Except “Life Is a Highway” never appeared in The Depahted, which was a wicked good movie, kid.

4. “Scarborough Fair” by Simon and Garfunkel

“Scarborough Fair” makes a day at the carnival sound about as much fun as a puppy funeral. Also, the chorus is primarily concerned with what herbs are going to be available at this fair. It sounds like more of a farmer’s market, really. There are delicate harmonies and gentle guitar playing, but it comes off like a commercial for Whole Foods. Ugh.

5. “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” by Pink Floyd

Maybe I have a hard time getting into the soundtracks of psychedelic animated moves. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t do mushrooms. Pink Floyd is the black-light poster of bands. People who really like hallucinogens seem to enjoy both a great deal, but people with full time jobs don’t care for them as much. Anything you need drugs to enjoy probably isn’t all that great in the first place. People scarf down Funyuns when they’re high. That doesn’t mean Funyuns are an experience that can only be fully appreciated with the aid of a mind-expanding substance. It means you don’t know what’s good and what sucks when you’re stoned.

Maybe I just don’t get it. But I worry that Pink Floyd is a gateway drug that leads to dredlocks and “9/11 was an Inside Job” bumper stickers. All in all, it’s just another song that I never want to hear.

Honorable Mention: “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

Not my favorite tune, but sometimes I do want to hear what Game of Thrones would sound like with guitar solos. TC mark

image – Alejandro Mallea

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://twitter.com/mung_beans Mung Beans

    Piano Man is a karaoke jam though

  • anon


  • http://andiegoddessofpickles.blogspot.com Andie

    I always thought when he said ‘real estate novelist’ that it kind of meant that he was a real estate agent/Novelist.. so real estate was his day job but he’d really rather write, which is probably why he sat in a bar drinking because his life sucked.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathon-Ferrari/100001319787228 Jonathon Ferrari

      ooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ya. That makes much more sense.

  • http://twitter.com/Jeweledelephant Sharron

    I love this post.
    Although, I will admit I had never heard of the Ben Folds track. Just checked it out, and now must listen to some mindlessly optimistic pop music to obilterate it from my mind.

    She’s alone and I’m alone.  Yup, thanks for that

  • http://twitter.com/Baliseth Megan Johnson

    Game of Thrones Metal Version is as close as I can find to one with guitar solos. :-p

  • Anonymous

    I listen to Brick ALL the time. Ben Folds is a god.

    Also, I think the point of being a “real estate novelist” is that he’s trying to be a writer, but really he just sells real estate because no one will buy his books.

    • Guest

      rly srs/

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=606045336 Alexandra Koktsidis

    I’m with you on Sweet Home Alabama 

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    “The Depahted”, love it!

  • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

    “The Depahted”, love it!

  • Anonymous

    Number 4 had me lollllling <3

  • Anonymous

    Number 4 had me lollllling <3

  • Melissa

    ha! i love you now. not even going to list why i loved this article because it was seriously like every other 3rd line. which is a lot to have me actually laughing audibly. you’re apparently one of the 3-4 worth-reading writers i’ve discovered (so far) on t.c. glad i took a chance and clicked your byline.

  • CS

    After attending an Alabama football game (the 2010 national championship game), I was on the verge of savagely attacking whatever poor, unknowing soul next played “Sweet Home Alabama” in my presence.  Hearing any song 20 times in one afternoon is bad enough without the added fact that the song in question makes a point of calling out Neil Young for dissing southern racism (because, you know, what’s wrong with burning crosses?).

  • kellie

    you had me at ‘wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute’

  • Melissa

    Loved it–there is NO such thing as a “real estate novelist.” Billy Joel wrote this song about real ppl–the waitress was his first wife.   The real estate novelist was a guy named Paul who was a real estate agent who always told Billy that he was working on a novel.  Billy didn’t know how else to describe the guy. :)

    • danielle

      it was funnier when i didn’t know

  • Ian

    Pink Floyd is really good though, even though that track is overplayed and overrated. I actually watched The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of The Moon (Dark Side of Oz?) before I had ever smoked weed. Yeah, they’ve kinda been relegated to being an ‘entry-level stoner band,’ but that’s not fair. Just the other day I heard a cover of Fearless off of Meddle. Now I can’t stop listening. Fantastic!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCgQuj8v2gg

    • Anonymous

      The band Low from Duluth does a great cover of Fearless.

  • http://goldenday.tumblr.com Kia Etienne

    “because at least that song gives you the direct imperative to wave your shirt around like a helicopter.” YES, A THOUSAND TIMES YES

  • http://twitter.com/RoCer Rodrigo Cervantes

    So you don’t like classic rock? That’s all I got from this.

    • Josh Gondelman

      I really like classic rock! It’s just that I wanted to go with tried-and-true songs people like that I don’t, rather than currently popular stuff that lots of people agree is crap a la Katy Perry.

    • soul_everything

      For me its Hurt, Johnny Cash. I love it BUT I can’t listen to it without ending up in tears. Very embarrassing when it comes on at parties, in shops, the radio….anywhere where people are. 

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