Thoughts from the ammo line

In the interest of humor Ammo Grrrll identifies THE WORST SONG EVER WRITTEN. She writes:

It is time for another of my patented Break From Politics columns. Scott has graced us with beautiful and interesting musical offerings and commentary for many years, in an effort to preserve his – and our – sanity. Today, however, we will be talking about a very, very stupid song. And not even a recent one.

Everyone has a contender for the worst song ever written. Dave Barry used to ask for nominations in his periodic columns asking for readers’ most hated songs. In 1992, the song I will discuss today “won” a Dave Barry reader poll for “Worst Lyrics” and “Worst Song of All Time.”

Wow! It’s a very high bar for worst song in my opinion, when you include everything from “Lollipop” to “Red Solo Cup” (which I like and Mr. AG hates, loathes, and detests. I can literally make him leave the house with it! Which comes in handy) and anything at all in rap.

I do not HATE the song we are about to discuss. It is catchy, musically complex, and reasonably pleasant as long as you don’t actually listen to it. Because when you listen to the words, you realize that it is mind-numbingly stupid. Nevertheless, it sold millions of copies and has been covered by dozens, if not hundreds, of artists, including Richard Harris, Donna Summer and Waylon Jennings. Which goes to show you what I know. Mr. AG and I didn’t think Madonna’s coffee table book called Sex would sell either. Haha! We are a couple with our fingers on the pulse of the popular culture! Not.

Anyway, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. My nomination for worst song ever written is in agreement with Dave Barry’s readers: It is “MacArthur Park,” particularly the version screamed by Richard Harris..

Not one word makes any sense, and I am cursed with an addiction to Logic. Jimmy Webb wrote it and, undoubtedly made a fortune off of it. He is a very successful songwriter with such hits as “By The Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Galveston,” and “Up, Up and Away.” So, he can turn to me and say, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” Point taken, Jimmy.

Still…Let us examine it, line by line, shall we?

Someone left the cake out in the rain.
I don’t think that I can take it,
Cuz it took so long to bake it;
And I’ll never have that recipe again.

“Someone left the cake out in the rain.” Alrightie. It’s not a picnic. There’s no mention of fried chicken or potato salad. Just a cake.

Now, if you were outside, eating just cake, and a sudden squall came up out of nowhere, couldn’t you have said, “Hey, somebody, grab the cake”? For that matter, since the cake is so all-fired important to you, why didn’t YOU grab the cake instead of blaming this mysterious “someone”? (Remember, as Mama always said, “when we point a figure at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at us.”)

But, okay, mistakes happen. The cake is out there. In the rain. And now, you don’t think that you can TAKE it? Good Lord, man, get a grip. You’re falling apart because of damp cake. And why?

Oh, because “it took so long to bake it.” Well, in point of fact, almost all cakes take about 35-50 minutes to bake. If you bake it much longer than that, you don’t have a cake, you have a doorstop. But, you’re asking us to believe that because a cake that took well under an hour of your life to bake – during which time you can pretty much go about your business unimpeded – because this cake is ruined, you’ve lost the will to live?

And yet, you didn’t grab it when it started to sprinkle! Curious.

No wait, here’s another reason. “I’ll never have that recipe again.”

Oh, for Pete’s sake, why not? THINK! Where did you GET the recipe? What did you DO with it? How long ago could it have been? Have you tried the Internet? And guess what, friends, the rest of the words make even less sense:

Spring was never waiting for us
Still it ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance in the
Sweet green icing.

That, my friends, is not some kind of high-falutin’ “poetry” too esoteric for us rubes to comprehend; it is gibberish. That’s “fish in a barrel” territory, beneath even making fun of it.

Sorry, Jimmy, you’ve written some great things – but this is just embarrassing. It also does not work as a metaphor, as you claim, for the breakup of a love affair.

If the “cake” represents a love relationship and the relationship is floundering – “in the rain”, if you prefer – follow my wise Mama’s advice and “Come in out of the rain.” Get some counseling, buy some flowers, apologize if you’ve been a jerk. I doubt the particular relationship “took so long to bake” because most celebrity relationships are measured in weeks and months, not years. And if the whole relationship “cake” got wet and fell apart, why would you want to use that same “recipe” again? Just reasonable questions if you’re going to pretend it’s all a grand metaphor.

Ah, well. Mr. Webb can just laugh all the way to the bank. It beats the heck out of the lovely and haunting rap ballad my foster son used to play, “The b*tch bettah have my money.” What a beautiful sentiment – last dance at the Prom material. I’ll take the moist cake one any day.

Editor’s note: Let’s go to the tape.


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