Tuesday, June 17, 2014

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 17: A Song That Annoys You

I'll go ahead and concede, right here at the beginning, that I'm probably being more than a little unfair to my song-pick for today.  For the most part, I actually think it's a good song: catchy, peppy, eminently danceable, and with a winning hook. And yet, alas, it annoys the ever-living crap out of me.

Unless you've been stuck in cave for the last year, you've most certainly heard Pharrell Williams' "Happy," originally recorded for the soundtrack of Despicable Me 2.  (To be honest, I doubt that even if you were stuck in a cave for the last year you'd  have been able to escape it.)  It's been played ad nauseum on the radio and everywhere else, lip-synced all over the world on YouTube, blessed by Saint Oprah herself.  Every Christmas, some friends and I play this game called the Little Drummer Boy Challenge in which, starting on Thanksgiving Day, players compete with each other to see who can go the longest before hearing the Christmas carol "Little Drummer Boy."  Now, if you're careful, you have a realistic chance of going a couple of weeks or more before some random pah-rum-pum-pum-pum knocks you out of that game.  Not so with "Happy."  If there was a "Happy" Challenge right now, I'd be shocked if anyone could get through a single day.  It's that ubiquitous.

My annoyance with this song comes down to one single line in the chorus:  Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof.  I'll admit that there's really no defensible reason for me to get as worked up as I do about this, but I simply cannot abide "a room without a roof" as a metaphor for happiness.  IT. DRIVES. ME. CUH-RAZY.  If Pharrell re-recorded the exact same song and only excised those five little words "a room without a roof," I'd be completely on board with this song.  As it is now, hearing that line registers in my ears like nails on a chalkboard.  Every single time.

SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL (a phrase with which no sentence should ever begin), the idea of having "a roof over one's head" has represented safety, security, shelter, certainty, protection and, as a consequence of all those, also happiness.  You know what happens when you find yourself in a room without a roof?  You're exposed to the elements-- snow, sleet, wind, rain, scorching sun, not to mention bird-droppings and, god forbid you find yourself in some kind of GoT conflict, arrows!  You can't protect yourself, there's no chance of climate control, and you might as well forget about ever sleeping in.  In sum, this is NOT a happy space.

One last complaint: the next line in the song is: Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.  Now, I might be more forgiving if Pharrell were forced to rhyme with something really difficult, like "orange" or "purple" or "month" or "film."  But, c'mon now, truth?!  Even if the only word he could think of to rhyme with truth was roof, why choose a line that REMOVES the roof, something that is all by itself a pretty good metaphor for happiness?

In related news, somebody needs to invent an "annoyed" emoticon.

Here's your quick-access link to the entire 30 Day Song Challenge 2014 prompt-list and my picks for each day.

1 comment:

Daniel Brunson said...

There are options: