Thursday, June 02, 2016

30 Day Song Challenge, Day 2: Your Least Favorite Song

First, see yesterday's post for my caveat about picking "favorite" and "least favorite" songs.

The category "least favorite song" is a weird one, since it presumes there is something at least minimally favorable about the pick. It needs to be a song that is not so awful that you actively avoid hearing it, but still awful enough that, when you do hear it, you note to yourself that you probably should avoid it next time. There are entire genres of music that I don't like and don't voluntarily listen to--experimental jazz, death metal, most jam-bandy stuff, any of that godforsaken Celtic noise that Fiona Ritchie punishes us with every week on The Thistle and Shamrockjust to name a few-- so it's hard for any song in those genres to earn enough of my time and attention to rise to the level of a "least favorite." For similar reasons, I didn't want to pick any of the widely-panned, universally-reviled, epically terrible songs (like this one) as my choice for today. We're not just shooting fish in barrels here.

My pick for today is Adele's mega-hit "Hello." I can't imagine it's possible that you have not heard it at least a thousand times already, but just in case, here it is:

I like Adele quite a lot. In fact, I keep her first two albums (19 and 21) on regular rotation.  She's a masterful storyteller with a voice as big and as powerful as life itself.  And although I was kind of meh about "Hello" the first time I heard it-- mostly because it's a little too mopey and brooding and Celine Dion-esque for my taste-- I didn't think it was a terrible song.

But OH EM GEE how many times can a person listen to this song before becoming passionately, virulently anti-telecommunications?  I get it that "Hello" is about a spurned lover desperately trying to reconnect, phoning her ex over and over and over again, begging to be heard once more.  Is what has now become the unavoidable ubiquity of "Hello" some sort of genius meta-marketing strategy? I don't know, but it feels more than a little bit like being stalked.

Where oh where is the "block all calls from this number" function?

Chartbusting "hits" get overplayed all the time and it isn't always the case that getting weary of a song makes you change your fundamental evaluation of it as a good or bad track. In this case, though, the more I hear "Hello"-- or, rather, the more I am forced to hear it anywhere and everywhere I go-- the more I think it's actually not a very good song. Unlike her other epic ballads, there's never really a payoff in "Hello." It doesn't build, then release.  It's just an endless whisper, then shout, then whisper, then shout again loop that (perhaps to its credit) sounds and feels exactly like the cloying, obsessive, I-can't-quit-you pleadings of a terrible ex,

The detritus of toxic relationships has made for a thousand great ballads, but "Hello" is not one of them.

Click here to return to the "anchor page" for #30DaySongChallenge2016 with the full list of this year's picks

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