Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday Top 5: Most self-centered songs

Just read a recent article on the our worsening narcissism and decided to post this again, originally from September 2009. Enjoy!

I've been thinking about some of the concerns with the Twitter and the Facebook. Is this self-centeredness unique to this generation, or are they just new ways to express an old truth?

For your consideration, here are my top 5 self-centered songs of all time:

5) Easy to be Hard by Three Dog Night (1969): Things seem alright at the beginning. 'How can people be so heartless?' the singer asks. 'How can people be so cruel?' But when we get into the 'splainin part, we realize that the heartless and cruel activities include caring about strangers and evil and social injustice. Maybe in context (the song is from the musical Hair), the lament makes more sense. In the context of Three Dog Night, it comes off like a guy trying to manipulate his date from the front of the protest line to the back of his van.
4) What About Me? by Moving Pictures (1982): Again, the song starts out reasonably, with the songwriter pointing to the needs of others. The big old chorus is the cry of the boy waiting at the corner shop, or the girl working there. The bridge asks us to consider the little people. But the neediness gets personal in verse three, and it is the singer himself crying out for more than he's got: 'What about me? It isn't fair. I've had enough now I want my share. Can't you see? I want to live, but you just take more than you give.' So much for the little people.
3) I Wanna Talk About Me! by Toby Keith (2001): My husband taught my kids this chorus when I went away for a week. That is a special present - kids proclaiming their need to be the center of the universe to their mother. But even if that awful scene had never happened, this song about a self-centered woman and her irritated, self-centered man would've made the list. To the characters involved: you two deserve each other.
2) Looking Out for Number 1 by BTO (1975): The song appears to predate the book of the same name by 2-3 years (but coming after the delightfully titled Winning Through Intimidation). Regardless of who came first, the sentiment was embraced by the period, an important thing to note as we wring our hands and worry about our children being raised in this time. I was in elementary school when this song came out, and it mixed an interesting musical style with these awful lyrics about success centering on self-preservation, John Sebastian conquered by Robert Ringer. Don't remember it? Lucky you.
1) Lightnin’ Strikes by Lou Christie (a #1 hit from 1966): Check the facts, all you cause-and-effect types - the National Organization for Women was founded in the same year. So, blame or credit Lou Christie as your politics dictate. This song is so much more than selfish, it is a pervasive evil. Every time it's played, a misogynist gets his wings - and an STD.

To be fair and balanced, a 'Hot Stuff' honorable mention t-shirt for Charlene, the purveyor of the 1977/1982 travesty, (I’ve Been to Paradise, but I’ve) Never Been to MeAnd a '#1' belt buckle goes out to Mac Davis. Naww, not for It's Hard to Be Humble - we're not going to hold tongue in cheek bravado against him. The 1970 hit Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me, on the other hand ...

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