We had joy, we had fun

There was something familiar about The Orange County Register's March 30 feature story in which staff writer Andre Mouchard proclaimed 1974 as pop music's worst year ever. We just knew we'd heard the same argument before—and really recently, too. And we had—a month and a half before, on the Feb. 12 broadcast of National Public Radio's (NPR) Morning Edition, when Washington Post music critic and NPR contributor Tim Page also tagged 1974 as the worst pop year ever.

Hooked by Page's decree (and maybe by his pedigree: he won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for criticism), writers at several newspapers around the country penned their own arguments for and against the 1974 catalog, and everyone credited Page—everyone but Mouchard, who, in an e-mail to the Weekly, claims to have never heard Page's NPR piece until we told him about it, even though much of Mouchard's shit list of the year's dreckiest tunes was similar to Page's: "Seasons In the Sun," "Billy, Don't Be a Hero," "The Night Chicago Died," "(You're) Having My Baby," "I Honestly Love You."

Original idea or not, we're guessing Mouchard couldn't resist doing a story that cut so keenly into what we can only assume is his beat at the Reg: remarking on unremarkable pop-culture milestones. So far this year, he's written pieces on the Ford Mustang's 40th birthday; the 25th anniversary of the Sony Walkman; and how The Shawshank Redemption has, 10 years since its release, become a cult classic.

The larger problem, though (other than the fact that taste is subjective, and that every year produces its fair share of sonic crap), is that Mouchard and Page sabotage their '74-sucked-balls thesis by focusing on the Billboard Hot 100 at the expense of the other charts from that year. Page also relied on lazy factcheckers: Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die" was actually a hit during the summer of 1973, spending three weeks at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. And in Page's astoundingly short list of good things that came out in 1974 (all albums, as opposed to the singles he picks on), he cites Bruce Springsteen's The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle—released Sept. 11, 1973. A little digging on the part of both writers would have uncovered a wealth of great singles from '74—the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New," the Spinners' "Then Came You," Stevie Wonder's Nixon fuck-you "You Haven't Done Nothin'," MFSB's "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)," Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love," the O'Jays' "For the Love of Money," the Love Unlimited Orchestra's "Love's Theme" and countless others—many made by people of color, which means that Page, at least, had to have been tuning into some pretty bland radio back then. He's clearly not much of an authority on his subject, other than maybe the fact that he was alive in 1974—Page is the Post's classical-music critic.

Page ended his commentary with this teaser: "1975 was full of terrific music, but that's another, happier story." We assume he's not talking about "Mandy," "Laughter In the Rain," "Have You Never Been Mellow," "My Eyes Adored You," "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song." (Rich Kane)

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If you thought you heard something familiar on last week's The O.C. (besides rich kids yelling about the paralyzing drama of their lives), that's probably because you've heard the song "Meet Your Demise" coming out of the Willowz's Anaheim garage. Does that make them the first actual OC band to be on The O.C., except for probably No Doubt? Guitarist Richie Eaton thinks so. The scene: "Well," says Richie, "these two girls didn't like each other, and one of them calls the other a slut, and then the song comes on, and they start fighting, and they fall back in a pool, and they're still fighting." Is that the sort of imagery you were going for when you put pen to paper? "Kind of," says Richie, reluctantly. But fingers crossed for The Simpsons: "I actually gave Matt Groening a CD," says Richie. "He was like, 'Something free? I'll take it!'" (Chris Ziegler)

 
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