Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, where Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California, being an OC native and, of course, music.
There are certain songs that are inescapable, that have been so engrained in the nation's playlist that you're bound to hear them somewhere eventually: in a bar, in an elevator, at a restaurant, on TV, over a stadium PA. Some wear their welcome out quickly, some were never welcome in the first place (see: anything by Black Eyed Peas), and some just got so played to death that they've lost whatever magic they might have had in the first place. For must of us, this list probably extends into the hundreds, but for the sake of this week's column, I've whittled that list down to three songs that I've had the misfortune of hearing on this tour, and wish I hadn't.
Train, "Calling All Angels"
In a hotel lobby bathroom in Clifton Park, NY - I've been a fan of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for as long as I can remember. I go to as many games as I can afford to when I'm not on tour. Since 2002, the going has been good for Angels fans--really good. There honestly hasn't been much to complain about over the past seven or eight years, aside from them finding a way to lose to the Red Sox or Yankees in the playoffs almost every year, and...that they have been playing this horrible Train song over the stadium PA at the beginning of every game for the past six or seven years. I can't stand it. It makes my skin crawl.
On one hand, I suppose I get it. It's harmless. It's contemporary. It has the word "angels" in the chorus. Other songs that have "angel" or "angels" in the chorus would be just as out of place: Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" (better suited for napping, or a montage scene in some original programming from the Lifetime Network), and Slayer's "Angel Of Death" (probably wouldn't go over well with hyper-sensitive Orange County family folk.) On the other hand, I hate it. It's too safe, too boring, too contemporary, and seems to be the antithesis of any heart-pumping rock song you'd probably want to hear at a sporting event. It has always seemed better suited for a Viagra commercial or soundtrack to an interpretive dance routine at a church retreat than a ballgame. Why not some 1979-1990 AC/DC, '80s-era Metallica, or even The Black Keys or Sleigh Bells? Unfortunately, this season, the Halos have bigger problems (the bullpen, the back end of the rotation and lineup, an inability to hit with runners in scoring position, and a fixation on aggressive base running despite a lack of team speed) than what music they're playing or not playing at games.
Van Morrison, "Brown Eyed Girl"
At a restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, FL
- I dated a girl in college who loved this song. She also liked to drink. Unfortunately, she had friends that also loved this song and loved to drink. When they drank together, theyhad
to hear this song andhad
to sing along. More often than not, this would happen in my car as I drove them home from a bar or party. You really haven't heard annoying until you've heard a few hammered (and quite possibly tone deaf) college girls with booze and cigarette breath sing the "Do you remember when/We used to sing/Sha la la la la la la la la la la dee dah?" part of this song at earsplitting volumes while you're trapped in a moving vehicle. Do I remember? Yes, yes I certainly do, and it reminds me of wanting to jam an icepick into my ear, slam my face into the steering wheel, and drive my car into a tree. Never again, please.
Jimmy Buffett, "Margaritaville"
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At an outdoor bar in Towson, MD
- This song will be forever tied to the sight of greasy, ruddy-faced, Tommy Bahama shirt-wearing, fiftysomething males of varying degrees of obesity, that reek of well alcohol, cigar smoke, and suntan lotion, perving-on/eye-raping anything with two legs and a vagina. They're absolutely inseparable, and while you can try your damnedest to steer clear of them, they'll find you somehow. All I did was walk by an outdoor bar adjacent to the venue in Towson, heard those godawful steel drums, and lo and behold, there were two guys with the complexions of baseball gloves, fitting the mold I described above (although, to be fair, one of them had substituted a t-shirt that featured a clumsy metaphor involving fishing, penises, and women, for the XXL Tommy Bahama button-down) undressing a woman that looked like a manatee in a sundress with their eyes (expertly hidden behind a pair of aviator glasses.) It never fails.