Diversity Training: Music Edition Vol. II

8 Jun

Things I could blog about
1. Conan’s Tonight Show debut is the best thing to happen to television since…well, television
2. Ellen Degeneres’ stand-up special makes me laugh so hard I can’t breathe
3. Everyone on the Upper East Side wears plaid shorts

cuddly and badass

cuddly and badass at the same time

Things I will blog about instead
1. Me.
2. Drew.
3. Music.

We decided that the second round of Diversity Training: Music Edition should cover guilty pleasure songs. You know, the tunes that you try not to love but somehow find yourself singing in the shower, drunkenly requesting at a party, or playing on repeat on your iPod until you get to where you’re going and then you surreptitiously switch to Radiohead so people think you find Thom Yorke’s incessant sing-whining beautiful and artistically valid.

Drew and I exchanged 4 songs each and did a “point-counterpoint” run-down for each one. That’s a lot of information, so we’re going to break it up into two posts.

spice_girls_retroDrew’s pick: Spice Girls – “Spice Up Your Life”

Claire’s opinion: When I was in high school, my two favorite music acts to complain about were Hanson and the Spice Girls. I hated them with all of the snobbish arrogance and misdirected angst that a 14-year-old could muster.
There were many problems with the Spice Girls. For example, “Wannabe” is a noun. “Wanna” is a verb. The lyrics were: “If you wanna be my lover…” and yet the song was named after a slang term for a poser. And what the hell did “zig-ah-zig-ah” mean anyway? They had stupid clothes, they had stupid songs, and the “pretty” one had a pig nose.
But now that it’s been ten years, I find myself kind of nostalgic for the Spice Girls. I don’t hate them anymore. And actually, you sent me this song in an email but I didn’t need it—I already had it on my iTunes.

Drew’s explanation: This is a guilty pleasure song because I’d have to own up to really liking this if I was ever caught listening to it. You know how there’s a cable movie that you never plan on watching yet somehow you peep it one day, and then you find yourself watching it every time its on, and the rest of the channels are on some bull-puckey? Well one of those movies for me was “Spice World,” the saga of (and cinematic cash cow, for that cash cow called) THE SPICE GIRLS. I’m not gonna get into all the listings of what I’d do with which one, but I’ll just admit I was roped into these pop-tarts and this song in particular. Props to whomever produced this song because cot-dang this is one catchy song. That opening riff comes on and I have to go in. It’s taken me the better part of this decade to finally admit this publicly…

mixalotClaire’s pick: Sir Mix A Lot – “Baby Got Back”

Drew’s response: I’ve never been a huge Mix-A-Lot fan, although me and my boys used to clown on his first single “My Posse Is On Broadway”. However I can’t front on his success and he’s been caking for years, but this joint kind of passed my ears by (but not the video!). This is one of those records that belongs in The White Rap Record Hall of Fame along with such ditties as “Bust A Move”, “Funky Cold Medina,” “I Wish”, and “Top That” from Teen Witch. What I do find even more culturally amazing about this record is the life it’s taken on with women who are mocked in the opening of it. Then again, it’s quite endearing because its helped white chicks everywhere become a little more comfortable with their hind parts. This kind of ironic empowerment in a rap song doesn’t make a comeback until Kanye’s “leave your ass for a white girl…” line in “Golddigger”. Claire I look forward to being at a party when this comes on to see you twerk it.

Claire’s explanation: I love love LOVE this song. My feelings for Sir-Mix-A-Lot are equivalent to an art collector coming to the startling realization that he really, really adores that picture of dogs playing poker. This song actually contains the line: “My anaconda don’t want none unless you’ve got buns, hon.” Amazing.

“Baby Got Back” is catchy. It’s funny. It makes fun of people named Becky. It includes the word “knucklehead.” And it references both Hondas and Mercedes, which are the two types of cars I have owned. I know all the words to this song and I will dance to it stone cold sober. I used to add it to mix CDs as a surprise bonus. In high school, a friend and I made a video of ourselves driving around the suburbs and we used this as the soundtrack. It’s on my iPod’s running mix. I play it at parties. I’ve even sung this song at karaoke, which is saying a lot because do NOT do karaoke.

I also almost picked Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” as another one of my guilty pleasures, but I worried that you’d be alarmed by my unhealthy obsession with butts. I can’t help it. Butts are funny.

PM DawnDrew’s pick: PM Dawn – “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”

Claire’s response: Unfortunately, I do not have a good response to this one because I’d never heard this song before. Wikipedia says it came out in 1991, when I was nine and busy listening to Paula Abdul. At first I thought I recognized it and then I realized no, they had just sampled Spandu Ballet’s “True.”

Drew’s explanation: This is guilty pleasure for me for two reasons. PM Dawn was labeled the antithesis of hip-hop and the main dude Prince Be was subsequently thrown off the stage (literally) at a show by hip-hop legend KRS-One. Consorting with PM Dawn was just like being MC Montague kicking it with the Capulets. Suicide. So I had to keep this one on the low. My other love for this record comes from the fact that when I really love the original song you’re sampling, if you don’t eff up the sample I’ll usually like that as well. So here’s a guilty pleasure song freebie – I really REALLY was into “True” by Spandau Ballet. Judge Me.

dmbClaire’s pick: Dave Matthews Band – “Too Much”

Drew’s response: I listen to this and I’m immediately lost. Where is this record going? I hear African rhythms, brassy horns, and then there are harmonicas and hillbilly twinges? EGAD, what a curveball, what’s happening here? I’ve tried to see what DMB is all about via two old lady friends of mine. They brought along their DMB CD’s whilst on a road trip where I’m usually the most open minded to new music. However I still need help understanding the cult like allure of these dudes (and chicks?). It seems to me that every so often a group comes along that make this genre-jacking hodgepodge homogenized music that becomes this “Something For Everyone Generic Aesthetic” sound that sell millions, but does nothing other than sate pop music ears (see: Peas, Black-Eyed)

Claire’s explanation: I am genetically and socially predisposed to love Dave Matthews Band, but I don’t. I’m bored by them. But everyone I grew up with loves them.

I am the one lone Midwestern suburbanite who doesn’t like DMB and for that reason, I have taken it upon myself to actively oppose them. In case you haven’t realized, I enjoy forming irrationally stong opinions about trivial topics just to piss people off. I’m not sure what I think about the death penalty (pros: revenge cons: murder), but show me a woman with a bad dye job and I will rant about her for a week.

Despite my anti-Dave Matthews stance, I really like this song. I’ve liked it since it first came out in 1996. DMB fanatics diss this track cause it’s too poppy and it doesn’t showcase the band’s instrumental skills, but that’s exactly why I like it. Their instrumental skills bore me. This is 4 minutes of non-stop jamming that I really do enjoy.

And…that’s it! Stay tuned for the second half of Diversity Training later this week!


34 Responses to “Diversity Training: Music Edition Vol. II”

  1. Marc June 8, 2009 at 4:47 am #

    Claire, do you know that one of the first times we met we bonded over our mutual disgust for DMB? I recall this vividly because you were the only person I’d ever met who did not care for them.

    I am really curious to know both your opinions on I Want It That Way from the Backstreet Boys as that would likely be my #1 selection for this category.

    • Claire June 8, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

      Wow, I have no recollection of this at all. In fact, I really have no memory of how we became friends. I remember talking to you in your dorm room once and asking about the Univ. Illinois poster on your wall and why your AIM was crackman. And then I have no more memories of you until like, a semester and a half later when suddenly, I took you shopping for new clothes. WHO ARE YOU? Do we even know each other? I’m Claire.

  2. Drewpreme June 8, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    Marc & Claire… I respect your stance on DMB, alas I will have to remain clueless about their overall appeal… I’m sure Molly likes them. She can defend them…

    Spandau Ballet >>> DMB.

  3. Molly June 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    I will defend Dave Matthews Band to the death. For being musically and racially diverse. For being politically relevant even before it was cool. For thinking outside the “jam band” box. For my most favorite song in the whole wide world (#41). And for creating and selling more live cds than anyone ever thought humanly possible.

    • Sookie June 8, 2009 at 4:41 pm #

      using black people in your band to claim its racially diverse doesnt make one racially diverse.

      We all agree (except Molly of course) that DMB is possibly the most overrated band of all time and genuinely not that good

      I am glad to finally have other white people agree with me on this

      • Molly June 8, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

        Actually, Dave Matthews is South African. In fact, the only AngloSaxon in the band was Stefan, the bassist (obvi). But they never claimed to be racially diverse. I am claiming that for them. I’ve no problem standing up for DMB. They were my first musical love and shall always hold a special place in my heart. RIP LeRoi.

      • Drewpreme June 8, 2009 at 6:07 pm #

        Wait so Dave’s a white South African? What was his stance on apartheid and Mandela’s unjust incarceration on Robbins Island?

    • Drewpreme June 8, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

      *cosigns Riggs*

      What is this “jam band” stuff? Is this like “Beach Music”?

      *walks in to Fat Harold’s in Myrtle Beach, SC*
      *never felt so confused in my life*

      Life is hard.

      • Sookie June 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm #

        I guess white people felt bad about outright stealing music from the founders of it so instead of just taking it over our white guilt compels us to hire said race to feel better about.

        DMB or Vanilla Ice’s backup dancers

      • Molly June 8, 2009 at 4:53 pm #

        No no no.

        Jam Band = Widespead Panic, Phish, Moe, etc.

        Beach Music = Jimmy Buffett and… Well, basically just Jimmy Buffett.

    • Claire June 8, 2009 at 11:14 pm #

      I kind of respect Molly’s refusal to back down on her horribly misguided DMB opinion and her staunch insistence that she knows what’s right. She’s like the George W Bush of music fans.

      • Molly June 8, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

        God Bless Dave Matthews Band. And no one else.

    • Marc June 9, 2009 at 3:09 am #


  4. Sookie June 8, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    I dont know which is more shocking Claire never hearing PM Dawn or Drew admitting to Spice Up Your Life.

    Drew wins slightly simply bc we’ve shared many embarrassing songs in our collection over the years and hes always held this one close to his chest. I feel like I just learned my son is gay…

    My iPod was an open book for you homay…no need to hide who you really are

    • Drewpreme June 8, 2009 at 4:48 pm #

      Spice Up Your Life > anything by Lil Boosie and Webbie.

      Don’t hate.

      • Sookie June 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

        I dunno “Gimmie Dat P*ssy” is quite the motivator

        *wipes himself down*

    • Claire June 8, 2009 at 11:06 pm #

      As for me never hearing PM Dawn – I didn’t start listening to contemporary music until about 1994. Anything pre-1994 is hit-or-miss with me as I was obviously aware of some of it (Ace of Base, Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation”) and a lot of it passed me by (PM Dawn, apparently)

  5. Sookie June 8, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    and speaking of racial diversity I wish drew could get a dark default picture for this blog…or at least a lil darker taupe (to be more accurate)

    • Molly June 8, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

      both of yous need pics

    • Sookie June 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

      Unless of course he is using a Jeezy snowman and then its oddly really appropriate.

      Jeezy Snowman and Hartsook – completely different versions of pure white

  6. mazall June 8, 2009 at 5:16 pm #

    a boy i knew in college wanted to date me and i wasn’t having it. he said i wasn’t interested in him because i only listened to ’emo indie rock’ and i always vetoed DMB songs when they came on and he worshiped DMB and i knew that and i was being a music snob and slighting him at the same time. i said, “yeah, so what?”.

    the end.

    • mazall June 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

      for the record, i actually did enjoy DMB up until that point.

    • Molly June 8, 2009 at 5:18 pm #

      you have a dmb cd in your cd case. the only good cd IMO

      • mazall June 8, 2009 at 5:40 pm #

        i have plenty of good cds in my old cd case… ROMEO AND JULIET, HELLO!?
        and the dozen or so Mozart cds that you put onto your computer after you moved in, hmmm??

    • Drewpreme June 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

      You chose wisely Mazzie…

      • Molly June 8, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

        @ Drewpreme. Yes smartass he does have a stance on that. Listen to “don’t drink the water”

    • Claire June 8, 2009 at 11:03 pm #

      Mazzy – my friend/prom date in high school once threw his sister’s DMB CD out of the car window and she got so mad she made him walk home. He and I were partners in DMB-hating crime and then we went away to college and when we saw each other he was wearing Abercrombie clothes and made me listen to DMB bootlegs. Now he loves them. It made me sad. He had such promise!

  7. Molly June 8, 2009 at 6:18 pm #

    RIP Romeo and Juliet soundtrack. Hope the robbers are enjoying it.

  8. menelaos June 8, 2009 at 11:18 pm #

    Seriously guys… how can I even keep up with 26 responses before I’ve even read the damn blog??

    I’m going to have to sode with Molly on this one for the DMB issue. I hated them because they were popular but then grew to appreciate them when I was in college. I know I’m among several music fanatics here who will disagree but I think his music is pretty amazing. Anyone that’s played the guitar and then tried to play Dave has to be in awe of what that guy does.

    And I love how Drewpreme comes “out of the closet” with Spice up Your Life. At least it wasn’t Ace of Base…?

    • Molly June 8, 2009 at 11:35 pm #

      Yesss. Knew I kept you around for something besides Yankee Stadium companionship and ill-timed medical advice.

      • menelaos June 8, 2009 at 11:38 pm #

        you should still stop smoking

  9. Molly June 8, 2009 at 11:43 pm #

    I have quit smoking! Like a billion times!


  1. Diversity Training: Music Edition Vol. II ctd. « Claire & Molly’s World Wide Weblog - July 11, 2009

    […] love but are kind of embarrassed to admit that we love. The first half of our exchange can be found here. The second half is […]

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