I have many friends with excellent taste in music. Through their mix CDs I’ve discovered great performers like The Baseballs, Lior, St Vincent… heck, if it weren’t for the mix CDs of friends, I might never have heard Sufjan Stevens! So as you’ll appreciate, I am always grateful when someone hands me a disc of their favourite music.
Unfortunately even the best musical taste will occasionally let a person down, as I discovered when a friend gave me an otherwise awesome CD with a song from the musical ‘Wicked’ on it.
‘Wicked’ is very popular with people who aren’t me. It bugs me, for two main reasons. One, I resent the twin modern habits of claiming that evil is just misunderstood, and twisting existing stories instead of writing new stories because it’s easier to suck the kudos from a classic rather than create something genuinely good from scratch.
And two, many of the people who have gushed at me about how wonderful ‘Wicked’ is have also gushed at me about the wonders of Barack Obama, or ‘Downton Abbey’, or various other glib, superficial things.
If I’m being generous, I can see how the emotional high of a musical might colour their judgement. And to be fair, I haven’t seen ‘Wicked’. But I have heard the hit single ‘Defying Gravity’, and that’s enough. It’s a terrible, terrible song: music that was created by running 70 years of Broadway clichés through an industrial shredder, and lyrics that came about when a trite American motivational speaker took a hit of really potent cocaine and didn’t stop talking for thirty hours.
Don’t believe me? Well, I can prove it. Here’s a little game I like to call “'Defying Gravity' Lyric or Motivational Desk Calendar Quote?”
Just see if you can pick which lines are gleaned from ‘Defying Gravity’ and which are taken from last year’s crappy desk calendar
1. Some things I cannot change, but till I try, I'll never know!
2. My life turned around when I began to believe in me!
3. I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game!
4. I am not afraid to be what I want to be!
5. It's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes, and leap!
6. If you can dream it, you can become it!
7. I'm through accepting limits because someone says they're so!
8. Be who you are, and say what you feel!
All quotes are 100% real and 200% awful. Answers tomorrow in comments!