Thursday, February 28, 2008

Soundtrack to the Perfect Ride... NOT!

OK, so I've already listed a few dozen songs that I think fit well into the aural backdrop of a Sunday morning ride. But now I want to list a few tunes that just don't work when you're making time on two wheels. Of course, as always, your opinion may vary...

  1. Me and My Gang - Rascal Flatts: C'mon, get serious. These guys have to be the least intimidating bikers out on the road today... if they actually do ride, that is. The whiney high-pitched vocals, falsetto harmonies and cheezy talk-box guitar mixed-in with pre-pubescent lyrics (ex. "We're gonna rock this thang, cock this thang") trigger a gag reflex everytime. Don't get me wrong, when they stick to what they do well - like sappy-broken-hearted love songs - they aren't too bad. But when they try to be bad, they aren't.
  2. Life is a Highway - Rascal Flatts: OK, two for two. One more strike and these guys are out. When Tom Cochrane first recorded this song is was good - maybe a little kitsch - but it had a good hook and the guitar lick sticks to your brain like fresh roadkill on summer asphalt, not to mention that Tom has a bit more grit to his voice. But these guys sweetened it up and took away any edge it might've had. Of course, they did cover it for a Disney cartoon... so what should I have expected?
  3. Low Rider - War: Weird and entertaining, but not music to ride to. Kinda like a Mexican Fiesta on acid. Oddly enough, War's Why Can't We Be Friends (from the same album) is actually a pretty good tune for the ride home. Oh, and Low Rider always reminds me of Cheech and Chong - which is good, but not when you're hanging in the twisties.
  4. Born to be Wild - Ozzy Osbourne feat. Miss Piggy: Yes, you actually read that right. The Ozzman did a humourous cover of this overused biker anthem and added the vocal talents of Miss Piggy in the chorus. This rare recording can be found on the Muppets' Kermit Unpigged album, and it was also included on Ozzy's Prince of Darkness boxset. To be honest, this version just might be more entertaining than the Steppenwolf original (my apologies to John Kay).
  5. Electric Avenue - Eddie Grant: Though not technically a biker song, the DX7-sound-FX of a revving engine seems to be trying to emulate a V-twin. Didn't work. Don't get it. Whatever happened to that guy, anyway? Two hit neo-reggae songs in the mid-eighties then: Poof! No more. In the meantime we had to endure another decade of synth-reggae white-boy cover songs by UB40.
  6. Ghost Rider - RUSH: First, let me say that I'm a big fan of Rush. Smart music, intelligent lyrics and great musicians that always seem to mesh (I've got three of their songs on my first top 25 list). These guys have managed to do what very few 30+ year old bands have done: stay together, and stay fresh. So why not "Ghost Rider"? Read the book of the same name by Neil Peart (drummer and lyricist) and understand the subject matter. Too dark and introspective for a pleasant ride in the countryside. Great song, wrong situation.
  7. Riders on the Storm - The Doors: This psychedelic, 7-minute rock opus is claimed to be the last recording before Jim Morrison's early check-out. Great song, very hypnotic, haunting lyrics and performance - which is exactly why it doesn't work for riding. There are many myths regarding the inspiration behind the song, with the most plausible being that Jim Morrison was writing about Billy Cook, the hitchhiking murderer from the early fifties.

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