Friday, June 9, 2017

Coffee House wimps

I picked up a rental car to go to my father's funeral this May. It came with Sirius xm. I worked my way around the dial listening to various stations.

At one point I landed on The Coffee House, which plays music by singer songwriters interspersed with acoustic covers of big pop hits. We were coming home at that point after what, as I'm sure you can imagine, was an emotional rollercoaster week back home. I found the station in the morning as we pulled out of our hotel to drive along the south shore of the Saint Lawrence, a bit of geography that has heavy associations with my father. For about 40 minutes, the station was perfect.

And then it began to grate. The problem was the, for lack of a better word, men. There was nothing new about them or the songs they were singing. It was hearing them all at the same time that hit me. They say that film noir was discovered by French film critics after the war when they were suddenly exposed to several years worth of American film after a long drought. They saw similarities in a group of films that caused them to recognize a new genre. I had a similar experience listening to this radio station.

I'm not sure how you'd classify the genre I heard that morning expect maybe as nice-guy music. These guys were obviously very appreciative of women but their praise came from a position of weakness. And it was all very sincere, sickeningly so. Some of it was music I'd heard before and some even stuff that I rather liked up until that morning. That is to say, I recognized the sentiments expressed as something I'd felt myself from time to time. It never struck me how utterly nauseating it was until I heard a whole bunch of it together.

The funny thing is that it's not terribly reverent music. It wasn't as pathetic as, for example, the horrible "She's so high (above me)". No, it was worse because it was all wrapped up in transgressive attitude like children acting out, as if these guys thought that women were going to want to be part of their little games. (The awful thing is they're probably right.)

I came home thinking it was time for a change.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I thought maybe you were exaggerating, and then this came on the radio:

    I'm not sure if it's quite what you mean, because it I don't think it's particularly transgressive, but it really stands out for wimpiness.

    I always thought "I'm your man" was a bit much, really. Although certainly much better as a song.

    (Deleted and reposted due to a formatting error. I tried to link to that URL properly, but for some reason when I clicked on it, it just went back to your blog. I'm not sure how to fix this, sorry. So I left the link in cut-and-paste format.)

    1. That's exactly the sort of thing. Lyrically, anyway. I haven't actually listened to it.