songs to get you pumped, songs to ruin your life

while jared & i were trying to entice people into helping us movie into our new place, i decided that we could have theme songs to pump us up when our energy started to flag. people who run call these kinds of songs “power jams”. i spent the evening before the move prowling around on youtube, trying to pick out the best moving power jams to keep us all motivated to continue carrying boxes down the stairs. i came up with four choice selections.

“pour some sugar on me” — def leppard
this is the UK video for “pour some sugar on me,” which is way cooler than the US video. the US video is a concert video. borrr-ing. this version was perfect for motivating us to move because it’s all about a house being destroyed. that was what we would have liked to do to our old apartment. (& can i just mention that it’s been over two weeks & we still have not received our security deposit? i kind of hope that our landlord decides to be totally vindictive & not return it at all so that we can take him to court & force him to return the entire thing. tenant tip: landlords have thirty days in most states to return whatever portion of your security deposit you are getting back, along with receipts & such forth for any repairs they have deducted. if they just try to keep it, you can sue for its return & the landlord can’t keep anything, even if you have damaged the property.)

“round & round” — ratt
jared seems to have a special relationship with this song. he knows a shocking quantity of the lyrics. it got us motivated for a number of reasons. 1) the song rules. 2) it’s another video in which heavy metal destroys a house. & 3) the uptight pseudo-aristocrats are hilarious. i haven’t decided i i am adding or deducting points for the way the woman who goes upstairs turns into a weird scantily-clad alien life form. i do like that when she gets “sexy,” her hair turns gray.

“eye of the tiger” — survivor
this one was a big disappointment. i thought “eye of the tiger” would be a natural choice to get us pumped to move. it’s such an awesome song, it makes you want to take up kickboxing or something. but the video completely blows. i mean, check out that keyboard player. awesome dad glasses from 1977 & rejected wig from the mullet of the month club. jared awesomely thought the singer was a young arnold shwarzenegger. & neither of us was impressed when their soundstage transmogrified from a down-on-its-luck mechanic’s shop into, like, a pile of milk crates with a bunch of garbage bags stapled up behind them. i know early music videos were a pretty low-budget medium, but this was just sad.

“the final countdown” — europe
ultimately, this was the song that got me the most pumped to move. thank you, europe! this is the worst video genre of all (a combination of the concert video, which is always a yawn, & the behind-the-scenes scrapbook video, in which the sound techs always look like they are about to be bored into comas & the band is always filmed frolicking with fans who are nearly exposing their breasts). somehow, europe rises above all the cliches to emerge victorious with a video that just never stops being hilarious. is it the perms? the lip gloss? the slow motion headbanging? who knows.

& then we have the flip side of the coin. i began to speculate about what videos we might watch, what songs we might listen to, in order to demotivate ourselves into just laying down on the floor & giving up on life altogether. there was a lot to choose from, but we settled on four primary offenders.

“everything i do” –bryan adams
there are a lot of terrible things happening here. first, it’s bryan adams, balladeer of the great white north. this guy’s voice is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. i’ve heard flutes that weren’t this reedy. second of all, this song is terrible. during the bridge, he tries to rock out, but he’s bryan adams, so it’s just about as uncomfortable as watching your uncle trying to show off his mad “stairway to heaven” skills on the fender stratocaster knock-off he gave your brother for christmas, circa 1987. you’re just like…seriously? i’d rather be ruining the ringlets of a porcelain doll with a hairbrush right now. when can i leave? but the worst part of all is that this song was used on the “robin hood: prince of thieves” soundtrack. this is a film which starred kevin costner. if there is one dude on earth who manages to somehow be less cool than bryan adams, it’s kevin costner. & in this video, we see him attempting to seduce a woman. as if that would ever happen.

“three strange days” — school of fish
full disclosure: i was pretty into this song when i was like 15 years old. to the point where i still get pumped when i hear it out in the world. when i was living in philly last summer, this total sad sack sang it at karaoke one night & i just about lost my mind. i had been convinced that this song was somehow a figment of my imagination. but it’s real! & so much worse than i remembered. in my defense, i was 15 in 1994. there were a lot of terrible things happening in 1994. woodstock 2, for example. 4 non-blondes was actually a pretty popular band. people both young & old often wore tie-dye without any ironic conceit. more than a few people seemed to sincerely believe that jerry garcia’s death had been staged by the government just to harsh everyone’s mellows. if you were too young to be aware of these developments back in 1994, just be grateful. i suffered so that you didn’t have to. part of the suffering involved thinking this was a good tune & developing such a pavlovian relationship with it that it’s now 2011 & i can’t really convince myself it sucks. though i fully cop to the fact that the video blows. what’s with the goth midget? no one needs that. & also, this song is totally demotivational, unless your only goal in life is to drop some more shrooms.

“life is a highway” — tom cochrane
once again, the canadians are destroying our way of life. this song is terrible, tom cochrane’s haircut is terrible, this video’s exploitation of scorpions, native americans, & the amish are all terrible. the woman in this video is wearing extremely questionable jeans & she & her boyfriend seem to be incapable of physically moving themselves from place to place at any speed other than “run” or “dance”. she also eschews the seat belt laws to which ralph nader dedicated the best years of his life. the fact that rascal flatts went on to cover this song ten-plus years later in just one more sign of the impending apocalypse.

“don’t stop believing” — journey
ordinarily, this song would be on my list of motivational tunes that make me want to work hard & carry heavy boxes. (though i will note, for the sake of my friends that toil as professional karaoke hosts, that it is not as clever a karaoke choice as you apparently think it is.) HOWEVER. if you look closely, you will soon realize that this video is in fact a lip synced dramatized version by a couple of yahoos in, like, idaho or something. we have a white dude with hat head & no hat, & an asian american dude with a hat but no hat head. WILL THEIR PATHS EVER CROSS? hat-wearing dude seriously needs to pass his hat along to our blond justin beiber impersonator, because that hat head he’s sporting is not acceptable. why didn’t he take a quick look in the mirror & comb his hair before they got rolling? i also have a lot of questions about the part where hat dude looks at his engine. such as, what the fuck is he doing? why don’t you know how to lift your hood effectively? you know you actually have to do stuff to check your oil, right? just chill out, dude. basically, if you think too hard about the hows & whys of this video (how did it get made? why does it exist? what did i do wrong in a past life that i am now conscious of its existence?), you will want to die, which is pretty demotivational.

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