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No Really, Can It Get Any Worse?

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No Really, Can It Get Any Worse?


Exhibit A: “Ventura Highway“:
The whole song (irrepressible as it is) is dead-on-arrival, lyrically, with such gems as Joe/Snow, sunshine/moonshine, name/same. But in move that should make rhyming dictionaries illegal, America anticipated “Take the Money and Run” with the rarely-attempted four-line grand slam:


‘Cause the free wind is blowin’ through your hair
and the days surround your daylight there,
Seasons cryin’ no despair
Alligator lizards in the air…


Alligator lizards. In the air.


Exhibit B: “Sister Golden Hair”
In addition to a riff ripped off from George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” (which itself was considered a sufficiently brazen reworking of The Chiffon’s “He’s So Fine” that it generated a lawsuit), the lyrics achieve the ideal balance between half-assed inspiration and typical rock-star laziness:


Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressed
That I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed,
Now I ain’t ready for the altar but I do agree there’s times
When a woman sure can be a friend of mine…


Exhibit C: “Tin Man“:


But Oz never did give nothing to the tin man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have,
And cause never was the reason for the evening
Or the tropic of Sir Galahad.


I’m loathe to infringe upon the perfection above, so I’ll simply add my name to the list of folks who have wondered: what the fuck is the tropic of Sir Galahad? And can I find the pompatus of love there?



Exhibit D: “Horse With No Name”.
What can anyone possibly say about this song that the band does not already say in the song itself?


On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound


(Editorial note one: “Plants and birds and rocks and things”. Editorial note two: “The heat was hot”.)


I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
cause there aint no one for to give you no pain
La, la …


(Editorial note one: “In the desert you can remember your name”. Editorial note two: “CAUSE. THERE. AIN’T. NO. ONE. FOR. TO. GIVE. YOU. NO. PAIN”.)


After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead


(Editorial note: “After three days in the desert fun”.)


You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
cause there aint no one for to give you no pain
La, la …


(Editorial note: “In the desert you can remember your name” –in case you had forgotten, the lyrics or your name. Oh, and by the way: There. Ain’t. No. One. For. To. Give. You. No. Pain.)


After nine days I let the horse run free
cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with its life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love…


(Editorial note: Still plants and birds and rocks and things.)


You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
cause there aint no one for to give you no pain…


To recap: in the desert, you can remember your name. ‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.


I think we have a winner.


So, did I miss anyone? More importantly, is there a song out there that can hold a candle (or a lighter) to “Horse With No Name”?


Let me know.


Sean Murphy loves music, books, and movies and can't imagine a world without sub-titles. He was born in northern Virginia and has never found a compelling reason to leave. He studied English at George Mason University and has an MA in Literature. One of his thesis papers dealt with the utopian impulse in '70s rock (which, depending upon one's perspective, at least partially explains why he opted not to purse that PhD in Cultural Studies). During his time at PopMatters he has written extensively about music, movies and books, and his column "The Amazing Pudding" appears every other month. His memoir Please Talk about Me When I'm Gone is now available via paperback and Kindle at Amazon. Visit him online at http://seanmurphy.net/.


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