Sunday, August 10, 2008
The Best Song To Turn Up At A Particular Point During The Song Just To Emphasize How Cool That Song Is.
In some ways, teenagerdom never ends, and one of those ways is playing music so loudly that you permanently damage your hearing and have to have the TV turned up so high, during Sweeney Todd, that your wife gets mad at you because it woke her up, to which you can only reply that you have to turn it up that high because otherwise you can't hear what they're saying between the songs.
It may be too little, too late, but I'm trying to be more responsible about my music listening and at least avoid more permanent (permanent-er?) damage to my ears by keeping the music at a more reasonable (reasonable-er?) level.
Which I'm mostly able to do except that there are some songs out there that deserve to be played loud, and there are some songs out there that deserve to have the volume start out kind of low, and then get cranked up as high as you can possibly stand it at just the right moment so that the increase in the volume emphasizes just how cool that particular moment of that particular song is.
Take Paradise by the Dashboard Lights -- already here on TBOE as The Best Rock'n'Roll Song. It's got that part, right after the announcer does his little baseball bit that's actually about sex, where the woman starts hollerin' and the guitar kicks in, and if you're listening to that song the right way, you've got a little bit more volume to go and when it hits that part you turn the volume up just a little bit more (volume-er?) and really hit that guitar solo. Go ahead, try it:
Another song already mentioned on here -- Come Sail Away, celebrated for its lame/cool plot twist - has a similar guitars-kicking-in part that just begs to be turned up even more than you already had it turned up.
This phenomenon, this having there be a part in a song where the music insists that you take it up a notch, doesn't have a name; I'm going to call the Eleven Spot -- after the Spinal Tap speakers:
The best rock and roll songs have an Eleven Spot in them, a point that pushes the envelope a little. Sometimes it comes early, like in Baba O'Riley:
or it comes late, like in "We Will Rock You,"
But it's got to be there; for a song to be a truly classic song, there's got to be an Eleven Spot jumping out at you and saying you thought this was all we had but we've got a little more! If you don't have that in the song, rockers, you're just a run-of-the-mill musician; if you do have it, a little bit of immortality can be yours, because that will cause the song to become more firmly rooted into people's minds, more dug into their hearts. There is nothing like causing someone to reach for the volume knob to crank it clockwise, or to stand up and begin air guitaring, or drumming, to make that person remember that song and remember it fondly.
You don't have to do it with guitar, even. You could do it with all the instruments at your disposal including even a choir, like The New Pornographers do in "The Bleeding Heart Show," (a/k/a "The University of Phoenix Song.")
Those are all great examples of how to incorporate the Eleven Spot into a song, but there is one song that does it better than all others, that exemplifies just why it's so necessary to have that in a song -- because in that song, there's not just one Eleven Spot; there's a bunch of them. It's a song that picks up and up and up and just keeps on getting louder and more raucous and carrying you along with it. It starts out bouncing on the balls of its feet, then gets up on the table and dances, then stage dives, and by the time the choir and guitars and screaming singer and, yes, William Shatner kick in, the song -- "Common People" by William Shatner-- is running full speed through the city streets just ahead of a pack of barbarians... then drops you back down again, only to pick you up and have William Shatner snarl at you that you'll never live like Common People...
Well, enough. It's enough to just listen to the song hitting all those Eleven Spots. So I give you "Common People," The Best Song To Turn Up At A Particular Point During The Song Just To Emphasize How Cool That Song Is.
In looking for videos for this post, I came across this. Did this ever air? I don't recall this at all, ever, and I'm pretty sure I would have remembered; It's the exact opposite of an Eleven Spot -- especially the part where Pink sings:
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