I hope you're in the mood for some musical masochism. It's time once again for a new installment of "oh the humility." In case you don't remember how this works, what I do is compile D.I.Y. YouTube clips of amateur musician's singing painfully uncomfortable renditions of the most befuddling hits of pop radio past. You then vote on which one is your fave. This is done to strengthen your resolve, making it easier to tolerate bad music while making good music sound infinitely better. The song selected for this installment is Joan Osborne's atrocious mid-90s one-hit "What if God was One of Us."
This song is such a total musical aberration that a part of me feels guilty for even reminding you of it--let alone posting multiple videos featuring it--so much so that if you have the inclination to deck me in the dome-piece next time you see me, I probably won't hold it against you.
I'm Jewish, which means--by ideological conscription--I don't believe in Hell. This song made me realize that, in fact, Hell is a place on Earth. Though, I do really wish there was some way for people who unleash songs as patronizing and elemental as "What if God Was One of Us" on the world, to be punished for eternity. The ironic thing about this song is that, if there were a Hell it would probably be a place where this track plays on repeat indefinitely.
Seriously, "What if God was One of Us" has to be the dumbest fucking song in the history of non-instrumental music. I remember hearing these lyrical pearls of divine inquisitiveness as a 15 year old, in 1996, when this jam was utterly ubiquitous. Even then I thought my head would explode every time I head the line "nobody calling on the phone/'cept for the pope maybe in Rome." Or when I heard the opening line "If God had a name/would you call it to his face" - Uhhhhhh, God has a name: God. He's got some nicknames too. Like Jehovah, Yahweh, "I am," Hosanna, Elohim, Shaddia et al...How 'bout saying "if God had a face/would you call him by his name?" A writer named Eric Bazilian penned the song. Eric, if you're out there reading this I've been waiting 13 years to say... FUCK YOU!
As far as funny YouTube fodder is concerned, the song makes for a goldmine of misguided earnestness and a treasure trove of awful awfulness. In Medieval times there was a punishment and torture device called "the noisemakers fife." It was used to crush the fingers of bad musicians. Below I've included a variety of videos featuring a host of novice "musicians" and "singers" doing their best to recast Joan Osborne's unforgivable blow against humanity, in their own image. Each of these massive musical offenders should be condemned to suffer the bone-crushing wrath of the fife--if for no other reason than their song choice.
I like that she decided take some liberties with the melody and do a little of her own improvising. Nice embellishments. Very soulful.
I don't know what's worse, this guy's dancing, his pitch or the fact that he's subjecting his family to both.
Here we have some bootleg footage of Slash practicing.
Anyone who was ever in a teenage rock band has plenty of embarrassing practice and performance videos, but none as embarrassing as this. The most recent You Tube comment on this video reads "I think I'm gonna cry." Me too.
This video contains a guitar lesson, in case you'd like to make your own "What if God was One of Us" video. Doo it!