Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spurgeon's General Warning: Cool Story Bro

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 10:44 AM

“Write what you know” is the adage, and it's one bands tend to follow. That’s why there are so many songs about universals: love, heartache, heartache from love, and doin’ it. It doesn’t hurt to get super-specific though, and tell stories about real events from your life.

The '70s were a great time for that. But the over-the-top bombast or sheer weird earnestness of '70s music tended to overshadow the actual mundane facts at hand. Like what? Like this:

The Who, “Who Are You?”

Pete Townshend is passed out in the street (in Soho, to be specific). A cop tells him to go home, almost certainly because of his notoriety. Pete arrives at a public transportation hub and acts like a total dick. Cool story, bro.

Deep Purple, “Smoke on the Water”

A Swiss casino burns down. Band seeks new place to record. Way better/more famous bands are mentioned/around. Cool story, bro. The only good thing about this song is its prominent appearance in a Kids in the Hall sketch from 1990.

Don McLean, “American Pie”

We all know this one. Don McLean profoundly never got over the deaths of his teen idols. One of the first pop culture instances of two-decades-back revisionism (like how the ‘90s are “in” again). Cool story, Don.

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