The Spoonman Challenge
December 4, 2012 35 Comments
Was discussing ’90s songs for some reason over email with one of RWCG’s many, many fans and correspondents** and the subject of Soundgarden, now in the midst of a comeback I gather, came up.
This made me think, as I often do, of “Spoonman”:
Feel the rhythm with your hands
(Steal the rhythm while you can)
Speak the rhythm on your own
(Speak the rhythm all alone)
Spoonman, come together with your hands
Save me, on together with your plans
Save me, yeah
Special note for those of you too young to fully accept weird notions about your elders: believe it or not, this is a song that actually became somewhat of a hit for them in that weird special time we call The 1990s. DJs would dutifully explain that Chris Cornell wrote it about a guy he saw playing the spoons next the Seattle Space Needle or whatever (I’m making 50% of this up). Oh also, the song had the tinkling sound of rhytmic-spoons mixed into it. I kid you not. And anyway, radio listeners would nod their heads and accepted the idea that this was all very important and interesting. And people sang along with it. And so it got a lot of play.
Spoonman. Come together with your hands.
With that prelude, then, here is the RWCG Challenge™ for the day: Can anyone name a Sillier ’90s Song than “Spoonman” by Soundgarden? Some ground rules.
1. Just being Silly doesn’t suffice. “Who Let The Dogs Out” came out in the ’90s and it was Silly but not particularly ’90s per se.
2. Similarly, being ’90s without being Silly doesn’t work either. Lots of Pearl Jam – “Jeremy” or “Glorified G”, for example – is very, very ’90s but not all that Silly.
3. To expand a bit on what I mean by Silly And ’90s then: you have to imagine someone 100 years from now listening to the song. Key questions:
- Do they furrow their brows?
- Are they having a hard time understanding why this would have been popular?
- …and what would have been in the minds of the songwriter?
- …and of the people listening to it and enjoying it?
- In order to fully explain, do you feel like you have to launch into a mini cultural history of the time period in which it came out? in this case, of The 1990s?
- Is it hard to do that and explain said context in a satisfying way that fully accounts for the song’s popularity?
- Importantly: Do they giggle at any point?
I submit that the answer to each and every one of these questions is Yes, when it comes to “Spoonman” by Soundgarden. YOUR CHALLENGE: Trump that – name a Sillier ’90s Song than that.
P.S. Please note that I don’t think it’s a ‘bad’ song as far as hard rock songs go. Nice riff, and all that. It’s just that it’s also very Silly and ’90s.
**estimated count: 2.7
UPDATE: The worthy (IMHO) nominees so far –
Aqua, “Barbie Girl” (Matt)
Bloodhound Gang, “Bad Touch” (Matt)
Limp Bizkit, “Nookie” (Matt)
Whale, “Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe” (dana)
Belly, “Feed the Tree” (Pastorius)
POTUSA, “Lump” (kid dynamite)
King Missile, “Detachable Penis” (Mike)
Weezer, “Undone (The Sweater Song)” (josh)
Metallica, “Enter Sandman” (josh)
Flaming Lips, “She Don’t Use Jelly” (josh & RPLong)
Cracker, “Teen Angst” (RPLong)
Soul Asylum, “Misery” (RPLong)
Green Jelly, “Three Little Pigs” (RPLong)
Eiffel 65, “I’m Blue” (Surge)
Maybe I’ll do some sort of tournament and figure out the Winner.