Monday, July 21, 2008

The Great Battle of Wesley Willis v Donna Summer

I think I've got a new neurological disorder--somebody alert the APA! I have TWO cases of the earworms (or as Oliver Sacks likes to call it "involuntary musical imagery"). The first, Donna Summer's "McArthur Park":

The other, Wesley Willis' "Rock n Roll McDonald's":

The Donna Summer is stuck pretty good you guys. So much so that I had a dream about it the other night. The following dialog occurred, in the dream, on the phone (this is all I can remember):

Unknown person: I can't come over I am camping. At McArthur Park.

Me: McArthur BART (an Oakland train stop)? Why would you camp at a BART station?

Unknown person: McArthur Park!

Me: I am hearing: McArthur BART.

Unknown person: McArthur Park! I'm at the park! It's melting in the dark!

(The end).

They say that songs stay in one's head because there is an element within the tune itself: the melodic structure is hard to follow, the lyrics don't make any sense; and the mind is left puzzled and trying to fit the pieces together. In this case I think the problem has to do with the latter explanation. Probably the part where Summer says something about a "yellow cotton dress foaming like a wave" or "birds like tender babies in your hand" or the cake with green frosting melting in the rain. I've sung this song to people and they don't believe that these are the actual lyrics. But they are--watch the video.

With the Wesley Willis, I think it's the pre-programmed Casio country beat, especially the middle instrumental segment. I mean, I think the lyrics are pretty straightforward: "they serve quarter pounders, they will put pounds on you!" But I probably have this song stuck in my head because John W made me sing it all day last weekend, because I can sing that one pitch-perfect and I know all the words (to the chorus).

Donna Summer may have won this battle--considering the fact that she has seeped into my dream realm--but I swear to you Donna Summer, the war has just begun! I am full of obscure songs that will beat out your bizarro cake song one of these days!


JOY said...

i love when things you say to me in real life make it into your blog. :)

Sean Wraight said...

You are a rockin' maniac.
You are a singin' hyena.
You are a rock star in Jesus' name.
You can really rock Saddam Hussein's ass.
You are so lovable to me in the long run.

Hey if you're going to dream in 'Wesleyan' you at least deserve a fitting lyrical homage! - And I thought I was the only one that dreamed in bizarre artistic mashups. Your combination has got to be a first though!

Thanks for reminding us of the greatness that was and is Wesley Willis.

Honourary head butts all around.


amityb said...

Yeah thanks! I'm the new Alanis Morisette! Woowoo! I wonder if he called her a 'rock star in Jesus' name' because he saw that one Kevin Smith movie where she plays God and got confused. Weird, maybe "Alanis Morissette" will take out Donna Summers in my head. Willis v Willis...yikes, the thought of dueling Willis' in my mind is scary and could prove maddening. Thanks for putting the fear in me, Sean.