No Good Excuse

Nobody is impressed with how good your excuses are

Well hello peeps! I know we haven’t updated in a while (sheesh, since November? Really?!) but, uh, we’ve had good reason. You see we all got eaten by a bear and had to claw our way out of its stomach, and it took significantly longer than you’d think. True story, bro.

Now, ok, that may be stretching the meaning of the word ‘true’ to far beyond its somewhat elastic limits, but I figure it’s as plausible an excuse as any. In reality we’ve been off and away because…reasons.

And anyway, the truth never helped anyone! Wouldn’t you rather have a fun story instead? We know we would. It’s kind of our thing.

And back we are at any rate! And to celebrate I’ve cobbled together a very relevant playlist. Here are ten songs which at their core are full of utterly bullshit excuses, almost as terrible as any tale we could be bothered to come up with in order to handwave our extended absence. Enjoy!

Stevie Wonder – ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’

This song is unashamedly cloying, and in no way indicative of Stevie’s genuine general awesomeness. Additionally, it hinges on a clear lie. If anyone has ever actually used the line “I just called to say I love you” I am completely and utterly certain that what they actually meant was either “I need a favour” (whether it’s along the lines of “can you carry something heavy for me” or “give me a kidney” makes no material difference) or “I’m high as a fucking kite!”. Anything of this sort is quite definitely not to be trusted.

Shaggy ft RikRok – ‘It Wasn’t Me’

Spoiler alert, in case you somehow managed to avoid what’s got to be one of the most overplayed songs in the entire history of time, it was him. It’s not the simple fact that it’s established right from the get-go that pretty much everything contained in the lyrics, and indeed the title, is a pack of lies (to the point that the phrase ‘The Shaggy defence’ had to be invented to describe such barefaced bullshitery) that’s so concerning, it’s the fact that this is presented as legitimately good advice. If someone catches you in the act of doing something you shouldn’t, there’s a limited amount of obfuscation you’re likely to get away with. Claiming to be your own imaginary twin or that it’s all a bad dream have a better chance of succeeding than this ploy. Plus, I feel that a real friend should be ready to tell you some harsh truths, like: maybe don’t cheat on your partner if you don’t want to get caught cheating on your partner, or don’t be in a relationship with someone you don’t seem to want to be in one with, or at the very least, if you’re going to slut it up maybe get a hotel room. Honestly, a newborn baby could probably give better advice than what Shaggy comes up with here.

Cowboy Mouth – ‘Joe Strummer’

Is it reasonable to break up with someone for not liking Joe Strummer? Arguably, yes. I think it’s a bit douchey to think that the people in your life ought to like all of the same things as you, but on the other hand it is quite unfathomable to think that someone might actually dislike The Clash. I mean really they’re just so goodand versatile! But breaking up with someone for not knowing who Joe Strummer is, as the protagonist of the song does, I don’t think that’s warranted. While it’s a fun, catchy song that I can’t help but sing along to, I don’t think its logic is particularly pleasant. I’m comfortable automatically dubbing any argument like this about someone not being cool enough to be liked as pretentious wankery. Though as an argument about someone being too dumb to use Wikipedia it might in fact stand up.

Tim Buckley – ‘I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain’

This song is straight up heart-wrenching. First off, its subject matter: it’s about Buckley abandoning his wife and son (you know, that Jeff guy people seem to be addicted to making biopics about). And secondly, beautiful as it is, it offers no real reasoning or closure. It’s one of those perfect metaphors that once you hear it you almost can’t believe it’s not a fixture of everyday conversation, the phrase “I never asked to be your mountain” sums up the song’s sentiment exactly- in some ways it doesn’t need any further explanation. And “the rain was falling on that day, and damn the reason why” is one of my all-time favourite lines, it’s a truly terrible excuse, and I want to use it every day of my life. Bonus angst: if you ever feel that life’s a bit too happy you can always listen to his son Jeff’s cover.

Tom Waits – ‘The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) (An Evening with Pete King)’

Shifting the blame for imbibing onto inanimate objects is certainly creative. And the anthropomorphic lyrics of this song amount to another one of those perfect metaphors that just make sense, especially to anyone who’s ever said and meant something like “that film is incredibly stoned” or “her outfit has had far too much coffee”. This song certainly captures an atmosphere (of being drunk and frustrated in a not particularly fantastic bar) exactly, but can it convince me that the narrator with his slurred speech, discordant playing and way too specific a denial isn’t wasted? Hell no. The flagrant lying doesn’t make it any less awesome, but it does make it a delightful series of ridiculously implausible excuses!

10cc – ‘I’m Not in Love’

There are scores and scores of songs to be found along this theme of “I don’t even like you anyway”, often in the same vein as the “well whatever I’m over you/I’m waaaay better off without you” ones, and perhaps the “I’m not even talking about you anyway, so suck it!” types (all of which often have plenty of mixed messages for the keen bullcrap-detector to scoff at). But, let’s face it, this song’s a classic- whether you think he’s simply talking to himself or to someone else, there’s clearly a whole load of deluding going on (even if it isn’t being done that well). The idea that the song’s subject can’t acknowledge and embrace his own emotions along with the creepy subliminal “big boys don’t cry” being whispered in the background is potentially a damning critique of contemporary constructions of masculinity, but on the surface this consists of more bullshit excuses than you’d want to get close enough to shake a stick at.

Louie Jordan – ‘Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens’ 

I find the idea that things may have been simpler in the past to be vaguely plausible. I do not, however, believe that even in the 1940s/50s a farmer would’ve fallen for human voices telling him there’s no one on his land except his fowl. It’s just about a better hobbled together lie than “you’re having a hallucination brought on by your extreme need to knock yourself on the head with something very heavy”, but not by much. Add to that the “chicken’s” argument that they need him to shut up and fuck off because they need a good night’s rest in order to properly spend the next day on taxing tasks like sitting around waiting for eggs to hatch, and you’ve clearly got a line in pure unadulterated (but very fun to listen to) balderdash. I will concede though that a more muppety version gives the tale a very slight sheen of believability.

Pluto Shervington – ‘Your Honour’

Allow me to summarise this gripping courtroom drama: the accused clearly couldn’t have been schtupping this dude’s wife, cos he was hanging out in her closet at the time, just being undressed and holding his clothes, as you do. Aside from quite possibly inspiring R Kelly’s genius work now I think about it, this ditty also provides a positively dazzling dose of hogwash. It’s a fairly tongue-in-cheek take (or at least so I hope!) on pathetically awful pretences and admittedly still probably a notch above the logic of ‘It Wasn’t Me’ (hey, maybe this song inspired that too? I think there’s a fairly good argument to be made that ‘Your Honour’ led to the invention of language, electricity and sliced bread somehow as well) but as far as dissembling models go, this isn’t a good one. As far as songs go though, it’s great.

Christy Moore – ‘Johnny Jump Up’

You can find a whole host of versions of this Irish folk song (check out Gaelic Storm, Crimson Pirates and Wylde Nept‘s versions, for example), though Christy Moore forever owns my heart. Now, not once in my experience have I seen any evidence for some of the outlandish claims made in this song. I’m pretty sceptical of cider’s ability to, for example, suddenly give someone the ability to walk, or to bring someone back from the dead so they can bring a few pints up to Heaven. But fine, I suppose that’s all arguably possible. The oft-repeated refrain running through the song about never drinking again is what smacks of untruth though. What that type of phrase almost always means is essentially: I’m hungover and I feel sorry for myself. There’s clearly no point in paving the road to hell any further, we might as well all kick back and have a few pints of improbably strong magical cider without feeling bad about it.

Da Vinci’s Notebook – ‘Title of the Song’

This is a piece of a capella amazingness! It playfully pastiches a type of pop music that’s full of bullshit excuses, neatly summed up by lyrics like ‘recounting of the steps that led to our love’s dissolution/mostly involving my unfaithfulness and lies’ (think something like Usher’s apparently never-ending laundry list of confessions) with multiple references to the “title of the song”. I’m reasonably convinced though that this is all just an elaborate cover up, and thus a distracting excuse, for the band’s inability to come up with actual good titles for their tracks. I mean, ‘Another Irish Drinking Song‘ or ‘Enormous Penis‘, what was going on there? Suspicious to say the least.

Tell us what songs you think are full to the brim of hokum and nonsense in the comments!

One thought on “No Good Excuse

  1. Pingback: Comeback Kids | POP CULTURE PLAYPEN

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