I attended a musically-themed social gathering on Sunday at the home of some friends. As it was explained to me in the invitation, there was to be a tournament in which 32 songs would battle head-to-head in single-elimination fashion over the course of three consecutive Sundays, culminating in the identification and coronation of TEH GREATEST SONG OF ALL TIME!!11!!. Though this was the first time I would be attending, I was aware that the tournament had been held in years prior, which led to the following conversation:
Dead Acorn: “Hey, I really appreciate the invite! Sounds like a great time! So we just bring what we feel is the best song released in the last year?”
Friend of Dead Acorn: “umm … no … it can be any song you like. It doesn’t have to be just from the last year.”
DA: “But … but … if you identified The Greatest Song Of All Time last year, it stands to reason that only a song released since then could possible wrest its title! And if no new song can mount a successful challenge, then the crown must then remain with last year’s victor!”
FODA: “Ok … see … last year’s winner can’t be entered again. Maybe you should think of it as ‘The Greatest Song To Be Entered Into The Tournament This Year.’ jesusfuckingchrist I told her inviting you was a bad idea …”
DA: “I didn’t quite catch that …”
FODA: “See you Sunday, I guess … *sigh*”
It occurred to me a bit later that the event was less about an objective method of ordering songs by quality, and more about creating a fun and lighthearted atmosphere in which people could interact while participating in a friendly competition modeled on the NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournaments, which are taking place coincidentally.
I am one socially astute sunuvabitch. I can’t, for the life of me, understand why I don’t get invited to more parties.
Finally having a full grasp of the concept, I set about selecting a song to submit. I didn’t want to completely dominate, of course, so I excluded some of my top-shelf material, and finally settled on Ry Cooder’s “Down In Hollywood.” I had been told by the hosts, who are quite the audiophiles, that vinyl media was preferable, and I thought that a song from the album “Bop Till You Drop” would be appropriate, as it was the first major-label album to be recorded digitally – it would be a somber recognition of how much has changed in our world, even if not all for good.
My god, there was no way I could lose!
Alas, it was not to be. I searched through my stacks of wax and my mounds of sounds, and was distraught to discover that I could not find my copy. I was committed to the song, however, and resigned myself to burning a copy onto a CD*. I arrived at the party and submitted my entry, and was asked if I’d like to make a second entry (extras were needed to fill the entire bracket). Luckily, I had brought a few other albums**, just to establish my “vinyl cred,” as it were, and I drew out my 45 single of Bobby Darin’s “Mack The Knife.” “It’s going to be a bit embarrassing to have both songs in the final round,” I thought to myself.
As I was not familiar with most of the other guests, I looked forward to the random drawing for the first round battles. I began to feel a bit uneasy as the artists and songs were read. “Who are ‘The Iron Maidens?’” I asked. “Blackie Sabbith? Was he one of the Backstreet Boys?” There were other bands by such names as “Die Apokalyptischen Reiter” and “Embalmer” and “Ripping Corpse,” and I got the feeling that I was perhaps out of my element.
It’s far past the point of making this a short post, but suffice it to say that I did not advance into the second round (though Bobby Darin made a surprisingly strong showing – there must have been some Brecht/Weill fans there). All in all, it was an extremely enjoyable afternoon, and quite educational, music-wise.
Maybe “Dead Acorns” would be a good name for a satanic death-metal band – I’ll get started on lyrics.
* To make matters worse, I burned it as an .mp3 file, and it wouldn't play on their stereo. A guy at the party had to stream it over his phone. That's why I'm known as "Smoov D.A." on the streets.
** Other albums I brought include The Archies and David Soul. Tolly serious.