Wednesday, June 14, 2006

F Posterity, issue 4: "A Paycheck Is All I Ask"

So while bad commercial music will never go away, it does come and go in cyclical waves. There really is a formula for mediocre business and bad art: someone has a hit in some new genre or unique style, and all the record companies rush out to get one. Nirvana spawned pop grunge. Dylan spawned a host of nasally singer-songwriters. "Girl from Ipanema" spawned an industry of elevator bossa nova. This trend stretches back to what foreign critics called the first truly American music, ragtime. Man, the ragtime music scene was just a mad scramble to rep the ragtimiest rag-rags around, until songs had lyrics like, "I got a ragtime baby and a ragtime dog and I rag around the city in my ragtime Ford."

Yes, with a ragtime wax on my ragtime 'stache.

The marketing onslaught of the late 'nineties and early 'aughts was the ubiquitous candygrams of girlie girls and boy bands. With each, it seemed that you couldn't part your hair without some new Frankenstein non-variation of the formula haunting the airwaves.

Particularly with female vocalists, there's history here. Consider the story of Mamie Smith, who around 1921 or 1922 sold close to a million copies of a song called "Crazy Blues". The record companies went nuts, telling producers, "We want one of those." Lots of bad music and half-composed artists ensued. In this rare case, however, the mandate caused producer Clarence Williams to discover Bessie Smith for Okeh Records.* She became one of the great jazz vocalists of the 20th century.

I don't know. You think Hilary Duff's stuff will stand up to Bessie Smith's? How about Jessica Simpson? Ashley Simpson? Lindsay Lohan. Donna Lewis. Britney? Christina? Paris has a record contract now ...?

I'll let you think on these things. This song is a little dated now, written in December 2002, but if I wait a bit, it'll become topical again. It's for all those pop-thrush songstresses who you love to hate and hate to love.

A Paycheck Is All I Ask

Poppy seeds will show up on a drug test
Like you always seem to show up on my doorstep
And I don't know much about opiates
But poppy seeds aren't causative
And man it's gettin' old when my doorstep turns up positive

Blonde and tall and young and lovely
She won't leave me alone
And all the songs she sings to me just drone, drone, drone
And I haven't read the fine print
But I hope there's some kind of warranty
'Cause man these factory showroom girls are boring me
But I can't sing the same old, same old
Good gal done me wrong
It's just a case of high maintenance
With a low-brow sing along
And a paycheck is all I ask
And it ain't too much to ask
She said a paycheck is all I ask for loving you
She never says much as such about the business half
She's a pretty face and a promise all in shrink wrap
I try in vain to explain myself
But she can't understand me
And all I can think is 'oh god, the humanity'
But I can't sing the same old, same old
Good gal done me wrong
It's just a case of high maintenance
With a low-brow sing along
And a paycheck is all I ask
And it ain't too much to ask
She said a paycheck is all I ask for loving you
Well I've been thinking everything through
And it's all coming down
To weighing out your pretty face
Against my cash accounts
I just want a girl to exist on this plane for real, now
And if you insist like this to keep on comin' round
And a paycheck is all I ask
And it ain't too much to ask
I said a paycheck is all I ask for loving you

Download mp3s below by right-clicking on the links.

F Posterity, 2006
52. F Posterity (Getzschman) - May 16, 2007
51. Crazy (Burton/Callaway/Reverberi/Reverberi) - May 9, 2007
50. Persistence of Regret (Getzschman/Ryan/Sahm) - May 2, 2007
49. Breakin' Plates (Getzschman/Ruthsatz) - April 26, 2007
48. Trio for Vocal, Metronome, Wurlitzer (Getzschman) - April 18, 2007
47. She Hates It When I'm Right (Getzschman) - April 11, 2007
46. Beat It (Jackson) - April 4, 2007
45. Mass Ave Strut (Getzschman) - March 28, 2007
44. Let's Fall Asleep Like This (Getzschman) - March 21, 2007
43. 2010 Ain't What They Said It Would Be (Getzschman) - March 14, 2007
42. Three Red Stars (Getzschman) - March 7, 2007
41. Birdhouse In Your Soul (Flansburgh/Linnell) - February 28, 2007
40. Everybody Thinks They're Self-Aware (Getzschman) - February 21, 2007
39. Hysterical Woman (Getzschman) - February 14, 2007
38. Hollaback Savior (Getzschman) - February 7, 2007
37. White Collar (old Philly dollar) (Getzschman) - January 31, 2007
36. Bottle of Blues (B. Hansen) - January 24, 2007
35. Ask Somebody (Getzschman) - January 17, 2007
34. All Time High Score (Getzschman) - January 10, 2007
33. Bury Me In My Jetpack (Getzschman) - January 3, 2007
32. Eggnogg Is The Liquor Of This Household (Getzschman) - December 27, 2006
31. Like Spinning Plates (T.Yorke/J.Greenwood) - December 20, 2006
30. Jack or Jesus (Getzschman/Peterson) - December 13, 2006
29. Runes (Getzschman) - December 6, 2006
28. We Leave Just Like We Come (Getzschman) - November 29, 2006
27. Shampoo! (Getzschman) - November 22, 2006
26. Tomorrow Is A Long Time (Dylan) - November 15, 2006
25. Was That Seriously Your Plan? (Getzschman) - November 8, 2006
24. Understated Explosions (Getzschman) - November 1, 2006
23. Everything Sounds Better On Vinyl (Getzschman) - October 25, 2006
22. Take Heart (Getzschman) - October 18, 2006
21. Pigs (L. Freese, S. Reyes, L. Muggerud) - October 11, 2006
20. Upstart Casualties (Getzschman) - October 4, 2006
19. Troubling (Getzschman) - Sept 27, 2006
18. Tales of Woe (Getzschman/Getzschman/Booth) - Sept 20, 2006
17. Manual Labor Pains (Getzschman) - Sept 13, 2006
16. The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (Gibbard/Tamborello) - September 6, 2006
15. Postmodern Burlesque Review (Getzschman) - August 30, 2006
14. Neverending Love Affair (Getzschman) - August 23, 2006
13. Living On Credit (Getzschman) - August 16, 2006
12. Broke As A Muhfuh (Getzschman) - August 9, 20006
11. Josie (Becker/Fagan) - August 2, 2006
10. Cold Day at the Races (Getzschman) - July 26, 2006
9. Calaveras (Getzschman) - July 19, 2006
8. Narcissist Blues (Getzschman) - July 12, 2006
7. Advice to a Young Jedi (Getzschman) - July 5, 2006
6. God Only Knows (Wilson/Asher) - June 28, 2006
5. Miracle Hubcap (Getzschman) - June 21, 2006
4. A Paycheck Is All I Ask (Getzschman) - June 14, 2006
3. Halfway (Getzschman) - June 7, 2006
2. Summer Crazy (Getzschman) - May 31, 2006
1. Sunday Street (Van Ronk) - May 26, 2006

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