Friday, August 22, 2008

Shutup in aisle five

I don't think I've mentioned here how much I hate Bob Seger. Mike blogged recently about the songs that trigger an autonomic push of the radio scan button, and for me, any Bob Seger song has the same effect. It's hard to link my response to any single thing about his music; I just think he is and always has been overrated, to continue a thread Jim started on his blog.

Because I don't often hear a Seger song all the way through, I was dismayed this morning when the usually ignorable background music at Kroger's started playing "Against The Wind."

Since I still had shopping to do and couldn't sprint for the self checkout, I had to endure this sentimental claptrap as I perused the bread aisle...but then, to add insult to injury, a guy in the next aisle over started singing along. Loudly, and quite emotionally.

Now, this guy had a decent tenor, and since one of the reasons I hate Bob Seger is that while I despise his songs, they always get stuck in my head, I figured: hey, maybe my fellow shopper thinks that singing the song while it plays will exorcise any urge to hum it later. But he really seemed into it, like this was a song that meant a lot to him thirty years ago when it was first released, and hearing it opened up some deep pocket of grief right there in housewares.

And I think that's what irritates me about Bob Seger: he's really just as mawkish and bombastic as Air Supply, but he has this kind of macho credibility that I don't get. And don't give me that "He's a great songwriter" bit. I mean, this is a man who wrote lyrics like "
She was a black-haired beauty with big dark eyes/And points all her own sitting way up high/Way up firm and high."

That has to be one of the yukkiest metaphors in all of pop music.

But if you must, here it is. You can even hold up your damn lighter if you want.

P. S. Jim, I know that in saying this I run the risk of subjecting Bob Seger to the Curse of the Overrated. But maybe that's just your superpower.


Jim said...

Yes, it's likely that Bog Seger will within the next day or two suffer a minor injury: maybe he'll trip over the sweeper in his apartment and twist his ankle, or bang his knuckles when the lug wrench slips as he's trying to change a tire. Way to go, Rosemary!

Because in my world, Bob Seger lives in an apartment.

Rose said...

Perhaps being forced to live in an apartment and to do his own vacuuming will *be* the particular way that Bob Seger is cursed by my blog.

Michael said...

1) I'm not a big Bob Seger fan, but I do like his big hits, and I love "Night Moves" despite the "points way up high" lyric. In fact, as melancholy as the song sounds, the lyrics are laughable, probably something Bob wrote when he was 14.

2) Still, the closing lyrics ("I awoke last night to the sound of thunder...") which you've probably never heard are memorable and evocative. Maybe it's a teenage boy thing.

3) Seger and Air Supply? You are one evil genius.

Rose said...

Mike, you hit it on the head when you called it "a teenage boy thing." Perhaps that's why his popularity has always been such a mystery to me.

So, if I have to accept your assessment of _Mama Mia" as a "chick flick," I'm going to have to label Bob Seger's songs as...what? How about "dudes' ditties"?

(You'll notice my careful avoidance of another "d" word that I might have used there instead, and perhaps more appropriately.)

ldoyle said...

Um, I used to play air guitar to the BS and the Silver Bullet Band. I was, like, 10 and living in the Motor City. Bob was mandatory listening--like Alex suffering Beethoven in Clockwork Orange. Dude ditties, indeed.

Tom said...

I was always a fan of "Get out of Denver" and I have to admit I had that song in my mind a few times a year or so ago.

But I'm surprised that Rosemary didn't mention how often Seger's songs seem to concern prostitutes: maybe that's where the supposed macho-cred comes from?

Rose said...

Air guitars, prostitutes: I rest my case.

Michael said...

OK, Tom, I guess I've missed the Seger/hooker connection. I can't think of one song of his about a hooker.

Tom said...


I guess I was thinking mostly about "The Fire Down Below," but it seems in the back of my mind like it runs through a bunch of his songs.

bob said...

But isn't Bob Seeger the Bruce Springsteen of the Midwest?

Rose said...

Yes, he is, and I grew up in Ohio in the 80s, so I well understand how traitorous these comments are.

And "Bob" (would that be the infamous "Bob Johnson," BTW?), there were lots of other local-acts-gone-national of that place and time that were much more appealing to me: Devo, The Pretenders, even John Mellencamp from the state to the west (which I believe you may be quite familiar with).

Bob said...

its Bob Jacobs. And don't forget Captain Beefheart.

Rose said...

I prefer "Cap'n" Beefheart, myself.