Today’s Random Song in My Head, “99.9F”…Suzanne Vega’s Revenge

The other day I was at the Music or Space Shuttle? headquarters or “Launch Pad” as our MoSS? staffers often call it. I had a bit of blog writer’s block so I responded to the hundreds of comments we get on our posts. A few hours and several witty comebacks later, I noticed a package sitting on my desk under a pile of discarded MoSS? mix tapes. It was addressed to:

MoSS? Todd
Peggy Whitson Business Park
Suite 321
Lisbon, Iowa 52253

I was intrigued. Rarely do we have actual mail arrive at our HQ and very few people know the address of said secret lair. (Not so secret anymore I guess) Inside was a dusty old VHS tape simply labeled “99.9F°”. This not being the year 1989, MoSS? HQ didn’t have a VCR to play the tape. So I shrugged my shoulders, tossed it into the trash and continued on with my mindless internet surfing.

As I carried on with my “work”, my mind kept coming back to the tape. I started thinking about the cryptic title, 99.9F°, and what it could mean. Eventually, my curiosity got the better of me and I dug the tape out of the trash. Where could I get a VCR in this day and age? Then I remembered that one of our neighbors at the business park was Ted’s Technology Barn. I always felt bad for old Ted. He doesn’t get a lot of customers anymore. People walk by his store all day long but rarely go in. With each potential customer he looks up with eyes full of hope. His excitement turns to disappointment time and time again as customers pass him by.

VCRIn the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, his store was at its most successful. This was the heyday of the video cassette tape. He thought the good times would never end and spent his entire life savings on an enormous shipment of VCRs. Business Park Legend has it that the day after he bought the shipment, the DVD player was unveiled. Within months his sales started declining. Having spent all his money on VCRs he couldn’t stock his shelves with the DVD players that the public demanded. He gambled on analog technology and lost. At least he took a shot. Since then, he has struggled as an electronics dealer, always seeming to have the wrong products.

I went next door and asked if he still had a VCR. He giggled hysterically and pointed towards the back of the store. Most of Ted’s store is like a museum for outdated gadgets. The shelves are lined with Apple Newtons, Microsoft Zunes, Rio MP3 players, Nokia cell phones, and Sega Dreamcasts all in their boxes waiting to be sold. He steered me towards the back room where he still had dozens of VCRs stacked on pallets. I asked Ted if I could borrow one of his VCRs but he wouldn’t let me. I had to purchase one. The price was one for $1000 or (as luck would have it) there was a sale on VCRs that day, ten for $1. I guess Ted was trying to clear out some inventory. I didn’t want one VCR, let alone ten VCRs, but had to know what was on that tape. So, I gave Ted four quarters and went back to the office with ten VCRs in tow. I blew the dust off of one and hooked it up to the break room TV. This is what I saw.

At first I thought,” She’s back! That evil pixie Suzanne Vega is trying to make another attempt on my life.” In earlier posts, we learned that Suzanne Vega was using her awful music as mind control to take over the world. She struck first with the song “Tom’s Diner”. I was able to stop her on my own that time but needed the help of shit rockers Third Eye Blind when she struck again with her song “Luka. After all that, I thought we had seen the last of Suzanne Vega. I was wrong. She must have mailed me this tape before our last showdown as a last ditch attempt to take me down.

Suzanne Vega 99.9FI went to turn the tape off before the song could get stuck in my head. That’s when I noticed something different about this video, Suzanne Vega looked kinda sexy. I couldn’t turn it off. The song had a really nice groove to it and everyone knows that I have very little will power when it comes to alluring brunette women. Pretty soon I was actually enjoying the song. “How could this be happening? Is Suzanne Vega’s music good? What if other artists that I had labeled as awful are actually good? Everything I’ve ever listened to is now suspect. Dear God…is Don Henley good too? No… It can’t be. What have I become?!!”

Soon, I collapsed to the floor as the 99.9F° lyrics were swimming through my head.

Pale as a candle
And your face is hot
And if I touch you
I might get what you’ve got
You seem like a man
On the verge of burnin’
99.9 Fahrenheit degrees 

My head felt like it was on fire and I was certain I was dying. She hooked me in again knowing I couldn’t resist her sexy song stylings. I had to stop the tape or the fever would kill me. As I reached for the player, the 20 year old stop button broke of in my hand. Damn you Ted! The song continued…

You seem like a man
On the verge of burnin’
99.9 Fahrenheit degrees

With no way to stop the video, I gave into the song and thought,” You’ve finally defeated me Suzanne Vega. Well played you dirty bitch.” I lay down on the floor as the life drained from my body. By the song’s last chorus, I was ready to accept cool cool death.

You seem like a man
On the verge of burnin’
99.9 Fahrenheit degrees

As my last few breaths were about to leave my body, I heard music far off in the distance. It was the song “Terminally Chill” by one of my favorite chillwave bands, Neon Indian.

I thought that I was hallucinating but felt thankful. If I had to die, at least the last thing I heard wouldn’t be a Suzanne Vega song. Neon Indian’s chillwaves continued to fill the room and I began to feel better. Soon my fever broke and I became aware of my surroundings. The music was actually my cell’s ringtone. I picked up the phone. It was Ted from next door.

Ted: “Hey, thanks taking those VCRs off my hands. “I have like thirty copies of Big Trouble in Little China on tape back in the storeroom. How aboutbig trouble in little china I bring one over after I close up shop?”

Normally, I wouldn’t want to hang with Ted (he’s kind of a downer) but I felt like I owed him one. If he hadn’t called me when he did, I wouldn’t be alive to tell this tale.

Me: “Bring beer too”

So what’s the moral to this story?

To (sort of) quote the character Jack Burton from the aforementioned awesome ‘80s movie:

“When some wild-eyed, five foot tall musician chick grabs your ear, sticks a song in your favorite head until you want to die, and she looks you crooked in the eye and she asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that bitch right back in the eye, and you remember what ol’ MoSS? Todd always says at a time like that:

“Have ya paid your dues, Todd?”

“Yes ma’am, the check is in the mail.”

Today’s Random Song in My Head, “Brimful of Asha”

songstuckinmyhead1Today was a nice easy day at work. No stress. No deadlines. I even got off a little early. It would have been the perfect day if I hadn’t heard “Brimful of Asha”, by obscure ’90s alt-rockers Cornershop, while driving to the office this morning. Curse you satellite radio! If you don’t remember that little ear worm, check it out below.

I had that song in my head for the better part of the morning. I always wondered what it supposed to be about so I did about 30 seconds of research on Wiki. Here is the gist: “Brimful of Asha”  is about a singer from India named Asha Bhosle. She sang about a billion of the songs featured in Bollywood musicals and was never on camera because they have the Indian movie stars lip-synch. Apparently, no one in India seems to mind lip-synching. (Maybe Beyonce should look into the Indian culture. She’d feel right at home.)

So there you have it. Mystery solved… I guess. Who fucking cares really?

The line that gets stuck in my head the most is in the weird bridge part.

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
everybody needs a bosom

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
everybody needs a bosom

Nice sentiment but not really that practical. Not unless you have one of these bad boys. It’s the perfect Valentines gift for that special someone.

Bosom for a pillow Bosom for a pillow

Today’s Random Song in My Head, “Luka”

Listen, and understand! She’s out there! Suzanne Vega doesn’t feel pain. She can’t be bargained with. She can’t be reasoned with. She doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And she absolutely will not stop, ever, until I’m dead!

That’s right. She’s back with another act of musical devastation. Last time, I barely got out alive but managed to foil her plan for world domination. I thought that we were safe. I was wrong.

Here’s how it all happened:

I was again minding business listening to the radio when the Susanne Vega song “Luka” started playing. With what happened last time, I was obviously concerned. But nothing evil transpired…at first. A few hours later, I caught myself humming “Luka.” Then I thought, “She can’t be that bad a lady. She wrote a song calling attention to the terrible problem of domestic and child abuse.” That’s when she had me.

Suddenly, I lost all control of my body. The “Luka” lyrics that were in my head changed. I walked like a zombie until I came to a tall building. The song told me to take the stairs to the second floor. Then, I started singing the alternate “Luka” lyrics.

My name is Toddie
I’m jumping from the second floor
If I’m upstairs from you
You may see me fly by your door
If the impact gives you a fright
Don’t you worry cause it’s alright
Just leave me bleeding on the floor
Just leave me bleeding on the floor
Just leave me bleeding on the floor

I stepped to the ledge and was about to jump when I heard singing from behind me…

I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend
You could cut ties with all the lies, that you’ve been living in,
And if you do not want to see me again, I would understand

I awoke from my stupor and turned around. The lead singer from the late ‘90s post-grunge rock group Third Eye Blind, was standing there beckoning me off the ledge. I was saved by another shitty song calling attention to a terrible social issue, this time “Jumper” which deals with teen suicide. Naturally, I had some questions. The story gets a little confusing what with the space-time paradox thing, but stick with me here.

Me: Third Eye Blind Guy? What are you doing here?

SJ: Yes. It is I, Stephan Jenkins. I was sent here from the future to stop the evil Suzanne Vega. You must live to keep blogging about new good music. In the future, Music or Space Shuttle? has successfully rid the world of shitty music. Suzanne Vega and musicians like her have been banished. They play music for no one. She and Michael Bolton started a rebellion and have been sending subliminal messages hidden in her music to destroy you.

Me: Cooooool. Hey, wait. Why are you here? Third Eye Blind sucks too.

SJ: Yes, but unlike Suzanne Vega, we know that we suck. That’s what gives us our power.  I volunteered to come here and save you from her madness. I also wanted to apologize for our songs ever getting stuck in your head.

Me: You are forgiven. Boy, you guys really sucked.

At that moment, I heard a tremendous screeching voice. “You must jump from the second floor!!!!” It was Susanne Vega. But not the version I remembered from the past. She had lost all of her pixie-like good looks from the ‘80s, and now resembled some sort of she-beast. “Die Blogger!!!” she screamed, as she picked up her guitar and started playing a mash-up of “Luka” and “Tom’s Diner.”

The maniacal medley compelled me to jump. I had one foot over the ledge when Third Eye Blind Guy overpowered her with his own song “Semi-Charmed Life.” That distortion filled suckfest of a song was too much for Suzanne Vega.

I want something else
To get me through this
Semi-charmed kind of life
Baby, baby
I want something else
I’m not listening when you say

Her head exploded as the vocals during the line “Goodbye…” hit their high pitched peak.

Me: Wow. That was crazy! Thanks Third Eye Blind Guy.

SJ: Yeah, my name is Stephan Jenkins. No problem. I have to leave now. Your MoSS? brother is in danger. Michael Bolton has disguised himself as Robert Smith from The Cure in a dastardly plot to dispose of Chris.

Me: That devious bastard! Go Third Eye Blind Guy. Go save my friend.

SJ: My name is Stephan Jenkins.

Me: Yeah, Whatever.

That is exactly how it all went down. Not a word a lie.

Today’s Random Song in My Head, “Tom’s Diner”

We need to wake up people! There is an ongoing act of musical terrorism continually being perpetrated right under our noses. We have to fight. That’s right! Suzanne Vega must be stopped!

I may sound paranoid here, but I’ll take that chance. I have to spread the word. Suzanne Vega is using the song “Tom’s Diner” as a form of mind control to take over the world. The song sweetly tickles your ear for awhile until it suddenly violently burrows its way permanently into your brain. That’s where things get weird.

It happened to me, it’s still a little hazy, but I do remember a few things. I was minding my own business the other day when I hear the familiar early ‘90s era song come over the radio. Innocently enough at first, the “Doo doo doo doo, doo da-doo doo” of “Tom’s Diner” came floating out of the speakers. That’s how she does it. She catches you off guard and lulls you into submission. Then I remember the doo doo doo doo part changing. Soon, I was overcome. All I heard was kill ki-kill kill, and the song lyrics changed.
Kill Kill Kill Kill
Kill Ki-Kill Kill
Kill Kill Kill Kill
Kill Ki-Kill Kill
Everyone Is
Now Against You
And You Must Not
Let Them See You
Find An Object
To Destroy Them
And Start Killing
At Your Leisure

The rhyming scheme wasn’t perfect, but it was still very convincing. I was wandering around in a trance-like state singing that death mantra. I awoke just as I was about to bury a sharpened lawn blade into a man’s head à la Sling Blade. He had his hands up and was screaming “Don’t kill me. I love Suzanne Vega!!!” Apparently, back in the early ‘90s, he was an original member of the “Vega Army.” He got out before things got crazy with the whole world domination thing. He knew that the only way to break the death trance was to say the phrase “I love Suzanne Vega.” I suggest we all teach that phrase to our friends and loved ones. It could be the only thing that saves you the next time you hear “Tom’s Diner.”

Here is the “Tom’s Diner” video. Watch if you dare.

Today’s Random Song in My Head, “Debra”

I was at work today discussing a project with a customer. After we were done, I said “Well I think I know what to do from here. I’ll get with you later and go over what I found.” From that point on,  the Beck song “Debra” was in my head. If you’re familiar with “Debra”, then you know the chorus of the song is basically him singing “I want to get with you.” Not exactly what I said to the customer, but close enough for my crazy brain to connect the dots to Beck.

I’m not complaining. I love the song and the whole Midnight Vultures album. Beck must have been going through a real Prince phase during the recording of that record. Many of the songs have a Prince-ish sound, but “Debra” is essentially a Prince imitation from start to finish. It’s a slow jam in the vein of “The Purple One’s” falsetto-filled masterpiece “Adore”.  Although, this song has a bit of a twist. It starts out innocently enough, he meets a girl named Jenny at a department store.

I met you at JC Penny
I think your name tag said “Jenny
I cold step to you
With a fresh pack of gum
Somehow I knew you were lookin’ for some
(oh no!)

You might be thinking, “Hey, isn’t the name of the song “Debra”? Why did he meet a girl named Jenny? What’s going on! I’m confused!”  Calm down, we’ll soon find out.  The rest of the song is filled with more not so subtle innuendo about how he wants to “Get with her.”  Well, not just her, as the chorus informs us.

I wanna get with you (Oh girl)
And your sister
I think her name is Debra

That’s right. Beck wants to have a threesome. Boldly, he chose to attempt the most difficult ménage à 3 to pull off…a sister sandwich with Jenny and her sister Debra. Good luck Beck Hansen. You’ll need it.

Today’s Random Song in My Head, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”

I don’t really have anything clever to say about today’s song stuck in my head. I heard it on the radio the other day and have been singing it ever since. Never been a big Das Racist fan but I do like some of  Heems’ solo work. At first, I though it was terrible. It’s the same thing over and over. Two dopy guys getting food at a combination fast food restaurant. One getting food at the Pizza Hut side and one getting food at the Taco Bell side. So stupid. So repetitive. So genius? Yes, after three days of having this song in my head I have decided that it is genius. Love it. Listen to it several times a day. My wife hates it and me as a result. What do I care? I’m off to buy a personal pan pepperoni pizza with a side order of nachos supreme. I’m at the Pizza Hut. I’m at the Taco Bell. I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.