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The Hella Good Exception

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Bubbler, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Yay! Another self-indulgent SJ thread about listing songs you like! Put a fucking piston in my brain!

    I know, I know we've had enough of this, but the Hella Good Exception is real. Allow me to explain.

    A few weekends ago I went to my sister's house for a baptism, and as is my wont, I started ripping music like my life depended on it. With iTunes, it's better than ever to raid your family and friends' music collections.

    I burned three discs to put in my own iTunes to sync with my iPod. Among the songs I ripped was No Doubt's Hella Good, a hit from 2003 I think. It was popular right about the time I really started tuning out terrestrial pop radio for good.

    I've always loved that song. Loved it. I could listen to it over and over. The thing is I can't explain why. There is nothing about that song that fits in with my general music world view. Nothing. I generally don't like dance songs, yet, it is probably the only modern song (read: non-disco) of the 1,500-plus songs in my iTunes that is unquestionably a dance song. I can't figure it out.

    Let's break it down. Hella Good is a funk-electro-dance tune. The lyrics are straightforward, Gwen Stefani is horny. Dance is a metaphor for fucking. Simple.

    That's all well and good, but what the hell am I identifying with in that song?

    I am not female, I will never be a horny female. I will never know the feeling of, "the waves keep crashing on me for some reason" as the song says.

    I will never feel the pull of dancing my way past the point where my animal-like hunger for sex that can only be satisfied be satisfied by the next dude with an borderline, acceptable-sized cock, some Axe body spray and a crotch rocket. I will never know the primal ritual of bumping-and-grinding my twang into a moist, luscious cauldron of physical lust.

    Even if I eschewed the sexual metaphors and focused simply on the dance aspects of the song, I strike out there too. I am, without hesitation, the whitest, least rhythmic, motherfucker to ever walk the Earth. I don't even want to hear it from the rest of whiteboy, horrible diet, too much beer, smoke and drug SJ nation. I ... am ... worse ... than ... all ... of ... you.

    I cannot overestimate the scope of my rhythmic fail. Forget my Irish-German stock, people of Scandinavian blood, including Lapps, who so far as I can tell, ride reindeer all day, rightfully mock my rhythm skillz.

    No wonder my breakdancing troupe got nowhere in the mid 80s. The few times in my life I've actually danced in a club definitely count as the most humiliating experiences of my life.

    The only term for my dancing is statuesque. I plant my feet on the floor and I'm like Heavy Foot from Kids In The Hall. Don't even ask what I do with my arms and shoulders. I probably try to overcompensate for the Jupiter's gravitational pull torpor in my lower body by appearing as I'm having a seizure while doing The Robot in my upper extremities. I'm all lock and no pop.

    My club dancing can, and should, be used as contraception in overpopulated parts of the globe. In addition to my horrifying dearth of dance moves, one look at my face would be enough.

    As I dance, I am the poster boy for the, "Am I doing this right? Do I look hot? No, there's no way I look hot, how do I cut my losses and get the fuck out of here? I am emasculation personified! Christ almighty! Move, feet, move!" look of horror.

    My visage alone would be better than a Trojan with a vasectomy chaser for any, say, Albanian couple thinking of conceiving their sixth child to put coitus on blast.

    Then there's No Doubt itself. I can't stand No Doubt. From their jerk-off rise to power in the brief ska revival of the mid-to-late 90s, to their jerk-off ballad phase with Don't Speak, to their jerk-off dance-oriented turn after that, I've never been a fan at all.

    Stefani has never done much for me as a singer or in attractiveness. Projecting Stefani into the sexual innuendo of the song can't be it, because I suspect Stefani's been around the block to the point where her vagina resembles the mouth of the alien in Alien. Plus, she had that phase where she dressed like her life's ambition was to blow Jay Z in the back of a Lexus for a low-rent Girls Gone Wild video. No thanks.

    So I don't get it. Why do I like this song so much? I guess it does sound like Prince (funk guitar) by way of Human League (heavy, early 80s-style synths). Maybe it just is the innuendo.

    All I know is the Hella Good Exception is real: a song you shouldn't otherwise like or identify with by a band you don't like or identify with. Anyone else have one?
  2. pallister

    pallister Guest

    You can be anything you want, Bubs.
  3. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    You're wrong about No Doubt, by the way. One of the better bands of the 1990s. Not many acts can successfully churn out hits while transitioning from ska-punk to pop ballad to reggae-dancehall, writing their own songs the entire way.

    And wrong about Stefani, too, who despite being in rock 'n' roll has been dating/married to the same guy for the last 12 years. Now Gwen's even bigger than the band ever was, doing the teeny-bop thing (which I can't stand, but gotta give her credit for it.)

    Yes, I know too much about this band. So sue me.
  4. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    You might have more success with this thread if the question at the bottom is more prominent.
  5. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I'm never ashamed to pull out Tragic Kingdom from my record collection. Stefani was the first female vocalist I dug. I've been enamored with punk and ska since the mid-90s, and generally it's been the Less Than Jakes, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Mad Caddies of the genre that gets me. But No Doubt captured my interest, and it wasn't because of the sex appeal; while I find Gwen to be a knock-out and always have, I only saw that as a bonus. The beats got me, and so did the guitar, and so did the musical arrangements, and do did Stefani's voice. Everything blended perfectly.

    If you've never heard them cover Sublime's "Total Hate," you're missing out. Same with Sublime's "Saw Red"; she lends her voice on the track for a duet with Bradley. It's awesome.

    I stopped listening to No Doubt when "Return of Saturn" was released. I bought it for my ex-girlfriend, and I didn't find the same attraction. Then her music, in my opinion, has gone straight down the toilet.

    But Tragic Kingdom will always be great.
  6. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    "Total Hate '95" is a No Doubt song, actually. Bradley Nowell made an appearance on it, to return the favor after Gwen appeared on Sublime's song "Saw Red." They both came up in the same O.C. punk-ska scene, and the bandmates were all good friends. No Doubt, at the peak of its popularity, came home to help organize (and headline) the benefit concert after Nowell's death in '96.

    "TH95" was on "Beacon Street Collection" (IMO, the best of all the No Doubt albums.)

    Here's ND doing "Total Hate" live in '95 -- complete with cameo from a very fucked-up Bradley Nowell (and Lou Dog!):
  7. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Good call, Buck. My fault. It's still a great tune. My favorite part isn't even the vocals -- it's the trombone solo.
  8. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    And just to continue the ND threadjack (can it really be a threadjack if the thread is about a ND song in the first place?):

    For some great old-school ND ska, check out their cover of the Vandals' "Oi to the World":

    A bindi-ed Gwen at her hottest, in a cutoff wife-beater. :eek:

    EDIT: Never mind. This is Gwen at her hottest, jumping up and down for 6 minutes in a halter top and swearing all over the place:
  9. Barsuk

    Barsuk Active Member

    My personal example of the so-called "Hella Good Exception" is Nickelback's "Rockstar." I hate, hate, hate Nickelback. Think they blow mangy goats. But I can't help but stop and sing along when I come across that song on the radio dial.

    No reason for it, really. I'm not into corporate rock, or whatever they're calling that type of music these days, and my "rockstar" days are WAY behind me. The hardest thing I drink these days is a cup of Folgers Black Silk. I can't remember the last time I smoked something, anything. And even before my wife had my balls in her purse, I wasn't a ladies man, by any means.

    So that's my evidence for the Hella Good Exception. Wanna go out dancing, Bubbs?

    EDITED to reflect the facts that I once had balls and don't carry a purse. 8)
  10. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    I would pay a separate subscription fee for the Bubbler Board. Yet another classic post. And Bubbler, I can say without fear of contradiction that no matter how bad a dancer you are, I'm worse.

    Anyway: Because I'm a country music fan, there are those who would say the Hella Good Exception should apply to about half my iTunes library. Whatever.

    I have some songs that definitely don't fit into the twang/dogs/pickup truck/mama/prison mold. I could call this the "Songs My Wife Makes Fun Of Me For" Playlist:

    -- "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks. A PMS anthem for somebody who never has PMS.
    -- "Heaven is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle. She was hot in 1987, and that song has a good memory attached to it. So f--- off.
    -- I'm with Barsuk on Nickelback. Hate them. Love that song.
  11. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    I'm with you on "Hella Good" and No Doubt, Bubbler. The song is insanely catchy, but No Doubt and Gwen Stefani make me want to put icepicks in my ears. Like most white, non-Caribbean ska bands, No Doubt is a bunch of self-congratulatory hacks (which is why "Hella Good" probably sounds good -- I don't think the actual band plays a note on it), their saving grace only that none of them wears a porkpie hat. Stefani is a Madonna imitator, no more, no less. My antipathy for her grew even stronger for two reasons. First, when my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter was born and had to stay in the nursery because of some early breathing problems (long since solved), it seemed like I heard "Hollaback Girl" 50 skidillion times on the radio there. This shit is not bananas, but is driving me such. Also, at our neighborhood pool last summer, it seemed like I heard "The Sweet Escape" 50 skidillion times on the radio, and "The Sweet Escape" makes "Hollaback Girl" sound as poignant and deep as "Tangled Up In Blue." What's worse, my now 5-year-old son kept singing the "woo-oo" parts all summer.

    To make even more enemies, my "Hella Good" exception is the Grateful Dead's "Box of Rain." I think the Dead works best as a sleep aid, though "American Beauty" is pretty solid throughout. But "Box of Rain" actually has some true emotion, and the band for once doesn't play like the 'ludes have kicked in. Plus, it was used to great effect in "Freaks and Geeks."
  12. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Longest. Delayed. Lede. Ever.

    I can't stand rap, but Wild Thing and Fight for Your Right would be the exceptions that Bubs speaks of somewhere in there.
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