Really Dumb Songs That I Love, Exhibit A
While avoiding doing household chores the other night, I was flipping channels on the TV when I came across Country Music Television's "Crossroads". "Crossroads" pairs a rock act and a country act on the same stage doing each other's songs together. Past pair-ups have included Kenny Chesney - John Mellencamp and Bon Jovi - Sugarland, both of which were pretty good.
This night's edition had Taylor Swift onstage with Def Leppard, an odd pairing if there ever was one. Their performances came off pretty well, and it kept me from having to move boxes around the house, but the part that made an impression on me was getting to hear Def Leppard's Hysteria again, from the 1988 album of the same name. Here's the original song and video:
Good Lord, I enjoy listening to that song. What's odd is that most of my favorite songs - Springsteen's Thunder Road or Gordon Lightfoot's Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, for example - have great lyrics. Or least have something to say. Or anything at all to say. Hysteria's lyrics, on the other hand, are practically a waste of typing:
Out of touch, out of reach, yeah
You could try to get closer to me
I'm in love
I'm in deep, yeah
Hypnotized, I'm shakin' to my knees
I gotta know tonight, if you're alone tonight
Can't stop this feeling
Can't stop this fire
Oh, I get hysterical, hysteria, oh, can you feel it?
(oh can you feel it? )
Do you believe it?
(do you believe it? )
It's such a magical mysteria when you get that feelin'
(when you get that feelin)
Better start believin'
(better start believin' it's a)
cause it's a miracle, oh say you will
Hysteria when you're near
Out of me, into you yeah
You could hide, it's just a one way street
Oh, I believe I'm in you, yeah
Open wide, that's right!
Dream me off my feet
Oh, believe in me
(oh, can you feel it? )
(do you believe I get hysterical? )
(when you get that feelin')
You'd better believe it!
(better start believin')
cause it's a miracle, oh, say you will
Oh babe, say you will
(get closer to me)
Get closer baby
Closer to me
"Mysteria"? "Dream me off my feet"?
Now, I know this is not the dumbest song ever. Heck, it's not even the dumbest song on the Hysteria album: that title would go to the will-be-playing-in-Hell-for-all-eternity-should-I-go-there Pour Some Sugar On Me. But Heaven help me, I could listen to this song 10 times in a row and still want to hear it again.
Def Leppard stood out from similar '80's acts: their drummer losing an arm then having a special kit created for him so he could keep playing with the band; the fact that - unlike most 'pop metal' acts of their day - their albums got terrific reviews; that - also unlike most 'pop metal' acts of their day - girls that liked the band were not generally of the trashy / easier-than-a-People-magazine-crossword-puzzle variety.
Their videos for this song and another Hysteria track, Animal, broke from the '80's pop metal template of "performance + lots of slutty-looking chicks in halter tops". Their early '80's attempt at avoiding this template was hide-your-eyes awful. The above video and the Animal video were actually pretty well done and have a certain stylishness about them.