Outdated Al Lyrics

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Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby anthontherun » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:08 am

I was listening to "I Can't Watch This" tonight and something kind of hit me--for a 21-year-old song about TV shows, it's remained remarkably relevant. Yes, many of the shows referenced are canceled, but most of them are iconic enough that they still make sense. (The Arsenio reference is probably the biggest exception; I can't imagine anyone under 20 really knowing who "the guy with the real flat hair that goes 'woof woof woof' and waves his fist in the air" is.)

However, there is one line in there where the song really shows its age: "I hooked up 80 channels and each one stunk." Nowadays, 80 channels is a tiny fraction of available networks.

So I'm wondering if there are some other examples like this. I'm not talking about "He referenced Are You Hot? and that show is canceled," or "Charles and Diana got divorced and she died" sort of stuff. Just general changes in culture, technology, life in general.

A few off the top of my head:

Couch Potato - "I was planning to record The Sopranos, I forgot." In the DVR age, setting up a series recording would eliminate this problem.

Phony Calls - The whole concept of the song is probably foreign to kids nowadays, with caller ID and cell phones being so common. But the line "Only dial the seven-digit numbers you're used to" stands out--it wasn't very long after BHD came out that area codes became a standard part of dialing, even for local calls.
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby Big Spoon » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:29 am

Don't Download This Song - While downloading music and videos is still a thing, the song feels outdated in some respects. For one, when Al mentions the list of file sharing sites, several of them have been shut down. It also just isn't that big of a deal anymore.

It's All About The Pentiums - A lot of the technology he mentions feels very dated. And the line referencing Y2K. I don't know, while I still really enjoy this parody, so much of the lyrics feels very old.

Headline News - Singing about three news events from 1994. I really don't have much else to say.

I Lost On Jeopardy - While not dated in some respects, it always sticks out to me how the song is about the previous incarnation of Jeopardy, and the changes that have happened to it since then.

Cable TV - Similar to Anth's comment about I Can't Watch This. Cable TV is far from the most extravagant way to watch anymore. And (like I Can't Watch This), says there are "83 channels of ecstasy")
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby Killingsworth » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:20 am

Buy Me A Condo/I'll Be Mellow When I'm Dead - I'm sure the high class rich yuppie lifestyle has changed so much in 30 years that some references in this song may feel quite dated, but not necessarily affecting the basic premise of the song.

Why Does This Always Happen To Me? - "Why'd they have to interrupt The Simpsons just for this?/What a drag 'cause I was taping it and everything/and now I'll have to wait for the rerun to see the part of the show I missed." With the mainstream prominence of streaming sites and services like Hulu and Netflix, one could easily catch up on a show later or see the part they missed when the earthquake report came on without having to wait for the network to rerun that particular episode. Plus, they eliminate most of the need for taping and DVRing in some ways. Also, even in 2003 the "taping" line must've felt a little dated. It seems odd that Al would include this on the same album where the lead single references Tivo right in the lyrics. Then again, he mentioned in an interview that he started writing this before 9/11, years before 8 Mile was a hit and I'm sure Al didn't even think about this until after both songs were recorded.

Also, I think the thing that makes I can't Watch This age so well is that both the song and the shows mentioned are so heavily identified with the era and pop culture of the early '90s (the parts that lasted anyway) that people really just see it as sort of a time capsule of that decade. I wish I could say the same for "Couch Potato" and the TV and culture of 02-03, but a lot of that was from an era where it's all pretty disposable.
Life is a bowl of three-legged salamanders swimming around in an infinite ocean of strawberry jello...
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby Teh Dingo » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:11 pm

King of Suede I miss arcades :(

White & Nerdy What the hell is a MySpace??? :blink: :P
in a complicated song does it look like al has no head
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby Kevbo1987 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:58 pm

Velvet Elvis: First of all, who goes to swap meets? Secondly, what the hell is a velvet Elvis anyway?
Oh by the way, I've cracked the code.
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby Diva » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:31 pm

Kevbo1987 wrote:Velvet Elvis: First of all, who goes to swap meets? Secondly, what the hell is a velvet Elvis anyway?


People who are looking for less expensive antique furniture or furniture to refurbish still go to swap meets, as do mixed media/found object artists and jewelers. The Rose Bowl swap meet in Pasadena is huge, and there is a very active swap meet monthly at Veterans' Stadium in Long Beach.

"Velvet Elvis" refers to a genre of painting where black velvet is used as the canvas. It is generally considered déclassé although hanging one as a sign of ironic hipness could work.

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Esteemed art critic of the déclassé 8)
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby Teh Dingo » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:37 am

These days Velvet Elvis would be finding a Velvet Kanye at a thrift shop :rolleyes:

Damn kids, get off my lawn!
in a complicated song does it look like al has no head
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby joseyklein » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:25 pm

Twister... as a whole, very outdated.

One would normally see kids too busy with their cellphones to know or even care what good old fashioned family entertainment is!!

Hot Rocks Polka... i might catch crap for this one, but, to quote the kid next door to me.. "What is a Rolling Stone?"
...our neighbors septic tank was the closest thing we had..
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby Big Spoon » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:48 pm

How is Twister outdated? The game is still fairly popular and ads for it still run on TV quite a bit.
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Re: Outdated Al Lyrics

Postby anthontherun » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:17 pm

Big Spoon wrote:I Lost On Jeopardy - While not dated in some respects, it always sticks out to me how the song is about the previous incarnation of Jeopardy, and the changes that have happened to it since then.


This is one I've always been curious about. Did Al just luck out on the timing that the Jeopardy! revival was premiering around the same time the song came out? Because if it was intentionally designed to complement the new version of the show, why reference Art Fleming and design the video around the 60s version?

I'm almost positive I've read Al comment about this somewhere but it's not in the Ask Al archive and I'm too lazy to get out my copy of Permanent Record to check the booklet.
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