28 December 2010

Lost in the Hyperbole

I will not be pushed, filed, stamped,
indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered.

— The character known only as № 6

The hyperbole is baked into a series of books . . . I mean to say, 1001 beers anyone must taste before he dies? 1001 foods you must taste before you die, including frogs’ legs, against which they point out there are punitive regulations to protect certain amphibians?

My latest favorite trumps any of these, with an even more absurd sub-title: 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: And 10,001 You Must Download. When anyone would have time to download all 10,001 — let alone listen to them — were a mystery to me.

Perusing the book was for me more of an exercise of finding out which songs (artists, really) didn’t make the (extremely liberal) cut.

So: not a single song by the Bonzo Dog band. For the sake of argument, let’s call the Bonzos too esoteric for such a book — although, really, I am of the ready opinion that “You Done My Brain In,” “Sport (The Odd Boy),” “Can Blue Men Sing the Whites,” “Tent” & “I’m Going to Bring a Watermelon to My Girl Tonight” are ready substitutes for five of the 1,001 which the book claims are must-hear songs ere we shuffle off this mortal coil.

But two main-streamlier bands entirely absent from the 1,001 are Chicago and Jethro Tull.

And, in the write-up for the one song by Frank Zappa which is included in the 1,001 (“Valley Girl”), the point is made that people weren’t buying a Frank Zappa song, but a novelty with Moon Unit doing a parody. An irony lost on the producers of the book.

1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die is not any book you need read while life and breath endure.

No comments: