On the Eighth Day of Gheorghe-Mas, Big Gheorghe gave to me:
Eight Songs I'm Loathing . . . or should be loathing, but I'm loath to say that I'm actually liking them instead of loathing them . . .
Seven Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony
If you don't know the distinction between "loath" and "loathe," then you've come to the right place. First, I should tell you that I am a professional English teacher, and so you can trust my expertise. Second (and not nearly as important) is the fact that I learned the difference between these two words several weeks ago. This should have no bearing on my counsel. Actually, you should be pleased and impressed that I am willing to admit that I did NOT know the distinction between "loath" and "loathe" until recently . . . because I could have arrogantly and pedantically pretended that I knew the correct usage all along. I could have made you feel inferior, but I'm not that kind of guy. Il vaut mieux s'adresser à Dieu qu'à ses saints, as they say. You know what I mean.
So now you trust me. Unless I simply pretended not to know the distinction to gain your trust. You'll never know, but it's better to trust me, because I am going to make a confession. A true confession (unlike the confessions that asshole James Frey made in A Million Little Pieces).
The difference between "loath" and "loathe" is this: loath means reluctant. It is an adjective. For example, I am loath to admit that I cried at the end of Snoopy Come Home. Loathe is a verb, and it means, of course, to hate, to abhor. As in, I loathe giblets.
So what happens when you put these words together in the same sentence? You get a list of songs that I am loath to admit that I do not loathe. In other words, these are songs that by all rights I should hate, but yet I don't hate them. If they come on the radio, in theory, I should shut them off, but I don't. Instead, I turn them up. I listen to them, instead of loathing them as I should.
I should be loath to admit this to the entire internet, but I want to set the record straight (both on the songs and how to use "loath" and "loathe" properly).
The Number One Song I Am Loath To Admit I Do Not Loathe is The Eagle's Hotel California.
I try to agree with Jeff Lebowski on all matters, especially his hatred of The Fucking Eagles. Why should you hate The Fucking Eagles, man? Read this article to find out. But despite Ron Hart's ten cogently argued points, I do not loathe "Hotel California." In fact, if I hear it on the radio, I tell my children to listen carefully, and then I turn it up. God knows why, but I think this is a song with which they should be familiar. I even learned the chords on the guitar so I could sing it for them (and in a delusional state, I looked up the tab for the solo, but that shit is way too hard). Last night at the bar, when this song came on, I ceased conversing for a while and listened. Seriously.
The lyrics are a bit cryptic, and so I went to Snopes to learn exactly what they mean . . . and, unfortunately, they don't mean very much. The Hotel California is not an inn run by cannibals or a mental hospital or the place where the Satanic Bible was written. The figure on the balcony is not a ghost or Anton LaVey-- it's the janitor. The song is not a swipe at Steely Dan. If any of these things were true, I would like The Eagles more. Apparently, the song is "an allegory about hedonism and greed in Southern California in the 1970's." Pretty boring stuff . . . perhaps the song is just one of those lucky accidents, a far greater work of art than The Fucking Eagles intended.
The Second Song I Am Loath To Admit I Do Not Loathe is Believe by Cher.
Something about the Cher-effect (Cher's voice is altered by a pitch correction speed that is "set too fast for the audio that it is processing" by using extreme settings on Antares Auto-Tune software) captured my imagination, and-- though this song is really cheesy-- the chorus still sticks with me. Maybe this because of all the Ween pitch-shifting absurdity I listened to in my twenties.
Three: Ninety-Nine LuftBallons by Nena.
This song infected my brain when I was very young (13) and I've never been able to remove it. I like the tempo changes and I even like the part that goes: "Bomp a domp bom bum waba wump."
Four: Closing Time by Semisonic.
I thought I loathed this song until I read this insightful essay about it on Grantland, and now I am loath to admit that I don't loathe it any longer.
Five: Boys of Summer by Don Henley
Holy shit! Revelation! I've been full of self-loathing because I don't loathe this song by Don Henley-- even though Igor and I have a close source who revealed that Don Henley is a giant douche-- and now I know why! While doing research for this post, I found out that the song was co-written by Mike Campbell-- the long time guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. And I LOVE Mike Campbell, and I'm not loath to admit it! So it makes a lot more sense why I find this song both haunting and catchy, and now I'm not full of self-loathing about it. Nice work, Mike!
Six: Mr. Jones by Counting Crows
I loathe the name "Counting Crows." I also loathe all the "sha la la la" crap and the shit about the meaningful colors and the gray guitar. So the question is: why do I know all the lyrics to this ballstain of a song?
Seven and Eight: I Will Always Love You and Nothing Compares 2 U
Some confusion on my part here. These songs are both fun to sing in the shower (or in my Jeep when the stereo is broken). Somehow along the way, in my screwed up head, I combined these two songs into one. One song with a super-long mega chorus that goes: ""I ah-ah-ah-ah will always loooove you-oooh because nothing compares, nothing compares to you-ooh." I pretty much forgot that they were separate songs by different artists.
Coincidentally, they share a similar, mirror-like history. "I Will Always Love You" was written by Dolly Parton-- who is really white-- and made famous by Whitney Houston, who is not white. "Nothing Compares 2 U' was written by Prince, who is not white, but made famous by Sinead O'Connor, who is really white. Pretty cool, right? Try singing the mega-chorus in the shower, it's fun.
I hope this fosters some discussion of songs you are loath to admit you do not loathe, and I hope everyone can now properly use these two oft-confused words. Merry Gheorghe-mas . . . I have given you the gift of knowledge.