Aug. 11th, 2010

Day 2

Aug. 11th, 2010 03:55 am
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Day 01. Your favorite song - Peg, Steely Dan
Day 02. Your least favorite song - Takin' Care of Business, Bachman Turner Overdrive
Day 03. A song that makes you happy
Day 04. A song that makes you sad
Day 05. A song that reminds you of someone
Day 06. A song that reminds you of somewhere
Day 07. A song that reminds you of a certain event
Day 08. A song that you know all the words to
Day 09. A song that you can dance to
Day 10. A song that makes you fall asleep
Day 11. A song from your favorite band
Day 12. A song from a band you hate
Day 13. A song that is a guilty pleasure
Day 14. A song that no one would expect you to love
Day 15. A song that describes you
Day 16. A song that you used to love but now hate
Day 17. A song that you hear often on the radio
Day 18. A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Day 19. A song from your favorite album
Day 20. A song that you listen to when you’re angry
Day 21. A song that you listen to when you’re happy
Day 22. A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Day 23. A song that you want to play at your wedding
Day 24. A song that you want to play at your funeral
Day 25. A song that makes you laugh
Day 26. A song that you can play on an instrument
Day 27. A song that you wish you could play
Day 28. A song that makes you feel guilty
Day 29. A song from your childhood
Day 30. Your favorite song at this time last year

My problems with Takin' Care of Business are manifold, but they all stem from its brainlessness.

Musically, it's Bullwinkle. No thought went into it. I do not mean to suggest that simple or effortless do not have their places in music, but brainless— even in Ye Olde Goode Tyme Rocking and Rollinge— does not. There are no musical ideas here. George Thorogood had musical ideas. Bob Segar had musical ideas. Fucking BTO had musical ideas, they just didn't include any of them here. This is wank.

I just googled BTO to learn that they have yet to commit suicide, which any thinking musician would have done after decades of playing Takin' Care of Business. I see that they are Canadian. Mullet probability is high.

I used to play bass in a country and western bar band. There. I said it. It was a dark time in my life. I didn't even need the money. I just thought that, having learned to play an instrument, I should perform. I was wrong. I know that now.

Our musician turn-over was high. Members, in their various stages of meth-addlement, often decided to "write" their own material, which was always a breezy delight. The process gave clear insight into what goes into Lowest Common Denominator rock.

Drummer: Should I count along in a One! Two! Three! Four! fashion as I click my drumsticks together before the song starts? Or shall I click them senza voce?

Everyone: Oh, definitely count along. Definitely. That is very rock and roll. We have heard that many, many times before on various rock and roll recordings, and we want to be a part of that.

Guitarist: I could kind of maybe noodle around on the strings while he does that. Make it sound like I'm warming up. Like we just picked up our instruments, and sort of— here we go!— right?

Everyone: Oh, yes! We should all do this thing. We will sound like we are warming up, and then break into song. We have also heard this on many recordings, and it is good. It is a candid glimpse into our Rock and Roll band lifestyle. It is without artifice.

Drummer: I have a large triangle.

Singer: Then you must employ it! Ring the triangle stridently at the beginning of the song!

Drummer: And while I ring it, you will cry, "Come and git it! ROCK AND ROOOOOOOOLL!" in a gravelly rocking and/or rolling voice.

Guitarist: This will replace the countdown?

Singer: No! We shall do both.

Bassist: I am going to kill myself.

Drummer: So. The guitarist and bassist commence noodling, to give the impression that the listener has caught us in a moment of unsupervised band spontaneity, and then I ring the triangle. The singer whoops, "Come and git it, ROCK AND ROOOOOOOLL," and then I click and count off the song.

Guitarist: We should go "Whooooo!"

Singer: Yes! I have always wanted to go "Whoooooo!" When the drummer starts counting, one of us should laugh a hearty rock— and yet somehow, at the same time, roll— kind of laugh, and then just after the fourth click, we all go "Whooooo!" Are we agreed?

Drummer: We are, but our bassist appears to have expired.

Guitarist: This is merely inconvenient, as bassists are easily replaced.

This is the mentality that goes into songs like Takin' Care of Business, and why they are so unforgivable. No cliché is too threadworn, no bombastic gesture too overripe. No trope's edge is ever blunted through repeated use. Derivative? Fuck it. If they've heard it work on an album before, it goes in. It's the egalitarian, feel-good, Brett Ratneresque approach to committee songwriting.

And the lyrics. This song is airtight proof that no one ever listens to lyrics. If BTO's fans ever paid attention to the lyrics to this song, they'd rush the stage with broom handles and cut-off lengths of hose. Takin' Care of Business FUCKING MOCKS THE AUDIENCE. It rubs the listener's face in the fact that he or she must work for a living, while the performer's life is one of beer, sun, and leisure. Take that, assholes! With your jobs, commutes, and alarm clocks!

they get up every morning from their alarm clock's warning
take the eight fifteen into the city
there's a whistle up above and people pushing, people shoving
and the girls who try to look pretty
and if your train's on time you can get to work by nine
and start your slaving job to get your pay
if you ever get annoyed, look at me I'm self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day

and I've been taking care of business, every day
taking care of business, every way
I've been taking care of business, it's all mine
taking care of business, and working overtime

there's work easy as fishing, you can be a musician
if you could make sounds loud or mellow
get a second hand guitar, chances are you go far
if you get in with the right bunch of fellows
people see you having fun just a-lying in the sun
tell them that you like it this way
it's the work that we avoid and we're all self-employed
we love to work at nothing all day

and we've been taking care of business, every day
taking care of business, every way
we've been taking care of business, it's all mine
taking care of business, and working overtime

Woo! Alright! Ow! Yeah!

Take good care of my business when I'm away every day, woo!

(Ha ha! Ya!)


Mostly I hate what the song has to say about us. Takin' Care of Business should never have been the hit that it was. It certainly didn't deserve to be a part of our cultural consciousness. It's shorthand now, for both work and ease. Editing a spot for floor cleaner and you need a tune that implies grease-cutting efficiency? BTO's Takin' Care of Business. Need soundtrack as you piece together the camcorder footage of your frat brothers vomiting with their arms around each others' shoulders? BTO, again. Want a song that'll grab the judges' attention while your toddler flirts and preens onstage in fishnet stockings for the Our Little Miss* Pageant? Takin' Care of Business fills that need handily.

That, and it's so fucking over, you know? Hasn't anyone checked the expiration date on this song?

Runner-Up: Kokomo, Beach Boys



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