Not too long ago, I declared 1980s hair metal ballad “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake the worst song ever written.
I hate to admit it, but that turned out to be a rather impetuous declaration. There is a song from the same decade whose lyrics actually make those of David Coverdale read like a Shakespearian sonnet in comparison. This song is so unbelievably bad that for me to mock it anymore than it already does itself would just be overkill. It was featured in a movie called “Rad” that was apparently another in the never-ending stream of 80s movies that fell into the “inspirational sports” genre (they’re metaphors for winning!) — this one building its silly afterthought of a plot around BMX racing. For those unfamiliar, that’s bicycle racing, a topic about which Freddie Mercury had already written the quintessential tune a decade earlier. The song is entitled “Thunder In Your Heart” and it was performed by some jackoff named John Farnham, who was apparently all the rage in Australia at one time. I will let the lyrics speak for themselves:
You’re taking a chance, risking it all
For the thrill of the moment
Taking a stand, you ain’t gonna fall
You’ve always known it
They’re dying to shake you,
Trying their best to break you
And though the going is rough, you’re going home as a hero
‘Cause there’s thunder in your heart
Every move is like a lightning
It’s the power you feel when you get your taste of the glory
There’s a fire gonna start
And you know they’re going under
You can light the dark when they hear your heart of thunder.
Ugh. I actually feel dirty now and I sincerely apologize for making you read that. (“Hey, John, we’ve been contacted by an American movie studio, Mate. Seems they’re keen on you recording a song for a movie about bicycles or some silly thing. The only condition is that you try to make it sound just like everything Survivor has ever recorded and you use the words ‘glory’ and ‘hero’ at least once. Have it to us by noon, right?”)
Despite all of this insufferable audio asininity, the 80s were the most musically formative decade of my life. But even though I spent most of those years tuning into college radio and discovering the silver lining of the MTV age that was the hardcore punk and indie rock scene, I still think that the standard pop music of the day was far more creative than the shit being force-fed to today’s youth. Take, for example, Cyndi Lauper. She first came to my attention on an old local public access program out of Newark, NJ called The Uncle Floyd Show. This was a low-budget variety show with a Vaudevillian feel, and each episode featured an up and coming musical act. Since The Uncle Floyd Show was considered somewhat subversive for its kid-friendly feel hiding rampant juvenile sexual innuendo, Ms. Lauper had already earned my respect before I ever saw the overplayed video for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” on MTV. And let’s face it, with the benefit of hindsight, that was an endearing little pop ditty. Admittedly, I still don’t understand what was up with her whole connection to WWF Wrestling and rubber band-bearded Captain Lou Albano, but perhaps this just adds to her mystique.
Some of you may recall that Cyndi Lauper also composed the theme song for the film The Goonies, entitled “Goonies R Good Enough”. At the time, I didn’t consider it one of her finer moments (soundtrack songs usually aren’t, as illustrated above), but I’ve recently had to reconsider.
A couple of years ago, an episode of Bob’s Burgers parodied The Goonies. It had the Belcher kids and some of their friends scouring an abandoned taffy factory in search of treasure that the restaurant’s mainstay customer Teddy told them about. The kids were unfazed even when they realized that his story was just a pretense to draw a “treasure map” that was a picture of a butt in mid-poop, so off to the factory they went. As the episode drew to a close, the familiar opening notes of Cyndi Lauper’s “Goonies R Good Enough” began to play with Cyndi herself singing the following re-worked lyrics:
Teddy was right about the treasure in the butt
The next day, you will see
Taff is washed up on the beach and…
Oh my god, is that a gold bar?
The wave just washed him out far
The kids didn’t look close enough in the Taffy Butt
You have a Taffy Butt
There’s treasure in that butt!
I want that Taffy Butt
Ay yi yi yi yi yi!
Taffy Butt! It’s such a Taffy Butt.
There’s gold there in that butt!
Give me some Taffy Butt
Ay yi yi yi yi yi!
And with that, my former feelings of modest respect for her transformed into shameless adoration. I love you, Cyndi Lauper. Sing it to us one more time: