Friday, December 9, 2011

Misplaced Songs - 12/9/11 - "Other 99"

There's a movement afoot. You may have heard of it. It's called "Occupy Wall Street." We provided banks with money and all they did was get richer. Meanwhile, all across the US there are a slew of 13 year olds saying "Hey! How about you occupy my pants!"

Funny thing about the Occupy movement. They have a theme song and they don't realize it.

In 1983, Mick Jones got bounced from the Clash and looked to start a new band. He eventually started one called Big Audio Dynamite and they immediately had a huge college radio hit with "The Bottom Line." "Medicine Show", "V. Thirteen", and "C'Mon Every Beatbox" got some airplay from their first 2 albums.

This wasn't the Clash. This was a funkier sound which incorporated many different musical styles besides rock including dance music and hip hop. It even sampled other songs and numerous voices.

In 1988 they released Tighten Up Vol. 88. This album had even more samples than their previous efforts. The song "Just Play Music" from this record was their biggest hit until "Rush" came out a few years later.

After that, they released "Other 99" as a single. Well, if you remember the theme of this feature, you know that I think "Other 99" is a vastly superior song to "Just Play Music." As usual, for songs I like, it's a drums and guitar driven song. In contrast to "Just Play Music" there are no horns to be found. It features call and response vocals. It's a nice, jumpy, fun song.

The song is about how no one's perfect and that's ok. It talks about how good it is to be "just fine." "No one gets 10 out of 10. Lucky if it's 9." Just because you're not the best that doesn't mean you're a failure. It's great to be just fine. Here's the chorus:

You can draw your own conclusions
But I'll tell you mine
I ain't with the hundred crowd
I'm with the 99

Okay so maybe this isn't exactly the message of the OWS folks. But for a while their message wasn't clear. I think it would've been fun to hear them sing "Everything's not always great, sometimes it's just fine, no one gets 10 out of 10, lucky if it's 9."

This isn't perfect. It probably would've muddled the message even more.

But still, I don't think there would be much harm in singing "I ain't with the hundred crowd, I'm with the 99." Many good political movements have memorable songs. This could've been theirs.

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