For Janny

My pal Janny, who is fabulous, and who went to high school with me, tweaks me about claiming Hayzie Fantayzie’s “Shiny Shiny” is the worst song of the 80s:

you know you love this song. i heard it blasting from your dorm room and saw elfin shadows mimicking the moves on the drapes.

Lies, despicable lies! At the very least, it can’t be proven.

Janny continues:

i remember this song well, but luckily, can never be traced back to putting it on a mixed tape. instead, i favored an equally infectious- but far superior- tune called “kiss me with your mouth” by stephen tin tin duffy.

At which point this song, long dormant in my head, reader up and earwormed me for the rest of the day with its oh-so-80s twee. To which I say, gee, thanks, Janny. Thank you so very much. I agree it’s better than “Shiny Shiny,” although let’s state up front that this is a very low bar to surmount.

In any event, they say the best way to get rid of an earworm is to pass it on to others. So, here you go:

No, no. Don’t thank me. Thank Janny.

27 Comments on “For Janny”

  1. Shiny shiny is so much better.

    I was a teenager in the 80s and I don’t remember any of these 80s pop songs that you’ve been posting. Were these songs on the radio or did you have to seriously be into 80s pop to know about these songs?

    No that I’m complaining. I don’t think I was really missing out on anything.

  2. Kelly:

    I think for a lot of these songs it helps to have been in Southern California and deeply immersed in radio station KROQ’s playlist between 1980 and 1986.

  3. Ah, I see. The Jesus Freaks where I grew up in SC did their best to keep evil music from us.

    Their protests outside of the Iron Maiden and Judas Priest concerts always made those concerts much better. Satan music is more evil when you have the local holy holies trying to save you from it beforehand.

  4. I’m curious about the line, “Kiss me with your mouth.”

    Could some explain to me, with what else you would kiss someone, uhh, other than your mouth?

    I’m suddenly very scared and yes, “Shiny, Shiny” was better. :)

  5. Thank you, Janny!

    I mean, quite seriously thank you. I like that song, had no clue who it was by, and and hadn’t thought of it in forever.

    Now I just need someone to be earwormed by The Extras’ “Can’t Stand Still” and post THAT to get it out of their system…

  6. Could some explain to me, with what else you would kiss someone, uhh, other than your mouth?

    There are some things in life best left unknown. This is one of those things. Really.

  7. Oh…yes…I remember…the dance hall days…and sadly, I recall this song FONDLY. I’m so ashamed. But damn if we didn’t have fun then.

  8. Peter S – An American who having discovered anime a few years ago decided to start writing about it, which is sort of embarrassing considering I'm 55.
    Peter S

    That wasn’t so bad. Just boring and generic. I can’t see it overwhelming anyone’s brain.

  9. John, KROQ has an 80s station that they broadcast online. And they still play these songs. It’s quite a lot like being back in the 80s again.
    Some days I stream it in my office. Ah, the good old days.

  10. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, The stuff you young whippersnappers listened to.

  11. Wow. There is a whole world of 80s dreck that I missed when I made that choice to tune-out of popular music sometime around ’85. At some point I decided to not try and fit in, and go back to raiding older record collections. Yes, I was one of /those/ dinosaurs, what with my Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin t-shirts and knowing the history of the Yardbirds and Uriah Heep, and the various forms of the David Bowie.

    My anti-everything stance prepared me to critique every single musical fad my peers experienced equally and without prejudice. And made me extremely and deliberately ignorant of most of the new sounds that were coming out of the pop factories during those times. I may have missed some good stuff, but I don’t regret the rest. Once I discovered punk and the drew the line from New York noise from VU to Blondie to Sonic Youth, I knew I had found the music of my people.

    Plenty of chart-hitting stuff in there, really, but I just needed to /not/ listen to what my peers were listening too. What can I say? I always had crushes on the spiky-haired rock-chicks.

    And, yeah. I smoked a lot of weed in high school. Why do you ask?

  12. Wow I thought I could identify almost every 80’s or 90’s pop song-alt. song. However I can’t remember every hearing this.
    If your taking requests how about one of my favorites. “Safety Dance” – Men WIthout Hats.
    Now if I can just find my parachute pants, I can have one hell of a weekend!

  13. Oh, I remember this song. You seem to share with me this not-so-secret fondness for silly 80s songs.

    One of my favourite 80s earworms is Baltimora’s Tarzan Boy (briefly revived in the early 90s with a series of Listerine commercials.)

    Also, not cheesy 80s stuff at all, but since you shared Regina Spektor sometime ago, I wanted to return the favour and see if you’d heard of Leslie Feist yet. (She of the iPod nano commercials) This is a link to her video for My Moon, My Man.

  14. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang O.C., the Original Changsta

    Tell Janny if she ever comes to Maine I will buy her a beer and a lobster role.

    TinTin rules! Kick the shit out of Hazey Fnatzey. Literally. This version of the song blows though. TH earlier one he did in 81 or so was better.

    I’m going to resist the urgle to google and say he was either kicked out of or quit Duran Duran.

  15. Martyn Taylor – Northumberland – A writer exploring what lies beyond our peripheral vision. Published by various small presses and now considered to be nearly a Proper Author. Can be found lurking around the frozen North of England, happily herding a small family of recalcitrant adults who may once have been children and a woman who may very well be the fulcrum upon which the universe turns. Available for hire for very reasonable prices.

    I had forgotten Hayzie Fantayzie and John Wayne is Big Leggie quite succesfully for several decades. Aaarggh!

    I understood Tin Tin left Duran because they discovered Simon Le Bon was a better singwriter.

    If that hasn’t got coffee on your keyboard you haven’t thought about it.

  16. Hey, I *liked* this song. I even bought the single. How can you not like a song that cites both the Bible (“Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth,” Songs of Solomon) and Dorothy Parker (Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye).

    I even like the video.

    Okay, I’ve embarrassed myself enough now, I think.

  17. Ah, the blissful memories of KROQ… loved not only for their content,
    but also for their promo spots, e.g.:

    “KROQ – The station listened to by more poodles than any breed of dog.”

  18. Chang: he left Duran Duran. He was their original lead singer, and he left to become a novelist. That didn’t work out, so he formed Tin Tin.

    Nope, didn’t have to Google. That’s how much of a stark raving Duranie I was–AND STILL AM. Sad, really.

    (Oh & I used to live in Maine too!)

  19. I bring you the REAL worst song of the ’80’s:

    “Chicken Outlaw” – Wide Boy Awake

    “Kiss Me” was a great make-out song. Reminds me of my Lebanese girlfriend from college.

    And yeah, Duffy quit Duran Duran because “he started regressing into the Stones” according to Nick Rhodes.

    As for the Duranies? “Red Carpet Massacre” hits the streets November 13th.


  20. I was going to comment when I saw “Shiny, Shiny” but didn’t. Now I have to admit that BOTH of these songs are currently on my ipod. I actually searched out Shiny a few months ago. Long Live KROQ and the Swedish Eagle.

  21. Hi, these songs are all in my collection. How could anyone not like “chicken outlaw” or “shiny shiny”, or “kiss me”? They’re definitely ‘out there’ sorta songs that defined what alternative music was about in the first place. It was music that stretched the boundaries of what could be done with rock music, unlike the Seethers,the Nickelbacks and other clones that dominate both mainstream rock and modern rock radio singles charts. None of which have much to do with alternative in my opinion and more to do with bare bones straight forward hard rock for midwest kids with no taste. I don’t see a need for an alternative chart if there isn’t gonna be anything worthwhile to put in it, furthermore.

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