Monday, October 4, 2010

A Tribute to Bad Lyrics (compiled by Pat Moriarty)

(Ear lllusion Records) For this CD/comic/secret bonus CD-R set, cartoonist Pat Moriarty drew from his collection of archival recordings with bizarre, awkward lyrics and made his talented musician friends knock out recordings utilizing the exact lyrics (many of them doing faithful covers of the original music as well). And this is GREAT! Artists like the Boss Martians, Kurt Benbenek, Charlie Burton, Chuck Macomber, and Moriarty himself (and kin) do fine jobs taking songs written by amateurs for the most part (song-poems were semi-scams in which tired studio hacks would improvise music to the lyrics of people who sent in money with hopes of stardom). These recording artists do stellar jobs, some making music arguably more interesting than some of their original material. So audibly I can’t recommend this enough and since he only made 500 and mine was #154, if this floats your boat jump on it (write to and put BAD LYRICS in subject line). HOWEVER, I’m not really crazy about the presentation. Not Moriarty’s great drawings and design (including an extra pocket for a CD-R, which in mine, and I bet yours, will include all of the amazing original tracks). No, I’m talking about the attitude. The use of words like “worst,” “abysmal,” “awful,” “turd” and other such niceties approaches these strange poems with condescension and derision. Everyone else who has done worthwhile work on song-poems (most notably our own Phil Milstein) admires and loves how different and beautiful these slipped discs are, and not just because the studio musicians are so gifted. Milstein tried to track down the writers who he saw as heroes of sorts (as do I). And as, I suspect, does Moriarty. If he really thought these were terrible he wouldn’t be so motivated. This isn’t a prank project where he makes great musicians record things that suck. This is a celebration and I’m not sure why Moriarty has to distance himself. That said, it’s still awesome.


  1. It's all true. This guy is totally right. These really are my favorite “bad” songs....failed songs that I secretly loved, and I felt they deserved a second look.

    The condescending attitude I show in the cartoon character (a mad scientist version of myself) is transparently disingenuous. In real life, I am truly a geek for song poems and other novelties.

    Full disclosure- When narrowing it down to what would actually get recorded, I really DID strive for the most laughably bad lyrics I could- not in a negative or condescending way, but for comedy purposes, more than anything. Also, trying to choose SINCERE lyrics that were unintentionally funny was a central idea.

    (and most importantly, songs that were so obscure that no writer would surface that would be annoyed at being a subject in such a project)

    Thanks for reviewing!!...I'm a big Rodd Keith fan

  2. "Skateboard Wizard" is now a household favorite, and the Special Bonus Track #22 brings a tear to my eye. A great production!