Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blowing up bad music an explosive idea

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Justin Bieber

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Justin Bieber

I'm in no danger of being awarded one of those genius grants, but I know a brilliant idea when I hear it.

And the decision by a minor-league baseball club in South Carolina to demolish the music and merchandise of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus in an on-field explosion after their game on Saturday night was (bad word) brilliant.

Let's start with a little background: Thirty-five years ago, on July 12, 1979, Mike Veeck, then promotions director for the Chicago White Sox, staged Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park, wherein thousands of disco records were blown sky-high during a doubleheader between the Sox and the Detroit Tigers.

It signalled (hurray!) the unofficial end of the disco era, but the stunt famously backfired when disco-hating fans spilled onto the field, causing the second game to be forfeited, which led to the "genius" behind the famous fiasco, Mike Veeck, getting fired.

On Saturday night, in a true blast from the past, Veeck, now president of the Charleston RiverDogs, a minor -league affiliate of the New York Yankees, staged Disco Demolition 2: You better belieb it, wherein the CDs and merchandise of Bieber and Cyrus were tossed in a giant box and blown to smithereens after the team's 9-7 victory over the Augusta GreenJackets.

Fans who brought Bieber or Cyrus memorabilia to the game were admitted for $1, and the team has pledged their music will never again be played over the loudspeakers at a home game.

"Like so many, we have taken special exception to Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus's music along with his numerous run-ins with the law and her controversial performances," RiverDogs GM Dave Echols chirped in a statement. "Disco Demolition 2 is dedicated to the eradication of their dread musical disease... "

We doff our baseball cap to Mike Veeck, whose job is safe this time, but we also feel compelled to raise a troubling musical question: Why stop there? Seriously, blowing up the albums of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus is a great start, but surely the world would be a better place if more "artists" had their musical legacy dumped in a box and blown up.

For starters, wouldn't everyone be happier if they never again had to listen to another verse of Achy Breaky Heart, wherein Miley's dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, croons: "You can tell your ma I moved to Arkansas/You can tell your dog to bite my leg/Or tell your brother Cliff whose fist can tell my lip/He never really liked me anyway."

The problem is this: The more horrible a song is, the harder it is to forget. The worst songs are the ones most likely to become "earworms," musical parasites that burrow into your brain and, no matter what you do, you can't get them out.

Which is why, when you are sitting in an important business meeting discussing a multimillion-dollar contract, the only thing going through your brain on a continual loop is this: "Gliddy glup gloopy nibby nabby nooby la la la lo lo/Sabba sibby sabba nooby abba nabba le le lo lo/Tooby ooby walla nooby abba nabba/Early morning singing song."

As your fevered brain already knows, those are some of the infectious lyrics to Good Morning Starshine, which was a big hit in the musical Hair back in the 1960s and was covered recently by Canadian singer Serena Ryder.

You may not remember your ATM password or your spouse's birthday, but the lyrics to that horrific tune will be stuck in your head for the rest of your life, unless, of course, you can replace them with the lyrics to another, even worse, song, such as Friday, wherein Internet sensation Rebecca Black bleats: "Oo-ooh-ooh, hoo yeah, yeah/7 a.m., waking up in the morning/Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs/Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal ... It's Friday, Friday/Gotta get down on Friday."

And, please, do not get us started on the Yuletide chestnut Wonderful Christmas Time, in which former Beatle Paul McCartney, who really should know better, sings these words over and over and over: "Simply having a wonderful Christmas time/Simply having a wonderful Christmas time/Simply blah blah blah..."

The musical point is Mike Veeck and his Charleston RiverDogs have lit the fuse on an explosive idea. We'd like to see it blow up into a global trend.

But we're gonna need a bigger box.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 21, 2014 A2

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