Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Ten Funniest Songs I've ever heard

While people have been writing “funny” songs forever, few of them last in public memory, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, lyrics alone might be enough to make people listen to a song a few times and laugh out loud, but for them to remember the song and listen to it over time, the music has to be great too. This combination of good music and lyrics becomes more important here than in other genres.

For “spoof” songs, however, the music is similar to the original song, so focus shifts solely to the lyrics – which is why they had better be really, really good.

Also, if you’re spoofing a song, the original has to be a really big hit, since your audience had better have heard the original one enough times to identify with your song. Which basically means that you’re pitching your song to fans of the original – making it very important that your song comes off as a “tribute” and not as a low-brow satire, or worse still, a knock-off. The song that’s number two on my list is a perfect example of how to tread this fine line of paying tribute and extracting humour, but let’s start from No. 10:

10) I Will Survive – Cake

One of the funniest cover versions. Ever.

9) The Bedrock Anthem – Weird Al Yankovic

Musically, this song was a spoof on Give it Away and Under the Bridge by RHCP, accompanied by brilliant lyrics based on the Flintstones. And, of course, a hilarious video, specially the “Bee Girl” intro, a spoof/tribute to Blind Melon’s No Rain:

8) Peaches – Presidents of the United States of America

For some reason, the line “Peaches come from a can, they were put there by a man…in a factory downtown” just never gets old for me.

7) Thanda Thanda Paani – Baba Sehgal

So who said this was an English-only list?

Whether this song qualifies as a “Spoof”, “Tribute”, “Inspiration” or “Rip-off” is beyond me – I just love the free-flowing lyrics: “Main five-star hotel pehli baar gaya, maine dekha paani se bhara swimming pool aaya manager, bola baithiye please sir sir sir, aapki seva mein main haazir hoon, kuchh farmaiye, kahiye kya aapko chahiye?”

I don’t remember there being a video for this one – so no clip on Youtube, unfortunately.

6)Volcano – PUSA

Flowing, funny lyrics, a very catchy tune and a crazy video. Great recipe, well cooked.

5) You are my Chicken Fry – Bappi Lahiri (Rock Dancer OST)

One of the corniest songs I’ve ever heard, but what lyrics. What lyrics. What lyrics. And put to some really good music!

“You are my chicken fry,
You are my fish fry,
Kabhi na kehna kudiye bye-bye-bye…

You are my Samosa,
You are my Masala Dosa,
Main na kahungi mundeya bye-bye-bye…”

A search for “Bappi Chicken” on youtube yields no results. Ah well.

4) Baby One more Time – Travis

Yes, you got the name of the song right. The Britney song, this is – done by Travis on one guitar. It actually sounds really good, in fact – but just the fact that the source material is what it is, also makes this one very, very funny.

3) Bobby Brown – Frank Zappa

It starts off sounding like a regular, feel-good “I Love America” song – but that’s just the first two lines. Then it swings into action.

“Hey there, people, I’m bobby brown
They say I’m the cutest boy in town
My car is fast, my teeth is shiney
I tell all the girls they can kiss my heinie!”

2) The Saga Begins – Weird Al Yankovic

This is the closest thing I’ve ever heard to a perfect spoof song. Musically it’s a spoof/ tribute to a cult song – American Pie. Lyrically, it’s a tribute to a cult film franchise – Star Wars. Yankovic wrote this song, based on The Phantom Menace, without even knowing the actual story of the movie – he got everything from internet spoilers. And he followed it up with a video that has to be seen to be believed.

Don McLean:
“Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie,
Drove my Chevy to the Levee but the Levee was Dry;
Them Good old Boys were drinking Whiskey and rye,
Singing, this will be the day that I die…
This will be the day that I die…”

Weird Al:
“My, my, this here Anakin guy,
May be Vader some day later, now he’s just a small fry;
He left his home and kissed his mommy goodbye,
Singing, Soon I’m going to be a Jedi….
Soon I’m going to be a Jedi…”

1) Quite a few Monty Python Songs.

This one just had to be a tie. I can’t choose between Always Look on the Bright Side of Life , The Knights of the Round Table, The Lumberjack Song, the Philosophers’ Song or even I Like Chinese. I would heavily advise everyone to hunt for this album called Monty Python Sings – It’s the biggest laugh you’ll have all month.

Obviously, I’ve missed out quite a few songs that should be there on the list – some which I’ve temporarily forgotten, and a whole lot that I haven’t heard. Do let me know!

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