Over at SimpleBits, Dan Cedarholm posed a daunting question as part of a contest to win a CSS geek’s dream pack including both Dan’s books as well as a t-shirt and an icon set. Since I was planning on buying the book anyway, I jumped on the chance to win it for free (as anyone who knows me will clearly understand).
However, this was more than just a raffle. There was a serious question involved; a serious music question:
Who is the present-day equivalent to Huey Lewis?
This isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a trick question, but rather an attempt to clarify whether Mr. Lewis was an anomaly. Who, in 2005 is a middle-aged, awkwardly goofy, sports-loving rock star who, despite all that, wrote undeniably catchy songs? I dunno. Perhaps one exists, and perhaps one doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. Feel free to look as deep into this question as youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d like.
So, after giving it some thought (and coming up with very little), I did what I normally do when I don’t know what to say . . . I started writing. Although the final product is mildly (possibly more) offensive, I do think it’s fairly amusing so I decided to post it here. This also marks the addition of a new section of the site I’m calling Diasporic Comments (if anyone has a better suggestion for the name, please feel free to let me know, I considered “commented elsewhere,” but I felt as though it required more explaining than a diaspora . . . which could very well be flawed logic on my part).
So, anyway, to go back to Huey, here’s my response to just who his modern day counterpart is:
Hmmm . . . my first response was to answer simply with Ã¢â‚¬Å“who cares.Ã¢â‚¬? However, after some more thought, I believe there are two major issues here.
1. What current popular musician will turn into a middle-aged Ã¢â‚¬Å“awkwardly goofy, sports-loving rock starÃ¢â‚¬??
If Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie can be considered a Ã¢â‚¬Å“popular musicianÃ¢â‚¬? I am fairly certain he would eventually turn into an Ã¢â‚¬Å“awkwardly goofyÃ¢â‚¬? middle-aged man. However, based on the emotion in GibbardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s songs I would have to believe he does not like sports (thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s simply not enough testosterone in there. Seriously, is there any question Kid Rock is a sports fan? How easy is it to imagine him on his couch on SundayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s scratching his balls, eating Cheetos and rooting on the Lions? Very easy, but I digress.). That is, of course, unless Gibbard is a Chicago Bears fan, in which case he, like I, is only emotional because of the years of misery the team has put him through. However, that still leaves us with a major hole . . .
2. What singer writes Ã¢â‚¬Å“undeniably catchy songsÃ¢â‚¬??
While Gibbard may write some catchy songs, I have trouble imagining thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s anyone that would call anything heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s written Ã¢â‚¬Å“undeniably catchy.Ã¢â‚¬? However, I would also argue that you would be hard-pressed to find very many songs written in the last five years that have been Ã¢â‚¬Å“undeniably catchy.Ã¢â‚¬? Justin Timberlake and Usher both seem to be spot on (if anyone here claims they havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t had either Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cry Me a RiverÃ¢â‚¬? or Ã¢â‚¬Å“YeahÃ¢â‚¬? stuck in their heads theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re full of shit). Usher owns a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers, so heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s probably a sports fan.
However, both those answers leave us with the issue of becoming awkward at middle aged. They both are smooth . . . maybe too smooth. It is quite possible that as they age all that machismo will slowly transform to awkwardness as they attempt to relive their days of dating supermodels while they sport pot-bellies and half a head of hair. Unfortunately, no matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a hard story to buy.
That leaves me with two possible answers. One is to return to my original thought, which is the answer of, simply, Ã¢â‚¬Å“who cares.Ã¢â‚¬? However, this is important, so IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll continue. I conclude by offering up a singer/songwriter who defies nearly every norm. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a pop artist who writes explicitly sexual songs, including a 12-minute song called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sex Me.Ã¢â‚¬? HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a man who was caught on tape urinating on an underage woman, yet remains free and popular (although there was backlash, it has since passed).
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right ladies and gentleman, I am arguing R. Kelly is the modern-day Huey Lewis. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ignition (Remix)Ã¢â‚¬? is an Ã¢â‚¬Å“undeniably catchy song.Ã¢â‚¬? I think we can assume heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a sports fan, since he was in his 20Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s an living in Chicago during Michael JordanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s run and I doubt anyone who went through that isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a Bulls fan.
Which leaves us with one last criteria: Will R. Kelly be Ã¢â‚¬Å“awkwardly goofyÃ¢â‚¬? when heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s middle aged? That seems easy, just imagine your kid comes home from school and everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s talking about the tape where daddy is peeing on the little girl. Enough said.
R. Kelly folks, you heard it here first.