In defense of 'Thong Song,' inexplicable winner of PiPress' Worst Song Ever contest

Sisqó just can't believe this, PiPress readers.

Sisqó just can't believe this, PiPress readers.

If you're like me, you probably complain that certain songs annoy you all the time without ever considering an important issue: Maybe you deserve to be annoyed.

Take Sisqó's “Thong Song,” which inexplicably won the Pioneer-Press's Worst Song Ever contest, somehow attracting more reader disgust than audible pestilence like “Kokomo” and “We Built This City.” I mean, “earworm” is too dignified a euphemism for that sort of cochlea grub-infestation.

Setting aside the inhospitable slight against Sisqó, who lives in Maple Grove and is our neighbor (doesn't “support local music” mean anything anymore?), a gentleman of broad taste such as myself must wonder, what sort of person is annoyed by “Thong Song”?

A bad person, yes. But I think I can be more specific, narrowing the chief offenders down to three categories:

  1. Someone who does not appreciate attractively framed near-nude butts.

  2. Someone who appreciates attractively framed near-nude butts yet considers it inappropriate to celebrate them in song.

  3. Someone who appreciates attractively framed near-nude butts and songs about attractively framed near-nude butts, yet somehow mistakenly believes that “Thong Song” does not do attractively framed near-nude butts musical justice.

Clearly, anyone in the first two groups cannot be reasoned with and deserves to be annoyed by “Thong Song,” if not to be thtrung up in a loop of spandex and bombarded with booty jams until they recant. Thankfully, fewer such people exist than when “Thong Song” was a hit in 2000. The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward ass.

But maybe the reasonable and un-prudish folks in category three are yet open to correction, and it is to them I address myself.

“Thong Song” connoisseurs (as we call ourselves, usually five times fast) all have our favorite moments. Maybe it's how Sisqó chants “thong tha thong thong thong” in a modified Dragnet style that must have Jack Webb scowling in his grave.

Or perhaps that incongruously elegant violin part, adapted from Wes Montgomery's version of "Eleanor Rigby." (If you hate “Thong Song,” you also hate jazz and the Beatles. What do you even enjoy listening to? Ringtones and the screams of murdered infants?)

What gets me is the steady escalation of Sisqó's excitement until it's so cartoonish you can practically see his tongue roll down past his feet and his eyes pop a foot out from his head. It's as though he's just caught a glimpse of Bugs Bunny in a dress, or a lipstick-smeared, wig-wearing bomb strapped to four sticks of dynamite.

Though everything about “Thong Song” is ridiculous, including Sisqó's hair, the singer is never anything less than deadly serious about the central importance of thongs to his worldview. Sisqó is a booty mystic, his exultant appreciation transcending lust without denying it, until “Thong Song” rises up like a euphoric boner that belongs equally to every one of us, throbbing in enraptured contemplation of a pure assthetic ideal.

If you reject this ecstatic vision Sisqó so freely offers you — yes, you — probably do deserve to be annoyed by “Thong Song.”