The Songs We Can't Escape

The All-American Rejects
courtesy of the artists

"Gives You Hell"

If this sort of muscular, post-Dynamite Hack thing—I guess we used to call it "alt-pop" before everybody wised up and tagged it "modern rock"—can chart, why can't, say, Smash Mouth? It's the late 1990s all over again; I bet Rivers Cuomo has "Hell" set as his ringtone.

"Big Schools"

So Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp walk into a bar. They're running a bit late; Bryan Adams and Craig Finn have already commandeered the jukebox (no Elvis Costello, no credibility) and are holding court in the choicest, plushest booth in the whole dive. Nonetheless, this gang's ultimately much less interested in the crush of Botoxed cougars jockeying for position than in trading tour stories and buying each other rounds of Yuengling and toasting one another's fading virility.


Not to be flip or whatever, but zoning out on these Zoloft-trance exercises at my day-job desk—which is usually where I get up close and personal with music these days—feels dishonest. I mean, shouldn't I be doing bounce aerobics on a sparkly trampoline with raver track pants and a pinwheel hologram tee as "Starslider" bleeps the light fantastic?

"I'm in Miami Bitch"

In PG-rated situations—as when they recently performed on America's Got Ballast, er, Talent, sorry—these Californian knuckleheads switch out "bitch" for "trick," presumably because programming sentinels aren't fans of Southern rap or have Hustle & Flow slotted way, way back in their Netflix queues. LMFAO have an album out, but I really think they should just focus on cranking out single after single based on the "Miami" template with minor variations: You know, "I'm in Long Beach Ho," "I'm in Elizabethan England Strumpet," and so on into infinity.

LOOP 2.3.4

The phrase that keeps repeating itself in my mind as Zodiac Dust revolves is "Steve Reich bubblegum." And that's no bad thing, no sir.

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