I’m washing dishes one night, listening to classic rock on the radio. I’ve already gone to the bathroom to move my bowels while waiting out some pre-Van Halen Sammy Hagar piece of crap, but my disgust skyrockets when I’m elbow-deep in suds and the opening guitar riff of “Shine” comes on.
Before I can stop myself, I hurl a wet saucepan to the Pergo floor as Ed Roland’s wish-I-was-in-Seattle voice starts singing, “Give me a word, give me a sign.”
“Here’s a word: fuck you, you fuck! And here’s a sign!” I fling a soapy middle finger toward the kitchen boom box. I cannot STAND this song.
A lot of people cannot stand this song. Hey, radio programmers and DJs, especially those of you working the classic rock genre: we’ve had forty-plus years of classic rock. You have hundreds of thousands of great rock songs to choose from. Why do we have to hear this one-hit-wonder piece of shit twice a day, for God’s sake?
Shit, man, let me give you some perspective. Friggin’ Billy Squier gets several spins a week, and I always change the station when he comes on. ALWAYS. You know why? Billy Squier is NOT classic rock. Some music deserves to be sealed away in a 1980s time capsule. Billy Squier is no more timeless than Rick Springfield, for crying out loud. Besides, he pissed away what little chance he had at rock credibility with his video for “Rock Me Tonight,” which was so twee that even the homosexual community denounced it as “too gay.”
Back to “Shine.” For some reason it was a hit. The hacks in Collective Soul probably made enough money off that one goddamn song to buy each band member three houses, a medium-sized yacht and an Arizona burro ranch, and it was all because of the hook. That’s the part at the end of the chorus when they play a two-chord, swing-your-hair riff and then the band stops and the singer says, “Yeah.” Then they jump in with this amazing THIRD chord for a second, then they repeat the money shot – um, I mean the riff.
My beef is not with one-hit wonders. There are a million of ‘em. My beef is with this annoying ONE HIT being played over and over, two or three times a day, when hundreds of superior songs by better artists like the Beatles and the Doors and Nirvana and a thousand other bands go unheard.
Playing “Shine” on the radio is like a lazy man saying, I’m not even gonna try to get laid. I’m just gonna sit here and rub one out.
Goddammit, classic rock, you have to try a little harder than the rest. You know why? The only way you add to your playlist is by attrition. As a band puts out less and less good shit, like, say, Aerosmith, their older material comes into sharper focus. There’s a cutoff point. Like when Joe Perry did his last line of China white off some hooker’s crack. Or when Eddie Van Halen plugged in his keyboard.
There’s a galaxy of killer rock songs that will fire the memories of rock fans like me and have us dancing across our kitchens, flecking the walls with dishwater while we relive the various golden moments of our lives that have been soundtracked by forty years of kick-ass rock and roll.
“Shine” does not pass the test of time. Come on, man, just quit playing that song. It should be treated like a meteorite, not a fucking planet.