Do you have that favorite song or movie or TV show or book or whatever that everytime you hear/watch/read it you find yourself wondering why it isn't a huge hit? Well, I've decided to to take a look at my personal "should-be hits" and explore why they should be hits and why they are not and then wonder what would happen if they were a hit. Today, I'll start with the song "Pillar of Salt" by The Thermals.
WHY IT SHOULD BE A HIT
Did you just see that? Was that song not catchy as hell? Why isn't that getting played on your town's version of K-Rock or whatever CBS radio is calling your local alternative station? Hell, why isn't it getting played on your local Kiss FM pop station? It's that catchy. Why can't I hear this ANYWHERE, college radio included? I didn't hear this until this past Saturday--even though it came out on August 22--and I'm piping hot mad that I had to go that long without it getting stuck in my head. Do we really need the same Red Hot Chilli Peppers song they've been releasing for the past 8 years instead of this? Seriously? Even the video is fun and engaging. These guys (and gal) are edgy and hipper than me, yeah, but they sure do seem like fun. Hell, I'd even throw a little something into the girl (and maybe the drummer, if only out of sympathy since he doesn't seem to be getting alot of facetime). What the fuck, radio stations? PLAY THIS!
WHY IT ISN'T A HIT
Maybe the Thermals are just a little too edgy, MAN! Or, maybe they just don't want the success and fame and turned down offers to turn them into stars. Or maybe the vague religious allusions in the lyrics rub corporate big-wigs and Average Teenage Consumer (the only people still buying music, really) the wrong way. And it's not even because the lyrics are necessarily anti-religious. I mean, Nine Inch Nails are pretty anti-religion, but they get tons of radio play. I think it's the fact that "Pillar of Salt" doesn't explicitly say anything about religion, but only implies it with the way the words are sung and with the general image the band puts out. Also, I heard about The Thermals and "Pillars of Salt" on hipster blogs, which means that hipsters like the song and The Thermals, and anytime a hipster tells an average Jane or Joe what to listen to, Jane or Joe's natural instinct is to resist. Also, the video is pretty goddamn hipster itself, with the Arrested Development (the TV show, not the rap group) chicken dances thrown it and cameos by the lead singer of the Decemberists and other (likely) hipster icons (I honestly don't know who those other people were).
WHAT IF IT WAS A HIT?
If "Pillar of Salt" were a hit, I'd still love it, but I'd feel guilty about loving it rather than hip because I love it, much the same way I feel guilty about loving Fall Out Boy or My Chemical Romance. Also, while here, in the real universe, I take The Thermals and their image seriously (despite knowing little to nothing about them) and assume that they formed a while ago and have only gotten to "Pillar of Salt" after many lean years on the road. In the alternate universe where "Pillar of Salt" is a huge hit, however, I would assume that The Thermals and their image are huge, prefabricated shams, and that the band formed a month before the release of the song and that each member was chosen based on how they appeal to a certain demographic. Perhaps it's better that the song is not a hit.