A gifting guide

Horrible music for bad people

By Josher Lumpkin

Photo: Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”

That time of year is upon us once again: when we all struggle to find the perfect gift for that special someone. And though we all have people close to us to shop for, such as a husband or wife, parents, kids, friends, etc., those people are easy to purchase gifts for in comparison to those who fall into yet another category. What about those people who we wish we didn’t know at all?

As a music writer, I am constantly asked what my favorite new releases are, who are the best up-and-coming bands, whether I think emo-country is a superior subgenre to rappin’ folkcore and countless other asinine questions about my musical tastes, which, I might add, are largely irrelevant and should not be considered by anyone with their own opinions.

I implore you, readers, to take whatever I say with the proverbial grain of salt, as I am no expert. Quite the contrary, in fact. I have been called a “snob” many times over in regard to my opinions on music, and it seems a given to me that one’s musical preference is something that is highly subjective. So, for what it’s worth (not much), here are my top 5 pieces of music to purchase for your enemies this year. If you find that my suggestions don’t suit your individual distastes, I ask that you swap out the titles to match your own most hated music.

That person at work who makes microwave popcorn every day: I’m sure you were really bummed out to have drawn this person’s name for Secret Santa. Every day, I mean EVERY SINGLE DAY, it’s the same exact thing. “Pop! Pop! Pop!” from the microwave in the break room, as the smell wafts from cubicle to cubicle and your co-workers all say, “Mmm-hmm, something smells GOOD!” And as your enemy gingerly opens the bag, carefully tearing the edges apart, a cloud of steam erupts from it and your coworker says, “Ah! That’s HOT!” I think this person should be tortured by Celine Dion’s 1997 hit “My Heart Will Go On,” a track whose utter badness is surpassed only by the film it was written to accompany. If you ask me, that popping popcorn would be the perfect percussion for the recorder solo, or whatever the hell instrument that is.

The passive-aggressive neighbor: Though your first impulse is to bake up a nice batch of anti-freeze brownies to leave on her porch, there’s no reason to take out her laid-back husband and two innocent kids along with her. So what do you get for the woman who says things like, “It must be nice not to worry about what your lawn looks like”? Consider, instead, murdering her eardrums with “Down With the Sickness” by Disturbed. It will at once annoy the ever-living crap out of her and make her fear that you are a trench coat-wearing psychopath. Especially if you are wearing a trench coat when you give it to her.

Weightlifting tough guys at the gym: Girls, are you tired of feeling afraid to go into the strength-training area of the gym because you know the meatheads who frequent that space will see you as a potential mating partner? Guys, don’t you wish you could lift some weights without being judged by bros with arms the circumference of a Doric column? It’s like, “Yes, I know I am using the 25-pound barbell. Some of us are just trying to tone.” Besides, heavy weights can give you a hernia. Wouldn’t Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” be a fitting little number for these dudes to crank on their headphones while they pump some iron?

The perfect couple: She is beautiful. He is handsome. They are both successful and loaded. They met in high school and just knew they would be together forever. Now they have similarly gorgeous, brilliant children (who they all love equally) with names like Ethan and Emmeline. They finish each other’s sentences, make you want to barf with their public displays of affection and take exotic trips all over the world – the photos of which are posted all over Facebook. And though you really just want to slip them some MiraLAX and watch the zaniness ensue, the mature thing to do is get them “Lost in Love” by Air Supply. It is a song so terrible they will be fighting each other over who gets to turn it off. And if you really can’t stand them, be sure to bundle Air Supply’s “Lost in Love” with the New Edition song of the same name, which also sucks.

The political-posting social networker: Left or right, it doesn’t matter. The self-righteous, politically motivated social network poster cannot see their rabid, finger-pointing proselytizing is identical to the tactics used by the opposite party. Their rigid views do not allow the slightest flexibility as their minds are truly closed, and probably have been for years. Though these zealots would probably prefer some music by Ted Nugent or Rage Against the Machine (depending on which end of the political spectrum they fall), they really deserve Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” and they deserve it over and over again. Because if there is anything that can turn an intelligent, albeit outspoken and gratuitously contrarian, person into a babbling neanderthal, it is that song. In fact, a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine showed that one listen to “Call Me Maybe” damages the brain as much as two hours of huffing Freon out of a garbage bag.

Reach DCP freelance writer Josher Lumpkin at Josher Lumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at JosherLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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