Musical Marihuana

Fast relief for your ear cataracts.

Does the weather have you at your wits end, ready to find Mother Nature and cut a bitch?  Well, we can’t do anything about the Atlantic Ocean temperature…. but it is Monday, so allow us to pour you a hurricane before you go insane.  That means it’s time for us to forecast another lost tune by venturing straight into the eye of that cyber cyclone we like to call the Dusty Vinyl Archive!  DJ Scratchy ain’t a weatherpony, but she knows which way the muzak blows.  And so do the Sponkies who are desperately trying to hold on to their semaphore flags next to Jim Cantore.  This category 4 earworm promises to give you a tropical depression…

The rich history of popular music is littered with songs that seem to have little redeeming value other than their quirky nature and fuckedupability.  The adjective “novelty” generally gets added on to these unique earworms… and while many serious music fans may painfully grimace at the fact that these offbeat tunes can worm their way into the same paragraph as more serious artists like the Beatles and William Shatner, they nevertheless can end up on actual radio station playlists and even earn a spot on the prestigious Billboard chart.  Flash trivia question!  Who are the only two artists to have had at least one Top 40 hit in each of the past four calendar decades?

Correct!  And?  And………………?????

Yep. No joke…

Some novelty songs can become popular enough to get a pretty cushy spot on the pop charts… a lofty position that will help boost the longevity that these musical unicorns generally lack.  If I was to tell you that today’s song made it all the way up to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, how long would you guess it stayed on that weekly chart containing what are allegedly the one hundred most popular songs in the country at that time?  Surely at least three or four months, right?  Heck, it can take weeks for a good song to even climb that high in the countdown, let alone the time a song logs while its airplay is on the wane…

It took 9 weeks for “Jacob’s Ladder” to reach #1… and 30 years for me to realize that it actually did reach #1.

How about just eight weeks?  Can a song really go from being played constantly on pop radio stations to being an afterthought in less time than your kids spent out of school this summer?  Yes, apparently it can…. and it happened sixteen years ago in the Summer of 2001.

The artist’s name is Afroman.  Really, what would you expect from a novelty act?  The song is the utterly silly, fucked up, and yet totally earwormy “Because I Got High.”

NSFW WARNING: While this is the censored version, there’s still a crude reference or three in this song.  Parental guidance is suggested!

In late August of 2001, this song entered the playlist of the horrible radio station we had no choice but to listen to from the Electronics department at work, and I swear they played it twice an hour.  I admit, it was good for a giggle or two, and was pretty catchy after the sixty-ninth time you heard it in one night.  But this song became The Shit, and that’s reflected in its meteoric rise up the charts.  “High” debuted at #67 on the August 18, 2001 Hot 100 chart, and just three weeks later on September 8th, it was knocking on the door of the Top 10 at #13.  And given that it was still getting played to death at that time, it seemed to have a date with destiny at #1…..

But a not so funny thing happened on the way to the Forum………

All of a sudden, the music consuming public wasn’t in much of a mood to listen to a lighthearted, lyrical dirty joke about some putz’s first world problems that came about because he smoked too much reefer.  “Because I Got High” did an abrupt about face on the charts and was last seen hanging out at the lowly spot of #61 on October 6th… seven weeks after it first seemed like an unstoppable force.  The song literally fell off the face of radio after September 11th.  When I pulled up the YouTube video for this post, it was, I swear to Dog, the first time I’d heard the song since the TSA performed its first cavity search.

I was gonna take that bomb out of my rectum, but I got high.

Too bad, Afroman, because that was a shitty case of bad timing.  Maybe if we had been exposed to your lyrical whine for just a little bit longer, “High” would have become part of the fabric of the 00’s like it should have… and with its formulaic signature line, might have even survived to become a running internet meme in our Twitbook culture.

Well, I’ll be damned. The memeverse knows no limits…

I’ll be back with a better earworm next week, if I don’t get high….

About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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19 Responses to Musical Marihuana

  1. I loved it and I love it!!!! you picked a gemish gem!
    we remembered today… and we talked about the things we did as we heard about this gorrible disaster… it’s strange that we all will remember the moment we saw and heard it forever and ever… I think that’s a good thing that mother nature or the one who made us gave us this feature…this moment was too horrible and too sad to forget it…

  2. Another total gem that I’ve never heard of………the song – not 9/11. I was out of the country on 9/11 and had to stay there extra days before an airplane would be allowed back into Washington, DC………anyway, I don’t think even this song would have cheered me up back then!


  3. Merbear74 says:

    I can’t get high because I don’t have a way to get any marihuana. It’s hard being a suburban middle-aged woman…

  4. Nope, never heard it. Maybe the events that day blocked it out of my mind, but I don’t think so. Hard to believe it’s been 16 years since that awful day. We continue to remember that day, the events following and the families of the victims. #NeverForget 🇺🇸

  5. I haven’t listened to “live” radio in so many years, no wonder I don’t know what is getting sung or who is singing it. Except for the baseball channel, I don’t know what on anymore. And when we travel, it’s CDs. We like our OWN music. So we watch these late night TV shows and when they get to guests, our usual response is “Who???” Neither of us have a clue.

    Your friends, clueless in St. Looouis (not)

  6. Trisha says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard this, probably because I change the radio station if anything with the slightest hint of rap comes on. I’ve just never been able to develop the slightest sliver of tolerance for the sound!

    • There’s a little I like, but most of it is just obnoxious noise and an excuse to be nasty and profane. Heck, I like a little of just about everything, and also hate a little of just about everything. I’m working on a countdown of songs I hate, and that should be a fun twist on my usual earworms!

  7. I suspect your musings are correct as to why it fell out of the charts so quickly.

    • I had always suspected the timing of this song’s demise was related to the tragedy, but was a bit surprised to see how perfectly the charts correlated to that. 9/11 definitely kept this song from being as big as it could have been had it been released any other time… and novelty song artists rarely get a second chance to make a big impression…

  8. franhunne4u says:

    Hey, all of your fellow US-citizens do not remember, but I do! Though I do not remember the time I heard this song. Just that I have heard it before and had to smile. A little bit like the song of Bruno Mars

  9. draliman says:

    Hmm. Interesting song 🙂
    I’m surprised Mer didn’t call you out for lumping the Beatles into the same category as musical genius and all-around nice spaceman Shatner…

    • YAY! Finally one you could listen to! I guess songs about smoking dope aren’t subject to copyright laws…

      Yeah, I was being sarcastic, but I guessed if Merby missed it, then it must be true that Shatner is just as good as the Lads!

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