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