Birthday Party! Cheesecake! Jellybean! Boom!

First, I think this 2005 thread about which is more annoying “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” or “We Didn’t Start The Fire” is my favorite thing on the Internet today. That’s saying a lot, because I fell pretty hard for The BBC’s The Women of Watergate package.

I discovered the thread because I realized that even though I’d probably come down on the R.E.M. side of this debate, I know all the words to “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” I know about 1/4 of the words to the other song.

At first I thought, “hrmm, perhaps you can discern something insightful about a GenXer’s personality based on which song they were more familiar with.” But then I decided the Billy Joel song is easier to remember because it’s a chronological listing of events and R.E.M’s song is random set of lyrics that may or may not make sense based on your feelings about R.E.M.

With ‘Fire’ you can make a pretty educated guess based on the music and rhyme scheme and history what’s gonna come next. ‘End’ not so much.

Also, I think MTV played the shit out of the video when it came out in 1989 and I don’t recall MTV playing any R.E.M. video back then that wasn’t “Stand.”

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  1. Barrett Chase 18.Jun.12 at 9:18 pm

    I agree with the commenter who said “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is more annoying because Joel is being serious. I also dislike that song because almost everything in it happened before I was born. Growing up the extreme youngest in the family, I’ve always been annoyed by the Boomer idea that everything of import happened before I was born.

    I’m not sure of the validity of this, but I heard somewhere a long time ago that Michael Stipe would just sing nonsense when we was coming up with a melody for a song, and that often those nonsense lyrics would make it into the final version. I’m on the fence about whether or not that’s annoying.

    1. Jodi 18.Jun.12 at 9:21 pm

      I’ve heard that about Stipe too, and that he can’t remember the lyrics to ‘End of the World.’

      I can understand the irritation with Boomers. I blame them for everything. I don’t recall having any affection for the Joel song, and really just a list of shit isn’t that clever at all. I bet if I tried hard enough I could write a ‘We Didn’t Star the Fire’ song for GenX.

  2. Andrea 19.Jun.12 at 8:36 am

    It’s true that Stipe can’t remember the lyrics. I saw REM once in concert many many years ago and as he pulled out his crib sheet before singing that song, he said he’s never been able to remember the lyrics.

    1. Jodi 19.Jun.12 at 8:37 am

      Andrea, were you at the now-famous Midway thunderstorm R.E.M concert back in the nineties?

  3. Doug 23.Jun.12 at 10:56 pm

    “JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say?”

    Fire. Definitely Fire.


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