This one is pretty easy. In 2005, a British band called The Darkness released an album called One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back. The title track is a tour de force. It sits somewhere on the precarious ledge between the pure hard riff-rock of AC/DC and the over-the-top pop hooks and theatricality of Queen, but with modern recording accoutrements.
There are so many things about “One Way Ticket” that make me laugh. Obviously, releasing a balls-to-the-wall rock song in 2005 was pretty hilarious. I can just imagine walking up to the counter at the record store with The Darkness and, say, The Decemberists and Death Cab for Cutie in my hands. The lead singer had a penchant for wearing bare-chested spandex jumpsuits in concert, a la Freddie Mercury circa 1978. That’s not very ’emo’. Wait, is that him singing in double-tracked falsetto? Of course it is! Big rock-out sitar-styled guitar solo and liberal use of flanger on the breakdown? Mais oui. To say nothing of the fact that the original album version of “One Way Ticket” includes a mock-dramatic intro with pan flutes and, yes, guys sniffing coke. If you can’t laugh at (and laugh with) this song, then your sense of humour might be broken.
Honourable mention to LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge”, which was a 2002 single that later appeared on the bonus disc with their 2005 debut album. For a music snob and semi-professional smart-ass like me, this song is like the Magna Carta. “Losing My Edge” is an extended, ironic soliloquy wherein James Murphy tells us all about how he is the coolest, hippest, undergroundest DJ on the planet over a minimalist disco beat. A few of my favourite lines:
I’m losing my edge to the kids whose footsteps I hear when they get on the decks.
I’m losing my edge to the Internet seekers who can tell me every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978.
I’m losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties.
I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band.
I told him, “Don’t do it that way. You’ll never make a dime.”
I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids.
I played it at CBGB’s. Everybody thought I was crazy. We all know.
I was there. I’ve never been wrong.
I hear you’re buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record.
I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables.
I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars.
I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know.
That, my friends, is 100% awesome.