4 Songs You Didn't Know Had Sequels (That Ruin The Original)
Let's face it: It's rare that a sequel is TRULY necessary. It's true for movies, books, and video games, and it's definitely true for music. Simply put, many musicians tell their tale in three to five minutes, and that's all they need.
Others see "3-5 minutes" and decide "fuck hyphens."
Occasionally, though, artists feel the need to expand on a song's original vision, so they pen a sequel. Oftentimes it's completely rudderless, like the time Buddy Holly heard a rumor that Peggy Sue got married but was too lazy to find out for sure. Or when the devil returned to Georgia for a fiddle-playing rematch and he and Johnny played the same goddamned solos they had played years prior. Thanks for wasting six minutes of our already too short lives, guys.
Then there are songs with an actual clear second part, except they're so bad, so out of left field, or so depressing that they completely slaughter the original's intent. If The Empire Strikes Back had turned Darth Vader into a singing and dancing clown or killed Luke off in the first five minutes in favor of Vader and Leia ruling the Empire as husband and wife, nobody would be able to watch A New Hope with a straight face anymore. That's exactly what happened when ...
"Big Bad John" Lost All Sense of Realism With "The Cajun Queen"
You've probably heard "Big Bad John" and probably assumed it was a Johnny Cash song, despite an entire Internet pointing your dumb ass to the real singer (Jimmy Dean). That's not to say it isn't Cash-y; it is. A gruff, deep-voiced narrator tells the story of a big burly man who rescued a bunch of miners from a collapsing mineshaft, only to be trapped inside and die alone. It's a sad, cautionary tale that implores you to tell captive miners to go screw, because if you help and the whole thing implodes, it's your ass.
"What year are you guys in? Have superheroes been invented yet? Cuz if so, one of them might help you."
The best part is how realistic it is. John was "six foot six and weighed 245," and he could punch a man to death. Well, shit, that sounds plausible. There are plenty of men out there that size, and a good hard punch can absolutely kill somebody. Even the part where he "grabbed a saggin' timber" to gain access to the miners makes sense. Sure, he moved a tree, but his adrenaline was pumping. And science has shown that the ability to lift heavy stuff because someone is trapped underneath it is actually very possible.
And then, once the mine completely collapses, he suffocates, just like an actual human would. Big Bad John could absolutely exist -- until the mine part anyway, when he would cease to exist. Jimmy Dean's dead now, so hopefully someone cool would write the tribute song to Real Big Bad John.
All that gritty realism from the original is tossed out the window. In its place we get a bullshit tall tale that, if you told it to your grandchildren, they would immediately ask your doctors to up your meds. And they'd be right; clearly you need it.
In "The Cajun Queen," John's girlfriend (simply called the Cajun Queen, because Dean couldn't be bothered to sing "Linda") comes to town and demands entrance to the collapsed mine. Then, "without a sign of a light," and after single-handedly moving several tons of debris, she somehow tracks down the very-dead John and kisses his "cold blue lips." Two kisses later, John miraculously comes back to life and gets "the power of a hundred men," prompting him and the Queen to claw their way up and out of the mine like it was a damn carnival rock climb.
"Man, what were those miner babies bitching about? This is easy!"
Remember how adrenaline can kick in when danger is afoot, effectively giving you super strength? Well, that doesn't happen simply because somebody kissed you, or if you're looking for someone who has been dead for Lord knows how long. And he was dead; cold blue lips do not lie, and unless she was telepathic and could teleport, she wasn't getting to him pre-death.
Oh, and she's incredibly fertile, too; she and John proceed to have "110 grandchildren" before kicking it for real at one point or whenever. Even if this were set in the Old West, that's a ridiculous amount, especially if Grandpa was legally dead for a while. Then again, he should have been legally dead forever, because Jimmy Dean should have left poor John to rot alone in the mines, instead of artificially resurrecting him for the sake of a happy-dappy-sappy ending.
Rose swims back to Jack, dives a hundred feet underwater, drags his body back up to the surface, and hugs him until he comes back to life. Then they rebuild the Titanic with their bare hands and sail around the world on it.
The Narrator of "Him" Gets Brutally Dumped and Slowly Commits Suicide During "I Don't Need You"
Rupert Holmes is known mainly for "The Pina Colada Song," and thank God there's no sequel to that (if there were, it would probably be called "On My 10th Colada of the Night Because I Forgot I Was Cheating on You for a Very Good Reason").
But Holmes had another massive hit called "Him." In the song, "him" is the guy his woman is cuckolding him with (not "Him," but "him." Got it?). He discovers the affair because "over by the window, there's a pack of cigarettes / not my brand you understand." Since nobody ever switches smoke brands ever, Holmes surmises that there's a third wheel in the relationship, and he's actually right on the money.
You're canoodling with that 120-year-old Russian man again, AREN'T YOU?
At this point, he stands up to his cheating woman and forces her to choose between her two men. He does so in the manliest manner imaginable:
Him him him, what's she gonna do about him?
She's gonna have to live without him
It's him or it's me, me, me
No one gets to get it for free
It's me or it's him
Good show, Mr. Pina Colada Man. Let her know you're not going to take this betrayal lying down, that she cannot play you any longer. She either chooses you or she chooses him.
She chose him. Oopsie doodle!
Yes, as we learn in the Holmes-penned sequel, "I Don't Need You," Holmes' lady decided to stay with the man she was cheating on Holmes with, leaving Holmes all alone. But that's OK, right? He's strong and independent, right? After all, the song is called "I Don't Need You"; Holmes is clearly looking forward to starting anew, hopefully with a new lady who will love and appreciate him for what he truly is.
One listen, though, and you'll realize that Holmes is full of crap. He's wasting away, not eating, not going out, and generally moping and pining for his lady all day, while sarcastically claiming he's fine and doesn't need her:
I thank my lucky stars
That you have freed me
Cuz I'm losing weight at last
Losing weight and losing sleep
And losing my mind fast
I don't need you
I don't miss you in the way I expected
I have time to clean the sink
And feel neglected
Later on, he claims that he already forgot her phone number, then proceeds to recite it from memory. Considering most of us can't do that with our own parents, we're guessing Holmes is trying to tell his ex-lady something here.
"Mom, I've TRIED to call, but those dang second through 10th digits keep throwing me off. Numbers are hard, Mom!"
If you liked "Him" because it was a powerful tale of a man done wrong and standing up for himself, then tough tits. "Him" turned out to be nothing but a bluff that Holmes did not expect to be called out on. His woman's gone and his so-called inner strength has atrophied into an incredibly slow suicide solution: don't eat, don't sleep, don't go out, OD on pina coladas, be sad all day, and never take your woman back ... unless she wants to come back. Which she doesn't. Because you're Rupert Holmes.
Cameron Diaz actually chooses Brett Favre in There's Something About Mary. Ben Stiller goes home and becomes a reclusive shut-in who starves himself to death while forever cursing the Green Bay Packers.
Then the Jets ... then the Vikings ... then whatever other team Favre joins for his inevitable next final comeback.
The Message of "Stan" Is Completely Lost, Thanks to "Dear Anne"
During the peak of his fame, Eminem took time out from writing about how he hates everybody except his daughter and penned "Stan," a story about an obsessed fan who kills himself and his girlfriend in a fit of road rage because Eminem doesn't answer his letters.
"Letters" were when people would hand-write their emails, stick them in metal boxes,
and let another person deliver them to the recipient by hand. The Dark Ages were weird.
Stan talked about Eminem "24/7," kidnapped his own girlfriend and stuck her in the trunk of his car simply because Em did that in one of his songs, and felt that he and Em "should be together." So he didn't care about Eminem's dope-fresh beats so much as his dope-fresh anal cherry.
When Eminem finally writes back to Stan, he's the voice of reason, because when you write the song you get to do that. He tells Stan to calm down, treat his girlfriend better, and quit fantasizing about hooking up with him. Then he realizes that the dead couple on the news are Stan and his girl, and he simply utters "damn," which is a natural reaction to learning that the creepy stalker you had never met was dead. Well, that and "phew."
Dark as it may be, "Stan" is a fine story with a clear message: Don't be Stan. Be a fan, love and respect (and buy tons of) what the artists put out, but otherwise, leave them the fuck alone.
Yes, there's a sequel, called "Dear Anne." Eminem didn't write or perform it, though; "Dear Anne" is a Lil' Wayne creation, and he doesn't buy that whole fans-keep-away-from-celebs thing. At least not when he's trying to score him some tail.
In "Dear Anne," Lil' Wayne writes to a fan of his, not because she's obsessed with him, but because HE'S obsessed with HER. He spends each verse spilling his guts about his troubles and concerns, including how his current relationship has started "to feel like a chore," which is exactly what you tell a random fan who probably wrote her mailing address on a pair of frilly panties before chucking it on stage.
Wayne throws out Hallmark-worthy lines like this:
I just think of you, then I'm rewarded again
Anne, with you is where my artistry can
Anne, so with you is where a part of me stands
Anne, I hope I see you in the stands
... shortly after calling her "baby." Not once does he consider that this might be beyond creepy, and that any famous person who writes back to a fan and treats it as a full-blown therapy session will quickly be exposed for the psycho he truly is.
But he seemed so normal!
But then we get the one line that truly ties this glorified love letter to Eminem: "I'm sorry about Stan." Oh, you are, are you? Then why are you acting exactly like him? The fact that you feel the need to apologize for it very strongly suggests that Anne knew Stan and was quite possibly related to him. All of a sudden she's being stalked by her very OWN Stan? She must be so honored.
If Wayne got some kind of comeuppance at the end, like how Stan got his, that would be one thing. But no. He simply writes his letters and moves on. Anne gets no say and never even writes back. Hopefully it's because she's busy calling the cops and hiring a team of hard-nosed lawyers to help build a case.
If Misery 2 involved a famous author kidnapping Kathy Bates' sister and apologizing for Bates' death while simultaneously acting like the creepiest creep in the history of creepdom.
"A Boy Named Sue" Is Not All He's Cracked Up to Be, According to "Father of a Boy Named Sue"
No way you haven't heard this one. Quickie summary for those who haven't or have drunk enough liquor to forget it: Johnny Cash's character is named Sue by his absentee father. Sue vows to kill him for giving him a girl's name and subjecting him to decades of peer torture as a result. After he finds Dad and beats the tar out of him, Dad reveals that he named him Sue to make him tough, since people would always pick fights with him over the name. Sue realizes the wisdom behind what his father did and all is forgiven.
Unlike the other songs I've been yakking about, there isn't a clear moral or cautionary scenario in "A Boy Named Sue." It's just a silly song about a silly subject, and once you find out that Shel Silverstein, the author of The Giving Tree, wrote it, you're not even that surprised. He's a writer, and writers are supposed to be a little silly.
Silverstein actually wrote two songs about Sue, and the second was told from his father's point of view. That's when you realize that Silverstein wrote way more twisted shit than just a bunch of kiddie books and silly songs.
In "Father of a Boy Named Sue," Sue's dad sets the record straight about everything. As it turns out, he left his son not because of money or problems with Sue's mother, but because Sue "kept screaming and throwing up and pissing in his pants" like he was some kind of toddler or something. So he named his kid Sue "for revenge," then ran away.
Also, the original made it sound like Sue was just a regular guy who happened to be saddled with a girl's name. According to the sequel, however, Sue is an ugly cross-dresser who hit his Dad with a purse and scratched him with long fingernails instead of punching him in the face. Also, he screamed like a girl, because the very best way to deal with something you despise is to embrace it wholeheartedly.
"YAYYY, FUCK FLOWERS!"
But Dear Ol' Dad wasn't done; apparently the whole "I named you Sue to make you tough" thing was pure hokum, a lie that Dad pulled out of his keister to avoid getting shot by Sue. But then he says "I guess he bought it cause now I'm living with him." So all's well that ends well, right? Father and son have made up, just like in the original, right?
Oh sure, they made up. In more ways than one:
Yea he cooks and sews and cleans up the place
He cuts my hair and shaves my face
And irons my shirts better than a daughter could do
And on the nights that I can't score
Well, I can't tell you any more
But it sure is a joy to have a boy named Sue
Lovely, just lovely. So Sue is a manservant to his father who slips him the ol' missing piece whenever the opportunity arises. And now that image is burned into your memory forevermore. You're welcome.
Shockingly, none. Unless there's some cross-dressing incest porn out there. If there is, please let somebody else know, and then have them shot so they can't track me down and tell me about it.
Thanks to Richie Ryan for introducing me to "Father of a Boy Named Sue." You've earned every last therapy bill I'm going to send you.