Thursday, March 29, 2007
What Sucks…Paradise By The Dashboard Light
Is there any reason to ever hear this song again?
Played chiefly at bars by giggling women as they begin their 3rd drink, “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” tells the sad story of a man trapped in a relationship at a young age. A cautionary tale of a 17 year-old who is failed by American society’s puritan refusal to address sexuality in an informed way, “Paradise” sees its protagonist forced to mortgage his future in exchange for what can only be called “a little moogombo” from a seemingly hot, yet otherwise nondescript chick he goes to high school with.
Thusly, in the end, he openly wishes for the slow, inevitable arrival of death to escape the consequences of the young hormone driven promise he made to his date. Why this dirge must constantly be played at bars where good people are only trying to get in a decent after-work drink, I don’t know.
It is not a happy song- there is no need spend your hard earned money putting it on, nor is there any need to yell “Whoo” when you hear its dreadful opening notes.
For the 3 of you unfamiliar with it, I’ll break the 8 ½ minute song down here:
- A guy is trying to fuck some girl in his car.
- Together they begin the very natural act of “fooling around”.
- Clearly affected by a patriarchal and vaguely religious belief that a woman is not worthy of exploring her sexuality with anyone other than her husband, the girl solicits the guy for a promise to marry.
- Somehow, former Yankee announcer and Hall of Fame Shortstop, Phil Rizzuto begins to describe, in detail, the action on a radio broadcast, employing a crude, thinly layered, baseball metaphor.
- The guy pleads for the right to thoroughly consider any long-term proposal. He is refused by the woman, who at this point begins to unravel, showing herself as an frantic, emotional, and needy person, who insists the guy make this pivotal decision now.
- Guilted, and driven by the desire not to have blue balls, and possibly by the pressure of an omni-present Rizzuto, the guy relents and promises his life to her.
- They fuck.
- Years later, lamenting his decision the guy and girl pray for the rapture.
Here it is again, simplified even further.
- A guy is trying to fuck a girl.
- She guilts him into proposing.
- Phil Rizzuto gets involved.
- The guy caves and they fuck.
- Guy keeps his promise, they both pray for the sweet release of death.
What life had to offer this couple, we’ll never know. Together they spend a lifetime thinking of what could have been- a sad sentence to face and one I face for 8:29 every time I hear some a-hole play this thing in a bar, or sing it in karaoke.
It’s time to throw this song onto history’s trash heap, so we can all move on with our lives. Celebrate love, freedom and hope- things not celebrated in this song. Please, don’t play it ever again, and if you’re in doubt at a CD jukebox, get the Led out, everyone will appreciate it.