Thursday, 1 November 2012

It's All Coming Back To Me Now - Why Can't We Be Friends?

My friends? I'd prefer if you didn't get with them...

Why Can't We Be Friends?
by Jo Michelmore

Last week, something great happened, a surprise that involved me being thrown on a plane unexpectedly and taken to a city far away from where I live, just for lunch. It was a belated birthday gift from three people I’m unbelievably lucky to call friends (hey Greg, hey Ellie, hey editor!) Now, the thing is, when I think of songs about these friends, I don’t think of songs that have anything to do with friendship. I think of songs that they sing a lot, or love a lot, or songs we share a love of or a hate of or a good mocking of. Songs that we sing to each other randomly, or scream at each other at a gig, or recite lines from when the time seems appropriate or even better, inappropriate times. They’re songs that have evolved as songs that remind me of them, not songs about them. They’re not songs about friendship, as such, even though they remind me of friends. You know what though? It seems there’s been a whole bunch of songs written about friendship. Some (read: not many) of them good, some (read: quite a few) of them not so good. Some a little vomit worthy. I can’t be responsible for the quality, this is vintage Thursday godamn it. Just enjoy. 

With A Little Help From My Friends
by Joe Cocker (1968)

It was written by Lennon/McCartney, but Cocker seems to be the one to have made it famous. There’s probably a bar somewhere in the world, with a drunk someone with their arms around another drunk someone, singing this song to each other, right this very minute. They probably hate each other and will be bitching about each other tomorrow, but right now, they’re the best of friends. The thing is, if Joe Cocker was getting by with a little help from his friends, they should have given him less alcohol and a little fashion advice. Maybe a lesson or two in air guitar wouldn’t have gone astray either. 

Lean On Me
by Bill Withers (1972)

Anyone who has had more than a month or two of piano tuition can play this song. Anyone who has ever happened to stumble across some kind of charity advertisement campaign or seen a bad cover band in a pub knows this song. Chances are if you’ve heard it more than once, you know the words too. Me? I endured many years of this song at every eisteddfod, assembly and gathering of any description during my five years of catholic high school. Due to this fact, I do not have fond memories of this song and will endeavour not to be leaning on anyone that likes it.  

That's What Friends Are For
by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach and Gladys Knight (1986)

Uuurgh, you know that bit where I said some songs were truly vomit worthy? Well, hello Dionne and your many ‘friends’. “Keep smiling, keep shining, knowing you can always count on me, for sure, that's what friends are for, for good times, for bad times, I’ll be on your side forevermore”. You know what friends are for? For telling you not to make obvious rhymes in pop songs, for getting completely intoxicated and not telling anyone embarrassing stories afterward, for telling you off when you’re being a jerk, for chatting all night with, for insulting with your best and most comedic lines, for cake and chips and ice cream and not caring how much gym you’ll need the next day, for laughing so hard with that you can’t actually stand up straight and your face turns red and everything hurts, for sharing your love of laughing at others and for driving you home while you’ve passed out in the passenger seat at 5am. That’s what friends are for. Enough of this vom worthy stuff. 

by Spice Girls (1996)

I don’t know about you, but I like my friends. This means I wouldn’t want to ‘get with’ their boyfriends, in any way, unless we had some kind of previous arrangement, or something. Whatever. This means I probably wouldn’t want any of my friends getting with any of my future loves/boys/randoms, unless we had some kind of previous arrangement, or something. Whatever. I really, really like this song, but if you wanna be my lover, how about you stay away from my friends. Zing-a-zing-ah indeed. 

by Rihanna (2007)

It’s like how you only really save your best insults for your closest friends, there’s also a great joy in annoying your friends. There’s something great about a song that you can sing to your friends, like a dedication, you know, but also know that it will annoy the hell out of them very, very quickly; “Said I’ll always be your friend, took an oath, I’ma stick out to the end… can stand under my umbrella, ella ella eh eh eh, ella ella ella eh eh eh, ella ella ella, eh eh eh ella ella ella eh eh eh” repeat, repeatedly. Yeah, there’s nothing like annoying your closest friends, is there? After all, if you didn’t love them, you wouldn’t do it would you? That’s a sign of true friendship.  

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