John Ortved’s Simpsons Playlist

As part of the promotion for his book Ortved went on Largehearted Boy and created a playlist of songs that are, even in some small way, related to his book and the show.  Some highlights:

The Damned "Jet Boy Jet Girl"

The Simpsons story really begins with Matt Groening in LA in the very early 80s punk scene. This song, originally by Elton Motello, perfectly captures the subversiveness and irreverence of Groening’s early work: it’s a punk track about a gay love triangle whose chorus, "oo-hoo-oo-oo; he gave me head," mocks those 60s surfer tunes which were, at one point, considered rebellious. It’s gender-bending, loud, and fun – everything those people who didn’t actually live in the 80s enjoy thinking it was like.

The show was indeed very subversive in a way that it no longer is.  That was a big part of what made it successful and the lack of it is a part of why it sucks now. 

Rolling Stones "Yesterdays Papers"

I’m ending with a Rolling Stones track because, as John Alberti says in my book, "Maybe The Simpsons have stretched it into the Rolling Stones because the Rolling Stones are so corporatized now it’s really hard to imagine that they were ever subversive or edgy or countercultural. It seems like they’re beating a dead horse to pick up a paycheck," which I think is a very accurate description, if you watch any of the current episodes. The Stones may be my greatest rock band in history, just as The Simpsons are probably the greatest TV show ever produced – which is why it is especially sad to watch them both ride so ingloriously, not into the sunset, but towards the bank.

I understand and largely agree with that, but there’s an important difference.  The Rolling Stones are a bunch of guys getting paid and cashing in, no doubts there.  But they’re also the ones making the decisions.  Whereas Zombie Simpsons, while it pays the cast and some of the writers extremely well, continues not because they want it to, but because it makes too damned much money for a faceless corporation. 

Anyway, the whole thing is worth a read. 


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