Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Songs that Changed the Landscape of Human Thought and Understanding: Shop Boyz' "Party Like a Rock Star"

To the uninformed observer, "rock stars" know how to party, and party hard. One such group of observers is the Atlanta-based trio Shop Boyz, whose 2007 monster hit "Party Like a Rockstar" made sure -- over and over and over and over again and again and again -- that the listening public knew they were going to replicate these recklessly hedonistic lifestyles and, indeed, "Party Like a Rockstar." Fusing distorted electric guitar lines, crunk beats, and classically-sequenced synthesized strings with wry observations about the unleashed id, Shop Boyz give voice to this all-too-human necessity in "Party Like a Rockstar," one of the most powerful songs in the existence of existence.

The best rock-star exemplars of this party-instinct over the years have been acts like The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison, Rick James, Parliament/Funkadelic, Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue, Poison, and Gary Glitter. These are groups of grown men who like to saw the legs off all the furniture in $3200/night hotel rooms, huff airplane glue, snort Pixy Stix cut with Mexican tar heroin, and occasionally defile women with live seafood. Conventional wisdom would suggest that, yes, this IS a party, and that this is what it's like to "Party Like a Rockstar." You would be wrong, however, to think that rock stars were the first people to "party hard."

Long before Andrew W.K. and the Beastie Boys, before there were "rockstars," people knew how to party. Dionysus, the Greek god of wine (also known as Bacchus in the Roman tradition), was the first immortal to recommend drinking one glass of red wine a day for a healthier heart (and twenty-four more glasses to, according to Homer, "rock the party until the rosy-fingered dawn"). His legacy was passed down to the first Colonial settlers at Plymouth Rock, when Thomas Morton and his band of revelers set up a maypole and debauched themselves with wine, paganism, and guns. Then, in the Eighteenth Century, Marie Antoinette lost her head -- LITERALLY -- for the right to party hard. It is that important.

The Shop Boyz, fully aware of this lineage of Bacchanals extending back to ancient times, bring their story of human bodily excess -- in the name of blackout drunk fun -- to 2007. So what if their vision of "rockstars" is limited to "skull belts and wallet chains," the Osbournes (?), and surfing (double??)? They not only know how to get the party started, brah, but they let the listener know -- about 64,239 times -- that they are gonna "Party Like a Rockstar." Totally, dude!

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