Friday, June 4, 2010

Songs that Changed the Landscape of Human Thought and Understanding: Osmonds' "One Bad Apple"

Apples are weird! No other fruit has had such a vexed existence as this red and/or green-skinned orb. Good apples contain antioxidants that can help prevent colon and prostate cancer. Why else would they say "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"? Apples can also refer to the lumps in men's throats (the Adam's Apple) or to those expensive computers marketed towards hipsters. None of these facts, however, can help explain why apple juice tastes so awful. However, in The Holy Bible by God, Adam is described in Genesis eating the forbidden fruit, ushering him and Eve into the world of original sin. This was very bad. This fruit has since been characterized as an apple. Though the powerful apple lobby has tried for years to rescind this appellation, it has unfortunately stuck. In their monumental 1970 recording "One Bad Apple," the Osmonds further revolutionize the symbolism of the "bad apple" by comparing it to a big jerky jerk of a man. In doing so, they manage to suggest that the number of bad apples is relatively small compared to the quantity of tasty apples in the "whole bunch," effectively minimizing the symbolic tyranny of the bad apple. Their convoluted argument can be reduced to three words: men are awesome!

Making this sound-document all the more impressive is its lineage. The Osmonds consisted of a group of religiously pious brothers from Utah. Seventeen year-old Merrill Osmond sings the lead vocal atop a apple-flavored Bubblicious confection of cavity-making pop sweetness, including strings, horns, chimes, and flutes. The lyric relates the tale of a "girl" who is about to "give up on love" because "some guy brought sadness into [her] happy world." Fearful that another man will "come along and sock it to [her] again," she needs to be convinced that this was just an aberration. Then thirteen year-old Donny Osmond chimes in, during the chorus, belting out the following line: "Give it one more try before you give up on love." Donny's soulful, soaring, pre-pubescent voice is almost unfair. How can any woman resist this line of argumentation coming from a boy this damned cute-sounding? The confident and persuasive Merrill continues, "I could make you happy, baby / Satisfy you, too." This sexual hellion doesn't stop here, telling this girl, who has "messed up his mind," that he's willing to be masochistic to prove his love to her, as he sings, "I'd rather hurt myself than to ever hurt you." The rest of the Osmonds, including the precious, cherub-cheeked Donny, completely support and concur with Merrill in his brave attempt to convince this "girl" that, in essence, all the other apples in the bunch are worth eating.

One of the reasons "One Bad Apple" is so astoundingly brilliant is that it is so true. Most men are clearly awesome and women should never forget that, especially when one misguided male randomly turns out to be a "bad apple" who might be physically, emotionally, or psychologically abusive to women. Just look at how this group of young brothers, ranging in age from 13 (Donny) to 21 (Alan Osmond), are willing to step up to the plate and vouch for the pious honor of each other. So what if the song is a psychoanalyst's buffet of sexual neuroses, including the vaguely incestuous and homoerotic "make me proud son" approval the other Osmond brothers heap on lead singer Merrill in his valiant attempt to not only win the love of this "girl," but to also prevent her from leaving her heterosexual shores for a life of exile on the Isle of Lesbos? No, there's nothing shady about that at all. By implying that the "bad apple" is merely a distraction to be instantly discarded, this group of seemingly harmless brothers prove that even they are totally willing to subvert their religious principles in an attempt to procure some ass. How precious is that? With "One Bad Apple," the raw force of manhood never again sounded so damned CUTE!

Here's a YouTube clip of the song:

1 comment:

  1. And in contrast to the Jackson 5, never did it sound so damned WHITE.