Yesterday, while flipping stations in my car, I was faced with an extremely challenging Morton’s Fork; that is, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. All of the stations I had programmed in were on commercial break except for our local Oldies station and our local Classic Rock station. The Oldies station was playing Jimmy Buffet’s‘s “Margaritaville”; the Classic Rock station was playing The Who’s‘s “Eminence Front.”
I never thought it possible that a match up of any Who song with Jimmy Buffett would lead me to a Morton’s Form, but compared with the only Who song I despise, the gentle wit of Jimmy Buffett’s anthem had to be considered.
“Eminence Front” makes my flesh crawl. It’s a song that should have been taken behind a shed and shot. The nearly 2-minute opening promises nothing more than a lame re-write of the already lame “Join Together” (Greatest Live Performance Video Ever, notwithstanding). Then Pete Townshend steps up to the mic to deliver a demo-worthy, Kermit the Frog as Tough Guy approximation of the sort of bombastic vocal part Roger Daltrey would have delivered in his sleep. Had Daltrey sung this turd it would have been no worse than any other lame rewrite of “Join Together,” like “The Relayer,” or whatever that song is called. Of all of Pete Townshend’s Cry for Help songs—and Pete predates Jodi Foster as a great, heartfelt artist who can too often get lost in his or her own psychodramas—perhaps none is more desperate than “Eminence Front.” It’s his Contact.
For the first time in my life I chose to listen to “Margaritaville” over another song.
So that’s my choice. Feel free to comment on the wisdom of my decision or, better yet, throw an equally less-than-mediocre staple of Oldies or Classic Rock radio in the ring against my selection and see what the next Townsperson chooses. Then that person can toss a contestant into the ring against his or her choice. I’m curious to see what song is left on the scrapheap. Maybe, as a punishment, we can then burn the master recording.