The Red Pen of Doom analyzes I WANT YOU TO WANT ME by Cheap Trick

As part of my ongoing mission to explore all music, and go where MTV no longer goes anymore, here’s another video: I WANT YOU TO WANT ME by Cheap Trick.

Why show this old thing from 1879 or whatever, when they had to plug their guitars into steam engines?

Three reasons why:

IT.

IS.

AWESOME.

This is a case where simple and repetitive works, because there’s a nice little pattern here with the words: “I want you to want me. I need you to need me.” And so forth. Nothing fancy. Nothing complicated. But it is inspired, and it’s the kind of song a moderately talented punk band could learn to play, you know, the kind of band that knows four chords and forgets two of them in the middle of the show after they finish off two bottles of cheap vodka.

So in that way, this thing is genius. You don’t need a degree in music to play it. You don’t need a great voice to sing it. It’s the perfect cover song, which is why so many other bands have covered it.

Also, it’s one of the few songs that sounds good live versus all auto-tuned and cleaned up in the studio. A gritty garage band can play it and fudge notes without ruining the thing.

You — yes, you — could probably do a decent job singing this thing at a karaoke bar, even if you are TOO DRUNK TO SPELL KARAOKE.

Bottom line: a simple, study, lovable song. A punk-rock deal with interesting twists in the lyrics.

I like it, I love it, I want some more of it.

Special bonus: my favorite cover of I WANT YOU TO WANT ME by Letters to Cleo. (This cover doesn’t have a music video. Somebody made one with scenes from the show CHUCK, and they did alright. Here you go.)

 

The lyrics are way, way below, just for fun. Straight-forward stuff – no need to dissect or improve these. They’re perfect. 

I WANT YOU TO WANT ME

Written by Rick Nielsen
Performed by Cheap Trick

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.
I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.

I’ll shine up my old brown shoes.
I’ll put on a brand new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
if you say that you love me.

Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
see you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’).
Oh, Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
see you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’)
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
you know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’).
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
see you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’).

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.
I’ll shine up my old brown shoes.
I’ll put on a brand new shirt
I’ll get home early from work
if you say that you love me.

Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
see you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’).
Oh, Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
see you cryin’ (cryin, cryin’)
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
you know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’).
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
see you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’).
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
you know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’).
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
see you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’).
Feelin’ all alone without a friend
you know you feel like dyin’ (dyin’, dyin’).
Oh, didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I,
see you cryin’ (cryin’, cryin’).

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.
I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.

A new contender for Worst Music Video of All Time

Sometimes, a book / music video / B-movie about swamp monsters can be so Bad, and so low-budget, that it circles back to Good.

This is not one of those times.

Watch this music video, and think about it. Then let’s talk, because this video raises all kinds of Serious Philosophical Questions.

Question No. 1: Is this woman a one-hit wonder, or are there more gems out there, waiting to be discovered?

Lisa Gail has a website and some kind of album, or at least seven songs you can listen to and buy with REAL MONIES, if your monies are able to travel over the Series of Tubes.

Question No. 2: Is it possible to watch this entire thing, start to finish?

Though it was a challenge, and I cannot recommend it if you have heart problems, I did it.

Question No. 3: Sound on or sound off?

Sound on.

Question No. 4: Has any mortal listened to Lisa Gail’s other songs, to determine they, also, have a 2nd degree black belt in awesomesauce?

I, personally, as in me, have not subjected my ears to her other snippets of song-like substances.  If you do so, please give us the word in the comment section. That would be a public service.

Question No. 5: How in God’s green earth did she get all those men in cowboy boots?

This is the biggie, for me, right up there with “What existed before the Big Bang?” and “How can we truly know wrong from right without reading 4,923 pages of nonsense from Immanuel Kant about the categorical imperative?” and “If Snooki actually reproduces, will that cause the galaxy to implode?”

Sure, I could see any random singer being able to lasso her boyfriend / husband / son / neighbor kid into putting on Wranglers, cowboy boots and a ten-gallon hat. However, these men are not all related to her, or married to her. It would be a stretch to call them professionals, but they aren’t a random group of people she was cooking grits for one morning.

There are three possibilities: (1) Lisa Gail is famous and successful down in Texas, and these men are volunteer fans, just like 30 Seconds to Mars has rabid fans who guest star in videos and such, (2) Lisa Gail spent a bunch of her own monies to hire the cutest local “models” and “dancers” she could possibly find or (3) these were the manliest men in the feed store on Sunday afternoon and she somehow has blackmail photos on all of them.

Question No. 6: Does she have the self-awareness to understand the irony of her lyrics?

There’s nothing wrong with being a singer, actor, author, director, politician, professor or TV anchor who isn’t some kind of supermodel. I actually prefer people with some character, and talent, rather than pure eye candy, because the eye candy types expect to skate by with no talent at all, and that gets boring real quick.

HOWEVER: If you are a singer making music videos, it’s one thing to be young and hot while you sing this sort of thing. It’s another thing to be older and hot and sing this sort of thing. You can even be uglier than a three-horned toad lizard, as in Lyle Lovett, but if you’ve got talent and charm, hey, it’ll work for you. You can have a long career and perhaps even get hitched to Julia flipping Roberts, at least for a weekend or three.

This is a polite way of saying, “Honey, if I was your man — and I definitely would not be, not if you were a billionaire who didn’t mind if I had six supermodel mistresses on the side — it’d be hard for me to look at YOU for three seconds.”

Also, the real Three Second Rule that every person knows is this: “Anything you drop on the floor for less than three seconds is still sanitary and kosher and fine.” After three seconds, you slip it to the dog. Except I would not slip this video to my dog, as the Hound of the Baskervilles has better taste.