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DOB on Road Runner vs. Dream On

Posted by Jim Botticelli  December 20, 2013 11:15 PM

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Jonathan Richman. Courtesy of SurfingSaxophone.com

And so it has come to this. What will our official state song be?  And it is runoff between Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner" and Aerosmith's "Dream On", both early 70's 'local' hits. And how different they are in all ways.

Straight out the gate I'm-a-go with Richman. The tune is an ego-free stream of consciousness rave-up celebrating the simplicity driving around aimlessly, with the radio on, through a neon-inflected subterranean wonderland called Massachusetts where you roar by Stop & Shop in love with modern girls and rock & roll. With the power of the AM. Although a radio fan, Richman never compromised to get his own music on the radio. Jonathan Richman dresses like a regular guy and presents himself as an individualist unafraid to utter unique phrases that hold together as only he can make them do so. If you need further evidence see the lyrics to his classic Pablo Picasso. While you're at it, don't miss "New England", "Hospital" and "You're Crazy For Taking The Bus".

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Steven Tyler. Courtesy of Billboard.com

Why not Aerosmith's "Dream On" for Massachusetts' Official State Song? That the question even exists astounds me. "Dream On" is one of thee most wretched of the wretched Power Ballad genre, a form of rock and roll so tasteless that only the preening narcissists who shrieked them (shrieking ballads? WTF?) could believe in them. Their supporters at the State House must still be recovering from the same hangover that Aerosmith has. Tyler represents the most obscene of these cock-of-the-walk rock types, the type who can turn 60 and still dress and act like he's still 15, an unlikable 15, the Peter Pan of sellout rock. I won't bore you with the mundane lyrics, easily found here. Let's just gather his voters in a tribal circle to sing a resounding rendition of "Smoke On The Water". And stick with "Roadrunner" without a second thought. Please.

But hey. That's just me.

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This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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