Showdown! The week's best music parody: 'South Park' vs. Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow vs. the Vegan Black Metal Chef
Pop music is often best when it has a sense of humor or at lease some self-awareness. Absent both, you end up with this. So witness the first-ever Pop & Hiss pop music parody showdown!
Argument for: Vegans have a tendency to lean toward the sanctimonious side of the spectrum, which makes them an easy target for parody (Dear vegans, don't write in. Pop & Hiss loves you, too). Additionally, the concept of domesticating the satanic theatricality of black metal is simple but downright effective. Finally, cooking instructions-turned lyrics like this are gold: "Crush the potatoes with a mace! And show them no mercy."
Argument against: With a second video at more than 12 minutes, the Vegan Black Metal Chef pushes the boundaries of the Internet attention span, which means some of the biggest laughs — the commentary on Farmer's Markets and the order to lick your Brussels sprouts "seductively" — demand a patient viewer. Also, the initial surprise of the first video in the series can't quite be replicated. But really, these are minor quibbles. It's the Vegan Black Metal Chef. That should say enough. (Times rules forbid the video from being embedded above, because it contains strong language.)
Argument for: Once a genial pop singer and once something of a rock 'n' roll bad boy, Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock have pulled a fast one on the public, showing that all it takes is a generic ballad with images of rain and a nod to hard-livin' past to hoodwink mainstream Nashville. Look at those two — still relevant and all grown up! Well, sort of, as Crow's short dress offers a role for her underwear. It's equal parts hilarity and marketing genius.
Argument against: There's no denying that Crow knows her way around a ballad, and she deserves props for not breaking character when singing a lyric like, "Seeking shelter like a spark in the rain." If it's just a lil' spark, it's not going to have much of a chance to find shelter, but whatever, it gets the requisite storm off the lyrical checklist. Watch it here.
Argument for: Where to begin? In this brief clip, which, again, Times rules forbid from embedding, we see the desperation to remain current in rock 'n' roll as well the compromises made just for a chance to get noticed. Also, the name Steamy Ray Vaughn! A wonderful mockery of an always inane band name formula, from the Wynona Riders in the late '80s to the more currently absurd Com Truse. All of this while we're reminded that each generation is supposed to reject the music of the others. And this hasn't even mentioned how the brief post-punk electronics of "Rattlesnake" would sound just fine on stage at the Pitchfork Music Fest.
Argument against: If the Vegan Black Metal Chef risks running too long, "Rattlesnake" is just a tad too short. Also, when it comes to "South Park" music parodies, "Rattlesnake" may not quite top "Circle of Poo" or "Gay Fish" or even an animated Bono's yells of "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!"
— Todd Martes
Images, all screenshots: The Vegan Black Metal Chef, taken from Episode 2, posted on YouTube. Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow is taken from the CMT.com video of the performance. The "South Park" image comes from the South Park Studios Web site.