Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ten Things Popular Music Wants You to Shake

"Shake" must be one of the most popular words in popular music. Usually it's shorthand for 'dance', because for some reason pop artists believe that if they don't remind you to every now and then, it would never occur to you to dance to music.

Just what they ask you to shake, though, is frequently strange, to say the least.



1.YOUR BOOTY: As suggested by KC and the Sunshine Band, among others, this practical advice is great for pirates who want to know what's in that treasure chest before they open it, just like your sister used to do with her Christmas presents on the 24th of December. Alternately, it's good advice for babies who want to exercise their rapidly-developing leg muscles.Shake Your Booty

2.YOUR TAIL FEATHER: Ray Charles rather famously suggested that freakish human-bird mutants not be denied the opportunity to dance on the dance floor. Alternately, of course, it could have been the call of a chicken farmer trying to confuse his produce before beheading them (or cheering thm on after). Ray Charles always seemed like he might have been a farmer at heart. He did record country music, after all.Shake your Tail Feather

3.YOUR BON-BON: The multilingual Ricky Martin certainly got his linguist on with this song, which suggested that people who speak French shake their candies. His song never suggested which ones, although Milk Duds for example make a decent rattle in their boxes. Or Bridge Mixture. After all, that stuff ought to be good for something, right? It sure ain't for eating.Shake Your Bonbon

4.YOUR KITTY: PETA's angry with Lady Gaga for her 'meat dress', a dress she wore for the cover of a Japanese magazine that was made of nothing more than dead animal flesh and sheer desperation. But she should have been on their hitlist already, for never has a more flagrant exhortation to feline abuse been recorded. Poor kitties: is this really the treatment they deserve?Poor Kitten About to be Shaken

5.YOUR MONEYMAKER: This one reminds me of Tom Hanks busting in on Leonardo DiCaprio in France on Christmas Day at the end of that Spielberg movie. If only Leo had given his ol' printing press a good shake, it might have impressed Elmore James, the Black Crowes and Ludacris, all of whom have asked that this be shaked. If you want to stay within the law, of course, your only hope is to shake the U.S. Mint. Good luck.Shake Your Moneymaker

6.YOUR TREE: Actually, Steve Miller doesn't want you to shake your tree, he wants to do it for you. Because he loves your peaches. In fact, lovey dovey all the time. If that doesn't make much sense, don't worry. Few Steve Miller lyrics do, unless you're a midnight toker. Using 'I want to shake your tree' as a sexual metaphor is an example of the Pompatus of Love, the mystical tongue spoken by Steve "Maurice" Miller.Shake Your Tree

7.THE DISEASE: Trust Depeche Mode to bring the gloom. Soundtracking teenage angst for several generations now, Depeche Mode can always be counted on to include references to darkness, death, decay and other words starting with 'd' whenever possible. Shaking the disease is actually something that, apparently, is hard for Dave Gahan to do. So this isn't actually a call to dance, which is good, because I wouldn't want to go on that dancefloor. Not without a bottle of Lysol, anyway.Shake the Disease

8.HANDS: Ah, good old sexless Nickelback. While everyone else is thinking up metaphors, they just want to affirm an agreement. Yeah, probably with the devil in exchange for their souls or something, but still... you've got to admire their old-fashioned values... except that that's not how the song goes. It's actually an attempt to make a joke. The woman in the song doesn't shake hands. What she shakes is, in fact, her moneymaker - a phrase way creepier out of Nickelback's mouth than some old blues guy. This is how they remind me of why I can't stand them.Shaking Hands in a Sexless Way

9.THE FOUNDATIONS: AC/DC is perhaps asking you to shake the part of your house that goes into the ground and keeps it stable, which I wouldn't advise for obvious safety reasons. The unaging Australian hard-rock combo might, alternately, be asking women to shake certain products in their make-up box. Which has no known safety risk associated with it. Of course, they might be asking you to shake a charity organisation. Like perhaps the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If, of course, they mean shake down Bill Gates, I'm all for it.Shake the Foundations

10.WHAT YOUR MAMA GAVE YOU: If you ask my mother, she'd say this means you should shake a decent education, a roof over your head, and the best years of her life. But presumably that won't get many parties started.Shake What Your Mama Gave You

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