Terrible Songs That Sound Good When You’re Drunk: Journey – Don’t Stop Believing

There was period of time when everything was lame. Culture was at an all-time low, movies were long and obnoxious and Ronald Regan was president. This period was called the 1980’s. When the next generation goes to history class they will read about the 1980’s (or as I refer to it as The Dead Zone) as a blight on society. It was a time when mediocrity was admired and Gallagher was considered to be the funniest man in America. But the worst thing about the 80’s was the music. 80’s music reminds me of herpes. Just when you think it’s gone, you’re horrified to discover it’s still there. It wasn’t enough for Generation X to embrace this music, but now they have spread their horrific musical taste to their children. It’s just plain sickening.

That’s why every time you’re at a bar at some point some schmuck will walk up to the jukebox, take a dollar and actually pay to hear “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. Journey is a band made up of former members of Santana. Allegedly, Santana kicked them out of the band when he listened to them play while sober. The band got together in the mid-70’s with one goal in mind: to kill rock and roll forever. In 1981 they released their biggest single, “Don’t Stop Believing.” If the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand sparked “the war to end all wars”, Journey sparked the song to end all music.

Drunk people love this song. It speaks to them. It’s like someone peeked into their booze-soaked hearts and wrote down their pain. The opening piano riff alone can send a crowded, dank bar into an emotional outburst. The only way these people can express their loneliness is by shouting the lyrics off-key. If you don’t know the words to the song, just grab a seat four blocks away from any bar and you’ll learn them. But I assume you don’t have the time, so here is a sample:

Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world
She took the midnight train going anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train going anywhere

I’m going to stop right there because this is stupid. You can tell this is a complete eighties anthem. A song about a people who are so fed up, they take the latest train going anywhere. What are they fed up with? If this song were about me, the answer would be Journey. But it isn’t about me; it’s about two dorks whose parents wouldn’t let them play with their pet rocks. Dorkus and Malorkus (as I named them) go to a crappy concert, meet and do the nasty. The message of the song: Don’t stop believing that you can get laid even in the worst decade of the twentieth century. How inspirational.

I can’t keep bashing the decade, the band and the song because I have to get to my main point. Sure, this monster ballad is irritating but after twelve beers and a shot of bourbon, it seems like the Ninth Symphony. The fact of the matter is this song will never be removed from the jukebox. So, when I sit at the bar with my beer in hand and I hear that never-ending chorus, it brings a tear to my eye. A tear that forms from a joyful realization: Thank God I grew up in the nineties.

– Will


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