Tuesday, 30 May 2017

RANKED: a playlist of 20 arbitrarily chosen Wiggles songs

Initially I wrote this playlist for summer holidays, when parents are trapped in the car for prolonged periods of time, and need an escape strategy to distract the warring factions in the back seat. Then I rewrote it in Autumn, as it hadn't been the best year for beach weather, but with the day's still long, families were still be packing the kids into the car in a desperate attempt to squeeze out every drop of outdoors enjoyment possible before temperature dropped. Now it's winter, there probably isn't such a huge need for long family road trips, but even on a short journey, parents may find themselves in need of peace keeping diversions.

Any grown up worth their two cents will know the easiest way to quell such a rebellion would be to quickly switch on some child friendly tunes, preferably something pleasant to more experienced ears as well as those yet to develop true musical taste. Unfortunately, though, there are times when the Songs for Bubba CDs aren't handy, and you're forced to turn to the Wiggles. So I've trawled through the extensive back catalogue of the skivied foursome's various iterations, and have come up with a guide to which songs aren't going to be too hash on your ears, and which to give a miss in order to avoid a horrible echo through your brain keeping you awake all night.

20. Little Vampires (Cranberry Juice)
This is not necessarily a great song. In fact, it's almost definitely a very bad song. But I've included it on this playlist because it is just so fun to annoy your significant other with! What could possibly be more irritating than four fully grown adults imploring in a high pitched screech that they 'want to drink some cranberry juice, we want to drink it now'? Probably a fifth grown adult joining in singing along! Primarily included on this playlist in order to make you appreciate that the next nineteen songs actually aren't that bad.

Also explains why vampires never seem to get urine infections

19. Captain Feathersword, He Loves To Dance
Confession time. I used to like Captain Feathersword, but I'm starting to find his stereotypical pirate schtick really monotonous and irritating. I mean, it's probably my own fault, but what first or second year university student doesn't think it's hilarious to tell endless pirate jokes where the punchline is the sound Aaarrgggghhh? And who, in the early 20s, didn't think that the absolute height of wit is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? It's just, Captain Feathersword does this the whole bloody year round. And he's supposed to be the 'adult relief' character. Help us all.

Also that's not a sword, it's a bloody feather duster you pillock

18. Rock-a-bye Your Bear
Everybody clap, everybody sing, bla bla bla bla bla, turn around whoopee. Dear Lord, it just goes on and on. Your kids will expect this at some point cos it's SUCH A COOL ACTION SONG, so best get it out of the way early on

17. Shock the World
The Rugby League World Cup is coming! So how are the Wiggles going to get the youth of the planet interested? By singing about one of the hottest teams on the planet! The USA! Why the USA? Probably cos Joseph Paulo was the only league player who would show up for the video. If the Wiggles had got their way, President Obama would have put his face on Mt Rushmore!

Also he's about the only league player with a clean enough disciplinary record to appear on a kids' show

16. Do the Owl
What in the name of all that is good is this? Back in the day, The Wiggles did a collaborative album with Australia Zoo, by which I mean with Steve Irwin, rest his soul. The one problem was the Crocodile Hunter couldn't sing to save himself, so what did they do? A spoken word lecture about owls in the middle of a song that basically crams every tiny fact about owls possible into three minutes of course. Did you know owls excrete pellets made up of ground mouse bones that they've just eaten? Truly bizarre. Given Bindi Irwin seems to be currently completing any work her father left behind, expect an upgraded re-release of this song soon.

Smashing owl related pop culture reference

15. Dorothy, Would You Like To Dance With Me
A dancing dinosaur? What's next? Sure, the screechy falsetto could get irritating, but this is quite a catchy tune truth be told. Not their best, granted, but good enough to be included in any true Wiggles playlist. Also, there's a version featuring Kamahl. I don't know much about Kamahl, other than when I was a student you couldn't go into a second hand shop without seeing about ten of his albums, but he seems like a pretty cool dude.

Sadly none of his albums was called Come One, Kamahl 
14. Rock and Roll Pre-school
Another of the Wiggles special guests is Lou Diamond Phillips, who apparently was quite big in the 1980s, and hasn't aged a bit since (thanks B for Botox!). It's probably the New Wiggles' strongest guitar rock anthem since Murray's departure, and Lou's pink leather suit in the video is a sight to behold.

Nothing says Rock n' Roll like a fist pump whilst playing the Keytar 

13. Fruit Salad (Yummy Yummy)
Is it me, or does the basic musical theme of this song sound kind of sinister? Almost like some sort of broken augmented fourth? I can't help but feel that this is selling us some sort of devilish fruit based snack, one which Anthony has clearly sold his soul for, hence why he is still stuck in the Wiggles whilst all of the other OGs have escaped. Sure, he seems to be enjoying eating fruit salad, day after day, but have you seen the sadness that lies behind his eyes?

Still, it's a fun song.

12. Do The Hawk
The Wiggles love their guest performers, but you wonder what audience they were reaching out to when they recruited Wall St Journal journalist Lee Hawkins to sing lead with Simon on this song.

Get ready, to discuss financial policy 

11. Do the Propellor
I guess the New Wiggles probably needed a trademark song to call their own, and they came up with Do the Propellor. It's not a bad song, and it's got some fun dance actions to go along with, though I'd suggest they're probably not really suited to a long car journey, at risk of siblings hitting each other with their flailing appendages and thermonuclear war consequently breaking out in the back seat. Still, worth a whirl (ha! See what i did there? A whirl? Like a propellor does?)

10. Glasses
As a child I had glasses. Glasses and asthma. Oh how I was teased. I wish I had had this song to explain to my bullies that my glasses helped me to see clearly, though playing this song at 14 may well have led to more bullying. A truly destigmatising song (pun totally intended).

9. Broccoli Bunch
Have you ever wanted to learn all about broccoli, but you can't be bothered reading a boring old book? Well. The Wiggles sure do have a song for you... detailing the historical origins, the tree-like shape, and the vitamins in which broccoli is rich into a jaunty, danceable melody, Broccoli Bunch is probably in the top five songs ever written about a brassica vegetable. Even better, though, the music video features two Wiggly Dancers in full body broccoli costumes! Damn that's hot!

Unfortunately not quite this hot though 

8. Play Your Guitar With Murray
Did you know that Murray Cook was once named the fifth best guitar player in the history of Australia? You do now, and listening to this song you might be able to see why. Remember when the OG Wiggles had guitar solos, and they rocked? That was Murray, and this song is right up there in terms of his musical mastery.

7. Do The Monkey
Back in the early 80s, there was an Aussie rock band called the Cockroaches, featuring a chap called Anthony Field on guitar, and Jeff Fatt on the keys and the accordion. They had a gritty pub rock anthem called Do The Monkey. In 1991, Anthony and Jeff left to become children's entertainers, and sanitized their monkey song. Anthony started wearing toe shoes, and Jeff kept playing accordion. But both versions of the song still hold up. True story.

This video confuses me so much 

6. The Suarez Last Supper
Remember when Luis Suarez bit that Italian guy at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil? Even if you don't like sportsball you should definitely remember that. The Wiggles wrote a song about it! And it was so much better than the song it was based on (Feeling Hungry), and even betterer than the song that that was based on (Funiculi Funicula). Topical comedy for adults at its finest. Cannabalistic themes may scare the youngest audiences though.

Also, Anthony FINALLY stops eating fruit salad in favour of a muddy old football 

5. Big Red Car
You can't have a road trip without the big red car. Whether you're chilling in the backseat playing your guitar, fast asleep having a little rest, or eating SO MUCH FOOD, Big Red Car really sets the agenda when getting from A to B on four wheels. The newer Wiggles have tried to shake the vehicular sound up with a new song entitled BRC (is the Big Red Car), but this is the true masterpiece fit for any journey, no matter how long or short it may be. Also the music video is kinda reminiscent of those old Ronald McDonald Click Goes the Seatbelt ads.

Ronald wasted his plagiarism payout on trying to make the Fillet of Fish popular

4. Hot Potato
Hot Potato? More like Scorching Megahit! One of the better known songs, and you can see why. Such simple lyrics, detailing some of the band's favourite foods (cold spaghetti? Each to their own, I suppose). And how about the video? Probably some of the finest moves that Murray, Jeff, Anthony and Greg ever laid down, with arms flailing, knees bent, feet a-twisting, the urge to get up and dance is just too strong to exist at times. Which is hardly ideal for a long road trip, I suppose. Still, Gimme that, gimme that, gimme that funky beat.

3. Ooey Ooey Allergies
If there's one thing I appreciate as a doctor, it's that parents are faced with such a massive amount of medical information of varying accuracy coming at them from all directions. That's why I was so relieved when the OG Wiggles released Ooey Ooey Allergies as one of their last new songs together. All the information kids could need, simplified: allergies might make you think you have a cold! These foods cause allergies! If you have an allergy, tell an adult! Don't share your food! And a video with giant bacon costumes! Why can't all medical PSAs be communicated through this medium? I'm still waiting for their follow up song, (You'd Better) Vaccinate Yo'self before you Hate Yo'self.

2. Have A Good Day (Kia Pai to Rā)
They said New Zealand! They sang about New Zealand! How has this song, featuring Brown Wiggle Robbie Rakete, not won all our music awards and become our national anthem yet?

And this image would have easily won the flag referendum 

1. Wake Up Jeff
What a banger. No intro save a quick glissando, and straight into the first emphatic, riotous chorus. And the whole gang are here: Greg, Murray and Anthony are all awake, the Captain is shouting, and Dorothy, Wags and Henry are all dancing along too, in a desperate attempt to rouse Jeff in time for the show. And if that wasn't enough to wake up the narcoleptic purple Wiggle, after the second verse, Muzza shows exactly why he was once named 'possibly the most influential guitarist in the world' by Guitar Magazine, and launches into the best solo in Wiggles, if not Australian music, history. Of course, the song couldn't be complete without a few words from the man himself, as he scolds his friends for making so much noise: he's trying to get some sleep! When I worked in the hospital system I had a boss called Jeff, and if I ever needed to call him in the middle of the night I'd always start singing this when he answered the phone. I'd like to think it always lessened the blow of his slumber being disturbed for what would probably end up being quite a trivial problem.

Of course, this masterpiece was later adapted into the frankly lesser Wake Up Lachy. But still, it remains a yardstick of musicianship for the ages.

OK, that bit about my boss was a lie, but it did inspire this amazing joke 

Happy travels Fam.