In HateSong, we ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.
The hater: As one-fifth of Cage The Elephant, Brad Shultz makes his living playing rhythm guitar on songs like “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” “Shake Me Down,” and “Mess Around.” The latter is the single from the group’s new record, Tell Me I’m Pretty, which hit stores earlier this month. Produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, the record is grimy, gritty, and thick rock ’n’ roll—a sound that stays true to the group’s Kentucky roots.
The A.V. Club: Why did you pick this song?
Brad Shultz: Well, besides just stating the obvious—
AVC: Feel free to state the obvious.
BS: It’s a shitty song. Also, it’s a slight ripoff, in the worst way possible, of Rick James’ “Super Freak.” It’s basically like they stole part of the vocal melody from that song and changed it. And just made it really horribly worse.
AVC: Which part specifically did they steal from “Super Freak”?
BS: The guitar line. If you listen to “Super Freak” and then you listen to the guitar line of the Deadeye Dick song—which, just a side note, is probably one of the worst band names ever—but if you listen to it, the melody is very similar, and then Rick James comes in, [singing] “She’s a very freaky girl” with that whole line, and they come in, [singing] “She’s a New Age girl / (Tell us what she’s like).” It’s eerily similar. But they ruin the melody.
AVC: The song’s lyrics are also pretty bad. They haven’t aged well.
BS: The song’s lyrics are… not… yeah. They’re, if not mildly, extremely sexist lyrics. Misogynistic.
AVC: That’s a good way to put it. They’re not subtle.
BS: In the most blunt way possible.
But, yeah. The song is just bad overall, in every aspect. I guess that’s why it’s my most hated song.
AVC: Let’s get into the lyrics specifically. The big line that everybody remembers is “She don’t eat meat / But she sure like the bone.” That’s rough.
BS: Yeah. It’s not the most forward-thinking song, like I said.
Here’s a funny story: When me and Matt [Shultz, also of Cage The Elephant] were kids, that song was on the radio, and you know kids are so oblivious to the meaning of lyrics or anything like that. And I don’t even think the lyrics, in this instance, carry much of a story. It’s just one offensive thing after another. But me and Matt, we had heard the song, we were probably 9 and 10 years old, and we’re sitting at the dinner table, and one of us started singing, “Mary Moe, Mary Moe, she don’t like meat but she sure likes to bone. She’s a vegetarian.” And we’re, like, singing this, and my dad was like, “What are you singing?” He was like, “Don’t you ever say that again.” And me and Matt being kids and oblivious to what the song was saying, we were like, “What?! They’re talking about a vegetarian, dad!” We were upset that he got upset at us for singing that song. But it has to be one of the worst songs ever.
AVC: The other problem with the song is that some of the lyrics are so clear, and then some of them are so unclear. For example, what’s the girl’s name? Like you, I always thought it was “Mary Moe,” but the consensus online seems to me that the lyrics say “Mary Moon.”
BS: The thing about it too is that a lot of the lyrics, if you just read them out, don’t say anything. It’s just rhyming a word with another word. “She drives a wind car / (How does she like it?) / It doesn’t get her far / (Why she doesn’t bike it?)” That is the most elementary lyric that you could probably ever think of.
AVC: I wonder where these guys are now. Making that sweet Dumb And Dumber money, I imagine.
BS: Exactly. I think maybe Lloyd Christmas secretly wrote this song.
AVC: Why did this song work in Dumb And Dumber? Maybe it was just a dumb single, and it was a dumb movie, and so they just happily went together.
BS: I would have to agree with you on that one. Jim Carrey’s ultimate shitty move was to put that song in the movie.