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: Jen and Sylvia Soska are Canadian identical twins who self-financed their debut film, Dead Hooker In A Trunk, and have gone on to carve out a career making visually striking and dark movies like American Mary and the sequel to See No Evil. Their latest film, the violent revenge thriller Vendetta from WWE Studios, is out now in theaters and On Demand.
The hated: Sheppard, “Geronimo” (2014)
The A.V. Club: You picked a pretty recent song. Why did you choose this one?
Sylvia Soska: It’s really weird, because in the morning I like to put on a mix of my favorite songs and there’s this playlist called “Happy Morning Tunes” and I love it, until “Geronimo” hits every. Single. Time. I always forget and I’m like, “Oh, no. Is this ‘Geronimo’ by Sheppard?” and Jen is like, “No, no. It couldn’t be. It just played, like, five minutes ago.” And it plays again and again. And I think there’s a character, also called Geronimo, in Duck Tales and he’s like this stupid scientist, so I think it was just imprinted in me that as soon as I hear that name it makes me have this level of rage that I’m not even comfortable expressing.
AVC: Surely you can just remove it from the playlist.
SS: I have deleted it so many times! It keeps coming back! I’m not lying. It’s haunting us.
Jen Soska: I don’t know if you’ve seen our films, but we’re not happy-go-lucky-take-your-shoes-off-and-stick-your-feet-in-the-sand kind of girls and I think that song is the embodiment of that feeling and I just loathe it, which is weird because Syl and I love a lot of other happy little pop songs. Like Katy Perry. Love her.
SS: Sometimes we’ll listen to “Geronimo” and it gets us; it gets us right until the chorus when it comes in and says “Geronimo” and we’re like, “Goddamnit, Geronimo! Why were you on again?!”
AVC: You mentioned that people who watch your films may not think of you as shiny, happy people, but given that you have a playlist filled with these get-up-and-go songs, it’s surprising you would single this one out. What is it about this one that makes you go, “Son of a bitch!”?
JS: It’s not super creative. Saying “Geronimo” like that over and over again isn’t creative lyric-wise, but it’s one of those songs that people hang on to for simplicity.
SS: And the thing is, the playlist goes into those other sugary, happy, poppy songs that I actually adore. Every time I hear “I Really Like You” [by Carly Rae Jepson], I get super excited and then it’s usually followed by “Geronimo” and I’m like, “No. I don’t like your positivity. For whatever reason, I don’t accept it.” I don’t know why. It’s just stabbed into our soul or something.
JS: I just can’t even explain how much we hate it or why. It’s not that it’s better or worse than most songs; it just pisses us off.
SS: I looked into this guy afterwards and he seems cheery and everything he does is awesome, it’s just this one song.
JS: It’s his big hit.
SS: It’s his big hit and it was like it was designed to get under our skin and make us crazy angry in the morning.
AVC: There’s a bunch of abstract lyrics espousing, ‘We can do it!’ and an up-with-people mentality, but in that calculated, “We don’t want to get too particular or alienate anybody from joining in our big, happy sing-along.”
JS: Yeah, it’s like a generic anthem. It’s just like a generic, not even a “fuck yeah” song, because I love me a good “fuck yeah” song, but it’s more like a “heck yeah” song.
SS: It’s very safe, generic, and happy lyrically. It’s just all about big very positive things. “You can go do it” and I guess maybe I want to hear about his downfall and that he took that leap and he broke his leg and his bone is jutting out. But again, that might be my own psyche and have nothing to do with the songwriter.
AVC: It’s very One Direction, but it’s been even more neutered so it doesn’t offend anybody. It felt very One Direction to me when I was listening to it, but without even what little edge you could ascribe to that group.
JS: It’s such fluff and it’s not even great fluff. We go back to Katy Perry, but that’s great turn-off-your-brain music. There’s usually a really killer video and she looks awesome and the design is great. But this—“Geronimo” doesn’t say anything other than ‘Yay’ for no reason, but life isn’t a ‘Yay for no reason’ occasion.
SS: I think after a few years pass I want to check him out; like, five years in the future and I want to have his angry album. The album where it’s like, “Yeah, I did try to say ‘Geronimo’ and it didn’t work for me, man! And now it’s just about metal!”
JS: You think he’s going to go all Kurt Cobain? He’s going to get all dark and dialed down?
SS: I kind of want him to go into Norwegian death metal. I want to hear him go into Mayhem kind of stuff and maybe all that sugariness is covering his real voice. Could his real voice be that generic and sugary?
JS: I do feel that real, good art should say something and this feels like over-produced sugar. It’s like cereal; it’s like one of those cereals they try to pass off as healthy for your kids. I don’t want to say it’s Lucky Charms because I enjoy Lucky Charms, but it’s the nutritional value of Lucky Charms.
SS: Would you say it’s the Cap’n Crunch of pop, right now?
JS: Yeah, I would.
SS: Count Chocula?
JS: It could be the Froot Loops.
SS: Oh, that’s a letdown.
JS: It’s a disappointment.
AVC: It does seem like the song where a few years from now—whether he goes into Norwegian death metal or not—you can see him looking back and going, “Oh, what was I thinking?!”
SS: [Laughs.] And the thing is, it’s probably the safest, most commercial thing on his album, so it’s probably the one that got pushed the most. It’s always interesting because I have a few friends who are musicians and the stuff that gets the most radio play is always the safest, most poppy kind of—like, people can just turn it on and not think about it. “Geronimo” could play at a Toys ‘R’ Us, it could play at a Boston Pizza.
JS: It could play in a Pixar movie.
SS: Over my dead body will that song play in a Pixar movie! [Jen laughs.]
JS: That’s probably what’s going to happen. I’m going to be watching a movie and be super psyched. The Lego Movie—it would fit right in. “Geronimo” with “Everything Is Awesome” is right there.
SS: Why are you doing this?! Why are you giving it more of a life? I just want it to disappear into obscurity and never be heard again. I just want to bury it in the desert like that Atari version of E.T. where they had too many and they’re like, “We’ll just have to bury it in the Earth and the Earth will have to take it back.” [Jen laughs.]
AVC: This band Sheppard is a family band. It’s like three siblings that play the instruments and do the singing and everything, and I feel like they could easily be a Hanson thing where 15 years from now they’re still around doing their thing and they have their same fan base, and they’re still singing “Geronimo.”
JS: That’s altogether possible. I thought there was one Hanson member left.
AVC: I thought Hanson still had all three brothers involved. Did the other two brothers bail?
JS: Yeah, I believe two of them bailed and the other did the obvious thing and cut his hair short. [All three brothers are still in Hanson, the band simply added two supporting members in 2007.—ed.]
SS: You never know what’s going to happen in the future, because look at the video for “White And Nerdy” by Weird Al. Donnie Osmond rules there, like he kills there. So maybe the “Geronimo” family, they’re doing this at first, then they’re going to go do Joshua Tree and really discover who they are and find a new sound.
JS: I feel bad that they’re family. I still hate the song, but I can just imagine this little Brady Bunch family and they’re just like, “Oh, someone mentioned our song! Oh, it’s these girls, cool!” [Sylvia laughs.] That’s how it’s going to go. Then they’ll read it and it’s like, “It’s so mean!”
SS: It’s also because we’re Canadian. It’s really hard to say we hate something because [Uses Canadian accent.] we don’t do that, eh! We’re very peaceful and positive. [Normal voice.] That might just be our country’s way of dealing with Celine Dion and Justin Bieber which, I’ve noticed, internationally aren’t as celebrated as they are in our great, white north.
JS: We don’t have that many celebrities so we really need to embrace the few that we have.
SS: [Laughs.] I really like William Shatner’s album, though. The spoken-word [album].
AVC: William Shatner’s album, I think we can all rally around that one. But does Canada still actually love Justin Bieber or has he fallen in their estimation as well?
SS: You know what, the interesting thing about Justin Bieber, you may have noticed him in the “I Really Like You” video and then they released that nice little interview of him singing in the car and being real. I think his marketing team is like, “Okay, dude. You were in your 20s and rich for a while. We get it, but now we have to re-market you so that you’re likable.” But I bet in two years, everyone is going to be talking about how much they love him because there’s going to be this giant push.
JS: If I had that much money that young, I would have been so much worse. Oh my God, I would have been like a dictator in Canada.
SS: Jen, would you have said, “Geronimo”?
JS: No, I wouldn’t have. [Sylvia laughs.] I might have said, “Baby, baby, baby, ooo / Baby, baby, baby, yeah.”
SS: If you had gotten such good stuff, maybe we wouldn’t be humping it over a horror and action movie. Maybe we’d be an international sensation like the Biebs!
JS: We should just have a lip sync or a karaoke battle with the “Geronimo” family.
SS: Actually, I want to direct their music video now, put some edge in there. Like, “Guys, the message is very plain like a flavorless doughnut; let’s put some spice in it and paprika the whole thing!”
JS: I bet their managers would love that. Just dye all their hair black!
SS: Get the prosthetic team, get a lot of monsters in there, get some gore effects and see how many people we can get. We can go fun and games with it.
JS: This might lead to a job for us; this could be good.
SS: This will definitely not lead to a job for us.
JS: [Laughs.] If it does, we have to come back and discuss working with them.
AVC: Even just describing it, I bet you could sell them on it. It sounds like you want them to succeed, just not with this particular song.
SS: It’s true. Every time I say something I’m not a gigantic fan of, I look at it and am like, “How can I make this better?” I’d have a lot of fun doing something like that, especially since it’s such a counterpoint, we could probably do a really cool Home Invasion style short film with a video of theirs and keep it, like, really cutesy and really poppy and really fresh and make it like this weird juxtaposition for people.
JS: You’d make a counterpoint? I guarantee you no one is saying, “For your next video, the three of you, you’re home, you’re singing, Home Invasion.”
SS: Think about when Mickey Rourke was in an Enrique Iglesias video. That was hardcore and he ended up getting beaten to death. Who would have thought Enrique would do that.
JS: Mickey Rourke, actually, beats Enrique to death.
SS: He’s still alive, dude!
JS: That’s the one with Jennifer Love Hewitt and she cries over him in slow motion. I love a good slow-motion cry.
SS: Okay, so we want the Mickey Rourke magical, Jennifer Love Hewitt slow-motion video for Sheppard. We’re willing to do that, or we’re willing to do a Funny Games-style home invasion. It’s up to them, really.
AVC: I bet they’d be up for it. Have you seen the video for this song? They’re all acting their butts off in it.
JS: I was afraid to look and see if there was a video.
SS: But you know what? I’m going to watch the video as soon as I’m done with this conversation and they’re going to be just so likable and I’ll feel like the biggest dickhead in the world, because I’ve done that so many times before. We’re giant comic book freaks and we badmouthed Dan Slott, and then find out that Dan Slott is, like, the nicest person on the planet and I’m like, “Dammit!”
AVC: The main girl singer in this, she looks like she’s just waiting to be cast in a Soska sisters movie. She’s got green hair and she’s the one singing the “bombs away” part after the “Geronimo.”
SS: That’s the funniest thing that you would mention that, because we’re actually looking for a pop singer for our new movie that we’re literally casting right now called Plastic, so who knows? Maybe this will be the catalyst for it. She’ll hear this and say, “You know what, girls? I’m into it! Why not?!”
JS: That’s a great origin story.
SS: A great origin story.
JS: We hated her! We hated your song and now we’ve cast you!
SS: That would sound like it was totally set up, though. Yeah, you just happened to mention them during your interview… sure.
AVC: You could make a positive change in this girl’s life.
SS: And you would be the catalyst for that. I feel like you’ve earned an executive producer credit for that at this point.
JS: At least an associate producer’s credit.
SS: At least.
AVC: Okay, we’ll talk about that as soon as I turn off the recorder.
JS: Our people will call your people. [Sylvia laughs.]