Nomination for Worst Song of All Time: Cat Stevens’ “Moon Shadow”

In the world of social nihilism, there is plenty of wonderful, uplifting, melodic, Big Beat music, but there is also a dark legacy of truly awful music that circulates in perpetuity, in competition, in flagrante delicto. Classical music occupies the first seat, forever, a beatless, vapid waste of natural energy. This condemns an entire oeuvre, an entire half-millennium of turgid, affected sawing and tooting that makes even boredom cry in exasperation. Pop music is its antidote, its conqueror, and it is still, though there were several strains of this magnificent populist celebration of life and action that verged into that anhedoic territory, none more so in the 70s than folk music.

The zither. Cantabridgian roundelays. Contra dancing, These are forms of death, enticements to oblivion, and to FSN music critics they were the backdrop to youthhood. In elementary school class and in the Catholic backwaters, bloodless strumming and comatose warblings were supposed to edify the little wretched urchlings, and yet to at least one it did not take. This was awful, treacly, prison-suitable non-music, and yet one exemplar of it reached the AM charts: Cat Stevens’ beyond-hideous “Moon Shadow.” Terrible, tremulous  singing, morose melody, and spectacularly inept lyrics, and a oppressive folkish sincerity make this the Worst Song of All Time.

Yes, the idiot is being “followed by a moon shadow.” If so, the idiot should simply stop moving, song over. No one in the history of the human race has ever confided this to another :”You know, ah, I’m kind of a little jumpy tonight. Something’s not right. I think – omigod – that I am being followed by a MOONSHADOW!” Moonshadow-following  is not high on the list of humanity’s on-going psychic crises. It is not in the DSM-V. No one on earth cares about shadows from the moon, not in any culture, let alone one with established science. Perhaps one pre-literate deranged serf in Northumberland did mention something about being “fol’owoed” by a “moen shadowoe” to his therapist in 1224, but he was immediately and summarily  planted in a cabbage row. There have been no further cases of moon-shadow-following paranoia praecox (MSFP) recorded, yet here is the song, the rest of which is devoted to having the narrator-idiot’s physcial extremities being auto-chopped off, one by one, which makes no sense at all except complete and utter perversion and depravity.

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg,
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won’t have to walk no more.

And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south,
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won’t have to talk…

Why would anyone besides a serial killer listen such abominable dreck? This should have been buried beneath heavy water reactor nuclear waste, never to trouble the minds of any sane human being, let alone some poor, questing lonely boy desperate to escape the confines of folksih 70s America.

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