Friday, July 6, 2012

Let the "Good Time" Roll!: 9 Odes to Joy

"I feel every artist is inherently granted one shot at singing about having a good time in his or her life, and six months ago, I realized I hadn't cashed in my chips yet," Adam Young (aka Owl City) recently told MTV News.

A blind man could see that's just Young's way of rationalizing the chasing of an easy hit by hooking up with pop's It Girl of the moment. (And indeed, "Good Time" by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen debuted on Billboard's Hot 100 this week at No. 18.)

But Owl City might be on to something besides a belated follow-up hit to his 2009 No. 1 single "Fireflies." Yes, everyone deserves to have a "Good Time" at least once in their career, but so few have actually done so. When I embarked on this morning's project -- coming up with "Good Time" song titles -- I had to think a lot harder than I did several months ago when I wrote about that old pop tendency to put it in a "love song."

When artists do cash in their chips and let bacchanalia rule, though, everybody wins. Songs with "Good Time" in the title (singular or plural) almost always seem to live up to it.

"Good Time" Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen Take two mediocre singers of No. 1 songs I hate, put them together, and what do you get? The second instant guilty pleasure of what is quickly becoming my summer of shame!

"Good Times Bad Times" Led Zeppelin First impressions are everything, and Led Zeppelin made one of the best ones ever with this, the opening track of the band's 1969 self-titled debut album.

"For the Good Times" Al Green  Kris Kristofferson wrote it, and in 1970, Ray Price turned it into a massive crossover hit (No. 1 country, No. 11 pop), but Green is the living legend who made it epic.

"Good Times" Chic It's always struck me as strange and unfortunate that the best year for disco, 1979, was also pretty much the last year for disco.

"Good Times Roll" The Cars Another "Good Times" opening track from a self-titled debut, 10 years after Led Zeppelin's. How is it that this 1979 single, one of the most fondly remembered in the entire Cars discography, never got higher than No. 41 on Billboard's Hot 100?

"Good Times" Willie Nelson Are the good times really over for good? (As Merle Haggard would ask two years later, in the title of his 1982 No. 2 country hit.)

"Good Times" INXS and Jimmy Barnes Sadly, among '80s movies featuring retro-hunky casts, this 1987 film about teen vampire before teen vampires were cool (the soundtrack spawned this single) never attained quite the same cult-classic status as The Outsiders, from four years earlier.

"Good Times" Edie Brickell Despite the song's title (which in the lyrics is immediately followed with "bad times," and three tracks later on the excellent Picture Perfect Morning album, with "Hard Times"), the great, underrated Brickell got her solo career off to a typically downbeat start in 1994, wisely inviting Barry White to boost listeners' spirits with one of his patented spoken-word interludes.

"Good Times" Theme from the 1974-1979 TV sitcom Yet another reason -- along with the themes from Maude, One Day at a Time and Alice -- why the '70s was the best pop-culture decade ever.

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