Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Mongrel Magazine, April 2007


that the other person probably wishes they hadn't bothered

10. I’m Satisfied With You by Hank Williams

Although barely literate, and entirely degenerate, Hank Williams remains one of the most adroit lyricists in the history of popular music. He was, after all, the man who wrote masterpieces like You Win Again and Your Cheatin’ Heart. Its probably safe, therefore, to assume that he was aware of the tightrope he was walking with the song I’m Satisfied With You.. I mean, there’s a fine line between paying tribute to your woman’s homely charms and deliberately antagonising her with faint praise. That’s the line he treads when he sings “You don’t dress up in satin / You don’t wear diamond rings / But I’m satisfied with you.”

By the time he closes this song, though, with the charming admission that “Maybe I could do better if I reached for the stars / But I’m satisfied with you”, the only logical conclusion is that he actually wants to be beaten about the head with a handbag. Either way, a true legend.

9. I’ll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy (with Faith Evans)

He’ll be missing you, Biggie. Every single day, every time he prays. Always and forever. Just not enough to write an original song about it. Prick.

8. Virtually the Entire Reggae Oeuvre by Various Artists

Haile Selassie of Ethiopia– or, to give him his full title, His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, King of Kings of Ethiopia and Elect of God – is the Jah whose praises are sung in pretty much every reggae track you’ve ever heard. When Selaisse visited Jamaica in 1966 200,000 Rastafarians turned up at the airport to welcome the man they considered to be God’s living incarnation. The fact that Selaisse was an Orthodox Christian who believed that salvation was only possible through Jesus Christ did nothing to diminish the Rastas’ ardour. Righteous.

7. Give Ireland Back To The Irish by Paul McCartney

Isn’t it wonderful how pop stars always seem to intuitively know what the answer to any given problem is? Politicians, churchmen and community leaders labour for decades to come up with workable solutions to these intractable issues. But a pop can just bounce in with their mullet haircut and platform shoes and set the world to rights in three and a half minutes.

With violence raging in Northern Ireland in the early Seventies, did Paul McCartney equivocate? Did he think, “Oh no, wait a minute… Perhaps this is only the latest flare-up of a centuries-old conflict that’s been fuelled by inequality and sectarian hatred, and exacerbated by decades of indifference from two supposedly interested governments… And maybe it’ll take a mammoth political effort by all sides to work out a framework in which their grievances of both sides can be addressed in a manner acceptable to all.” Fuck that. Macca cut straight to the heart of the issue:

“Give Ireland back to the Irish
Don’t make them have to take it away
Give Ireland back to the Irish
Make Ireland Irish today…”

What in the name of jumping Jesus was this pot-smoking, vegetarian idiot trying to say here? Make Ireland Irish…? Still, I’m sure McCartney’s former song-writing partner had a more nuanced take on the situation…

6. Luck of the Irish by John Lennon

You may suspect I’m making this one up. I kinda wish I was. The only thing that can possibly be said in Lennon’s defence here is that serious amounts of drugs must have been ingested during the composition of this song. And during its recording. And during the interval between its recording and release date. Luck of the Irish starts off unremarkably enough with some gibberish about the “poets of old Ire-land” and the “a thousand years of hunger and torture” they suffered at the hands of the Brits. (Hey, he’s only a couple of centuries out.)

It’s not until the fifth verse that Lennon’s vision really takes flight. Note how deftly he sidesteps the usual Irish clichés here, incidentally.

“If we could make chains with the morning dew
The world would be like Galway Bay
Let’s walk over rainbows like leprechauns
The world will be one big Blarney stone”

To appreciate the song’s true genius, you should be aware that (1) it is a duet with Yoko Ono, (2) its not one of Yoko’s better vocal performances, which is saying something and that (3) the verse I’ve quoted is not actually the worst one in the song. Oh yeah, and the melody Lennon’s written somehow contrives to be even worse than his lyrics. Words fail me… as they obviously did him.

5. The One I Love by REM

A simple prop to occupy your time, eh Stipe? That’s a pretty harsh description of the one you claim to love. Still, I suppose that’s just the way you sandal-wearing, tofu-eating millionaire rock stars roll.

4. Unsent by Alanais Morrissette

“Dear Terrance, I love you muchly. You’ve been nothing
but open-hearted and emotionally available and supportive
and nurturing and consummately there for me. I kept drawing you in
and pushing you away. I remember how beautiful it was to fall asleep
on your couch and cry in front of you for the first time. You
were the best platform from which to jump beyond myself, what
was wrong with me?”

Oh God, where do I start? Even by Morrissette’s impossibly low standards, Unsent is an out-and-out wankathon of sub-Dawson’s Creek DVD box set series 1-6 proportions. Christ, just look at it from this poor sap Terrance’s point of view. He’s already been dumped by, let’s be honest here, at least one of the five worst songwriters of all time. Is that not humiliating enough? Does she then have to put out a single that makes him sound like the biggest pussy that ever lived? Christ, give the man some peace, Alanis.

3. Would You Like A Bite of Cheeseburger Bobby Sands? by Anonymous

On the face of it, a thoughtful offer by the singer to share his cheeseburger with the iconic IRA hunger striker – composed, incidentally, at a time when Sands would certainly have been feeling more than a little bit peckish. However, the subsequent description of Sands as a “dirty-melly Fenian, rebel-loving motherfucker” suggests that the offer may not entirely have been on the level.

2. Star by Primal Scream

“Sister Rosa, Malcom X & Dr. King
Showed what changes we could bring
To change society
You’ve gotta change the law
Their bodies may be gone
But their spirits still live on”

An inspirational tribute to the late Rosa Parks from that tireless champion of human rights Bobby Gillespie. The only snag being that Rosa Parks died in 2005 – eight years after this track appeared on the Vanishing Point album.

1. Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton

Er, anyone else reckon the kid might have jumped?