Have to believe we are magic…

    A year ago last week, I went out on a limb and declared Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street to be the best song ever written. It was a courageous stand, and I took a lot of heat for it, but it was the right thing to do… And, I’m about to do it again.

    Today, I’d like to make an equally provocative, yet equally warranted, announcement concerning Olivia Newton John’s song Magic, from the Xanadu soundtrack. After a great deal of research and soul-searching, I hereby formally declare it to be the most unsettling song ever performed in the English language.

    I started thinking about it a few days ago, as I was driving around by myself, just as the sun was coming up. The song came on the radio, and, for some reason, instead of just mindlessly singing along, like I’ve been doing since the song came out, when I was a kid, I actually listened to the words… I mean, I really listened to them. And they freaked me the fuck out… Admittedly, I was tired and hungry, and I was probably more susceptible to being freaked out than usual, but have you ever listened to the song? It’s like she’s talking right to you, telling you to do all of this stuff. It’s totally fucking creepy.

    Here’s how it begins.

    Come take my hand
    You should know me
    I’ve always been in your mind
    You know I will be kind
    I’ll be guiding you

    Building your dream
    Has to start now
    There’s no other road to take
    You won’t make a mistake
    I’ll be guiding you

    You have to believe
    We are magic
    Nothing can stand in our way
    You have to believe
    We are magic
    Don’t let your aim ever stray
    And if all your hopes survive
    Destiny will arrive
    I’ll bring all your dreams alive
    For you
    I’ll bring all your dreams alive
    For you

    From where I stand
    You are home free
    The planets align so rare
    There’s promise in the air
    And I’m guiding you

    Through every turn
    I’ll be near you
    I’ll come any time you call
    I’ll catch you when you fall
    I’ll be guiding you…

    How is it that we have crazy people all the time killing folks because of movies like Batman, or because they imagine that famous people, like Jodie Foster, are communicating with them trough hidden messages, but no one, to my knowledge, has ever done anything even remotely terrible as a result of this song, which is clearly urging listeners to act on ominous, unspecified plans, promising that, if they do, they’ll be looked after by magic forces?

    Who the fuck needs to get messages from a talking dog when you have something like this in popular culture?

    Here it is, for those of you who have never had the pleasure. Let me know if you agree.

    [note: A close second on the all time most upsetting list would be Hellen Reddy’s Angie Baby, followed by something from the Throbbing Gristle catalog, like Hamburger Lady.]

    This entry was posted in Art and Culture, Mark's Life, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


      1. Boner
        Posted July 31, 2012 at 4:23 am | Permalink

        All I can say is she brought all my dreams alive when I was a kid.

      2. Edward
        Posted July 31, 2012 at 6:02 am | Permalink

        If by “dreams” you mean “penis”.

      3. Tommy
        Posted July 31, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

        Yep. The penis talking to the left hand is what these lyrics were all about – it should be obvious.

        Hottest. Mullett. Ever.

      4. Knox
        Posted July 31, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        I think I read that Herman Cain decided to wage his presidential campaign because of this song.

      5. anonymous
        Posted July 31, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        It worked in the context of Xanadu, in which ONJ played one of nine muses, who, if I’m not mistaken, encouraged a man to open a restaurant, or something. I think she sang this song on roller skates.

      6. Arturo
        Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        I never thought I’d see a list containing Helen Reddy, Olivia Newton John and Throbbing Gristle.

        What an incredible tour that would be.

      7. Posted July 31, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        The song Broken Wings by Mister Mister is also very creepy. As are many Barenaked Ladies songs.

        Even creepier image for you: at my first post-law school job, I worked in a prosecuting attorney’s office. One of the supervisors was completely creepy–he literally lived in his mom’s basement (always had), was in his 50s, and just nasty (look up Wilbur from the Mary Worth strip for more: http://maryworthandme.blogspot.com/2012/07/mary-worth-1364.html).

        He had this thing for ONJ and had pictures of her in his office and on his desk (nothing naked or anything). He had a video game on his computer that would make ONJ moaning sounds when he shot something and when he did something else (I forgot what), it would play the chorus to Have To Believe We Are Magic. I brought it to the attention of some other women in the office and we all agreed it was creepy and I talked to our boss about it. To his credit, “Wilbur” was very gracious and said he hadn’t even realized that it was inappropriate. Nevertheless, I can’t look at ONJ in the same way since then….

      8. Eel
        Posted July 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Genesis P-Orridge and Olivia Newton John, if I’m not mistaken, are undergoing surgery so that they become the same person.

      9. ChelseaL
        Posted August 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Um, well, I just wanted to say I’m with you on *Baker Street,* so to speak. Maybe not the best song ever, but it’s a defensible choice.

      10. Observer
        Posted August 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        How is it that the ONJ thread only has two likes, and the one about the crazy small town fascist has one hundred and fifty eight?

      11. Posted August 3, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Olivia Newton John’s grandfather was the great quantum physicist, Max Born.

      12. Bruce
        Posted October 25, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Baker street is NOT the greatest song ever but it is the creepiest. Even as a 6 year old that song gave me the creeps. I imagine it’s something a dirty old pedophile puts on before he has sex with a child.

      13. Guadalupe
        Posted November 28, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Is this song telling anyone else to kill their parents, or is it just me?

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