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Phil Collins' 'In The Air Tonight': Why This Song Sucks

[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]

Song: Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight"

History: "In The Air Tonight" was the first single of the solo Phil Collins era. Lots of people know it. You (probably) know it. Your friends (probably) know it. If you have a kid older than, say, 17-years-old, your kid (probably) knows it. If your kid has a kid, your kid's kid (probably) doesn't know it. Oh, also: Shaq used it in a song of his on his 1996 album, You Can't Stop The Reign, because nobody was brave enough to tell Shaq that the Orlando Magic drafted him to put a ball in a hoop, not to make rap albums with silly titles.

You Can't Stop The Reign came out the same year Shaq didn't win an NBA title.
You Can't Stop The Reign came out the same year Shaq didn't win an NBA title.

Atmospherics: Spooky, slow-mo, midnight forebodingness; impending doom; oh lords.

Scientific Analysis: Collins wrote "In The Air Tonight" after divorcing a woman he assumed would never stop loving him. He was angry, apparently. He's said as much in interviews. And that's cool, I suppose. Except knowing that that's the reason he wrote it takes it from being this mysterious brilliant thing into one giant big dick move. And dick moves are not supported by science, bro.

Dick Move
Dick Move

To wit: When I was 13-years-old, I went to this dance they were having at my middle school. I was supposed to meet up with a girl there. The girl was my girlfriend, but at middle schools in the '90s that just meant that when I saw her on campus I'd give her handwritten letters that were mostly lyrics from rap songs. It's not like girlfriends in middle school today, where instead of giving them handwritten letters you get them pregnant and then they have to drop out of school.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Anyway, when I got to the dance, I saw her holding hands with this dude that I'd played on the basketball team with named Antonio (I'll never forget him; fuck you if you're reading this, Antonio Suarez). It was an ultimate dick move. ULTIMATE.

My response: A couple of weeks later, I happened across his younger sister, 6th grade Samantha. She was walking to class with her friends, going down this small set of stair steps. I was behind her. I saw her and, real smooth, was like, "Yo, sup?"; gave her the smokey eyes, yo. I wasn't literally singing T.L.C.'s "Red Light Special" to her, but I was singing that shit to her, y'know. She looked back, smiled, and was like, "Oh, hey," then giggled. She was making the same face my wife makes when she watches old Prince videos on YouTube. Bam, trap set. It was a wrap.

Then when she turned back around, I gave her a nice little shove down the stairs. ULTIMATE ULTIMATE dick move, bro.

Does that sound like science to you? Because it sure as shit doesn't sound like science to me.

Conclusions:

(I) Dear Athletes: STOP RAPPING.

(II) Phil Collins would make for the worst lifeguard of all-time.

(III) Antonio Suarez is not a real class act.

See also: Rock Out with Your Lock-Out: Five Awful Athlete Songs

[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]

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