Single: “Thong Song,” Sisqó
Has there ever been written a more profoundly passionate and sincere ode to underwear — or any garment, for that matter — than Sisqó’s “Thong Song”? And what makes for good music if not conviction? A compelling melody? Check. An engaging beat? Yep. Lyrical craft? Well, we’ll let him slide on that one. Sure, the juxtaposition of grave “Eleanor Rigby”–sounding strings and lines like “She had dumps like a truck” is ludicrous, but if a rapper widely considered to be the greatest ever can quote Austin Powers over a dead-serious Ennio Morricone sample, why can’t Sisqó reference Ricky Martin? (Yeah, I just compared Sisqó to Jay-Z. What of it?) Rolling Stone readers recently voted “Thong Song” the ninth most annoying song of all time. More annoying than Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” (number 11) and Eiffel 65’s “Blue” (number 14)? Seriously? If a soul banger’s catchy, danceable celebration of G-bangers is annoying, well, then send me to the annoying factory. If you don’t have the track handy (not sure why you wouldn’t, but whatever), google “YouTube Thong Song” and give a listen. Check the über-dramatic key change after the breakdown, at around the 3:15 mark. “I don’t think you heard me!” Sisqó belts, voice dripping with emotion. Don’t worry, Sisq — we hear you loud and clear.

— Will Spitz


Country: France
Hypocrisy is a universally human trait, and nature seems to have endowed the French with more than their fair share of it. But to hold that against the French is, well, unnatural. We don’t expect naturally intense New Yorkers to be laid back, or genetically gracious Southerners to be rude, so why should we expect the know-it-all cheese eaters to be anything but Gallic?

The United States was built on the shoulders of French hypocrisy. It was the blockade of Yorktown by the French fleet that was the key to George Washington’s victory over the British. In fact, King Louis XVI more or less bankrupted his nation to help the American revolutionaries shake off the chains of King George III. While Louis was busy helping our rabble-rousers stick it to the Brits, he was busy suppressing his own homegrown revolutionaries, who — when they got the chance — chopped off Louis’s head. Even a nation of hypocrites has a limit to its tolerance. So next time a tired old fart or an energetic young fogy starts to complain that the US saved the Frogs’ lily pad when we bailed them out during WWII, tell them to relax — and eat some cheese.

To be annoyed by French perversity is an exercise in futility. They do it so well. When France failed to enlist in America’s jihad against terrorism, many — such as Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh — dismissed them as surrender monkeys. Well, the French do wonderful things with bananas. Parisians were, no doubt, mordantly pleased with themselves as the Bushies slipped on their own banana peels. Pass the flambé.

Every nation needs to come to terms with its own particular forms of national shame. And, all things considered, France has let itself off lightly when it comes its shameful record of collaboration with the Nazis. As one wit has said: France is just like Germany, but with better food. But that’s something. Eat up.

—Peter Kadzis

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