Schmaltzy vs Schlocky

My phab phemale phriend, Jeanome , refused to allow me to email her an AAC of “Beach Baby”, fearing that it would be too much schmaltz. Schmaltz???

Scott “Palo-stud-puhpet” actually disagreed with my assessment of the Best Pop Song EVER…I am shocked to inner stillness. But his suggestion of “Lonely Boy” is schmaltz…NOT schlock.

Clearly, we need a distinction.

A schmaltzy song, to my way of thinking, involves one or more of the following topics:

  • passing of generations
  • passing of a loved one
  • passing of a pet

In other words, maudlin maudlin maudlin!

Now, a schlocky song, on the other hand, is one that isn’t very well-made, but it’s dumb fun, and makes me smile. Schlocky songs:

  • are about luv, not LOVE
  • say ‘baby’ a LOT
  • usually have complex harmonies that sound simple

Schmaltzy songs: “Alone Again, Naturally” — Gilbert O’Sullivan (rolling eyes at the name) “Seasons in the Sun” — Terry Jacks “Shannon” — must have blocked it out…Henry Gross, I think.

So…death of family, death of self, death of dog.

Schlocky songs: “Heartbeat, It’s a Love Beat” — The DeFranco Family “Beach Baby” — First Class “Julie, Do Ya Love Me?” — Bobby Sherman

Here we have….a 12 yr old boy and his brothers & sisters singing about nebulous ‘Luv”, a song about a summer and a girl and spilled soda….and an anthemic nod to girl from a boy with a crush.

Schlocky songs make me happy…make me want to bounce around. Schmaltzy songs, on the other hand, make me uncomfortable in all those same places where, say, sand would be uncomfortable.

Very simple. Very easy.