Jeff Pearlman

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When bad songs turn good songs

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In our household, there’s this phenomenon where bad songs become good songs, even though we know, truly, they’re bad songs.

It started, oh, seven or eight years ago, when all my kids wanted to hear was Laura Branigan’s “Gloria.” We stepped up to the next level shortly thereafter, when “Twist of Fate” by Olivia Newton-John was all the rage in Pearlman car trips.

How to explain this? Eh, I can’t. Shit just gets weird from time to time.

However, we’ve reached a new level of late.

We’ve turned to “Shandi.”

For the 999 of 1,000 of you not in the know, “Shandi” is a single off of Kiss’ truly tragic 1980 album, “Unmasked.” This was the band’s last release with Peter Criss on the drums—even though Peter Criss played nary a track on the album. On “Unmasked,” Gene and Ace showed up in studio on occasion; Paul was going through some weird romantic Jack Dawson-meets-Rose Dewitt Bukater; the band was coping with fame and excess and the heyday of cocaine.

As a result, we have “Unmasked.”

As a result, we have “Shandi.”

But here’s the crazy thing. The craziest of crazy things. “Shandi” is awful, but I … can’t … stop … listening … to … it. We play it and play it and play it, and with each turn the jam seems to improve. Truly, I’ve never grasped the phenomenon of repeat exposure equaling enjoyment, but there’s a quirky truth to it all. I actually think, oddly, Paul pulls this thing off. I mean, it’s not A material. Or B material. Or C material. Factually, it features all the hallmarks of brutal music.

But … I dunno.

I love it.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life