Various Artists

The Annoying Music Show CD!

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The Annoying Music Show CD! is a collection of selections from The Annoying Music Show, a program on Chicago's National Public Radio affiliate WBEZ. The concept of the show, developed by host Jim Nayder, is to find novelty music so annoying it's actually funny. Nayder distinguishes his show from other novelty radio shows like those of Westwood One's Dr. Demento by establishing a rule that only music that is not intended to be annoying will be played. The CD, like the show, works best when Nayder sticks to that rule, as on Jeanne & John's ostensibly educational "Dates Dates Dates Dates Dates," and "My Bathroom Is a Special Kind of Place." But some of the tracks here lead the listener to question whether Nayder can actually tell the difference. On one track, Flerbert Khaury and Robert Zimmerman render their impression of Bob Dylan and Tiny Tim singing Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe." The idea of imitating Tiny Tim -- a Dr. Demento-style novelty act -- for a novelty record is a little bit like doing parodies of Weird Al Yankovic. One wonders if the saving grace for Nayder is the fact that the impressionists seem to have made absolutely no effort to sound anything whatsoever like Bob Dylan. To clarify, "I Got You Babe," which is a song that was originally funny because it was unintentionally annoying, is presented here in a cover that is intended to be so annoying it's funny. This isn't funny, however, except in that it's more annoying than it was intended to be. This sort of thing isn't everyone's cup of tea. Judging from several irate phone calls included on the CD, it's probably safe to say that Nayder finds nothing more satisfying than complaints from listeners who simply don't get the joke. After all, he seems to imply, it's supposed to be annoying. He seems a little more taken off-guard by a caller who complains that she actually finds the music enjoyable. Yet as funny as much of it might be, there's something insidiously smug about the whole enterprise. It doesn't seem to occur to Nayder that the irritated listeners do get the joke; they just don't think it's funny.