A moment to reflect on the Big Dumb Rock that is Buckcherry's Lit Up

I will try to pull a Klostermann and impart a thoughtful exegesis about this steaming chunk of crotch rock.

I have liked the song since it first came out in - what, 1999? - because of the hope - yes, the hope - that it represented. It had the sloppy-rock swagger, hookiness and driving beat of a song by the most hallowed of relatively recent rockers, Guns n’ Roses. It was dangerous - in a good way. Tossing off drug references in the chorus with fuck-you indifference, a la Mr. Brownstone - could Buckcherry have been the next Great Rock Hope, like Gn’R turned out to be in the late 80’s?

Alas, no. For reasons I have not fully investigated or tried to understand (it’s just a silly-ass rock song and I got a mortgage to pay and kids to help with math homework), Buckcherry never crossed over. Sure, Crazy Bitch came out last year, but it ain’t the same - the beat isn’t as good, the hook feels cliche, and the trotting out of Officially Offensive™, in-your-face lyrics (about sex this time) seems far more self-conscious. Okay, dude, you’re a misogynist idiot - we get it.

And yet. I went back and found my disc with Lit Up on it and have been playing it in the car at opportune times. That song still has IT - as a song, it has crossed over into the Hard Rock, driving music Hall of Fame, alongside great AC/DC, Gn’R, early Aerosmith, etc.

But the more I listen to the song, the more I realize it is held together with chewing gum and masking tape. The hooks - not so hooky; but I can’t NOT end up with “I love the cocaine - I love the co-caine” stuck in my head for hours after hearing it. And the driving beat? Sure, it pounds, but the timing is all off. It is a 4/4 beat, but stuff starts and stops at the wrong time - this isn’t the sublime use of alternate meters that you find with, say, Soundgarden (did they sell 7/4 in Spoonman as a straight-up rocker or what? And how about the off-time breaks in Black Hole Sun?). With Lit Up, you’re just groovin’ along and, whoops, oh - there’s a beat shift and - well, hello! - it’s time for the chorus! How the hell did that get there? It’s just plain sloppy, period.

And how about the drop-down bridge - clearly a bit of lyrical profundity:

I love the complete non-sequitur, where he struts and barks “you know you know you got to” and then veers into “can you feel it, can you feel it tonight?” uhh, come again?

But dammit it works - and it works hard. Anyone worth their weight in solid, hard rock knows this song delivers…perhaps he has embraced the theme of his song a bit too much and is, in fact, fucking high? But that is part of the essential, sloppy danger of the song and why it stays on my short list when I am looking to check my brain at the door and rock out.

Not much to add - clearly I have thought way too hard about the song as it is. But it is a silly, messy, hard rocking detour on the road to great Big Dumb Rock - if one or two of the variables had been off, it would never have become the classic it is; and if one or two more variables had been even better, it might’ve signalled the arrival of the next Real Deal…

That is all. I have never taken the time on the SDMB to expound in essay format on something like this - why I am picking this sidebar rock song is beyond me, but there you have it. If this is even remotely interesting, do tell. It could be fun to occasionally offer up an homage to some random bit of low culture and see where it goes…


Ironically enough, I had a chance to listen to that CD in a used CD store and didn’t get it because the rest of the songs were too similar to “Lit Up”. (But they always remind me of AC/DC more than G’n’R. No, make that “a total AC/DC clone”.)

But now, a year later, I want to give it a second shot. Mainly because it’s been a year since I’ve heard Lit Up. I too wonder why they didn’t go further.

if you want a total AC/DC clone, listen to Ready to Go by Supagroup. You’d swear it’s on Highway to Hell, right after Shot Down in Flames and before Get it Hot. Great, great stuff - but completely derivative.

Okay - it got a few dozen views, but not much more…

One bump just to check.

Options include:

  • Boring song and pointless discussion of it?

  • Dude, get a life?

  • I see you point, but what do you want anyone else to say about it?

  • Okay, it was amusing, next…

Or this can continue its slide down the road to oblivion…

My Ding A Ling wasn’t as good as Johnny B. Goode, and secretly filming women as they take a dump is wrong on so many levels.

I know the band Buckcherry, but I can’t quite place “Lit Up”. I do know “Crazy Bitch”, and it’s Big Dumb Rock, but not in a good way, IMO. I’ll try and grab a listen to “Lit Up” see what I think.

It’s a very frank song about a young man’s love for his drug of choice.

Buckcherry’s 15 led **Sam Stone ** and I to speculate about the difference between it (supposedly a 15-day effort, and really, Crazy Bitch is one of the weaker songs next to stuff like Brooklyn – not one of the songs makes me reach for the seek button) and the kind of stuff that the hopefuls on Rockstar Supernova were showcasing in their “originals.” If one of the Supernova people could have come up with something comparable to the content of 15, well, it would have been one hell of a show.

Josh Todd certainly personifies the whole “sleaze rock” genre. One good long look into his eyes and you want to go find your kids and do something wholesome.

Yeah, if you guys liked ‘Lit Up’, you really should check out Buckcherry’s ‘15’. It’s their best album, by far.

Allmusic Review of ‘15’

I was in high school from '88-'92, and my love of hair bands knows no bounds. So “Lit Up” tickled me in all the right places. When it came out, my best friend and I would listen to it when we were getting ready to go out - it’s exactly what you want to sing along with while you’re doing your makeup and deciding if your outfit is too slutty (“Is this too slutty?” “NO!!!”).

And now it’s on my iPod (along with “Crazy Bitch,” and I completely disagree that CB isn’t as good) and when I’m walking around and it comes on, I’m bummed that people would think I was crazy if I sung along.

It’s a great, catchy song. I don’t scrutinize it, 'cause why would I? It seems like you’re putting more thought into the song than the band did. Do you quit eating ice cream just because it’s not good for you? It’s like eating Ben & Jerry’s - there’s no nutritional value, but it’s so so so good you can’t bring yourself to care. Revel in the awesome.

Sound more like Bush meets GNR, citing the lyrics.