Song Of The Day 7/3/2013: Phillip Scarborough - "Asera Everywhere"

Yesterday saw the release of Hardly Workin'the new EP by Andrew Mason. If the name sounds familiar to you, that's because Mason was the founder and CEO of Groupon, the internet company from which he was fired in February of this year. Groupon's stock value has doubled since his departure, but forget that.

The arrival of Hardly Workin' is a watershed moment in popular music, as it is most likely the first corporate motivational soft-rock recording ever made, and it's breathtaking.....ly awful. Unless it's a joke. I'm not sure it's not a joke. I can't really see how it couldn't be a joke. For one thing, it's produced by Don Gehman, who handled John Mellencamp's American Fool, R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant, Blues Traveler's Truth Be Told -- I know, not all those are albums one might consider artistically successful, but they were real, actual records. Unless Gehman has jackshit to do these days or is really hard up for cash, there is no reason for him to do the Mason record except as part of an elaborate practical joke on Mason's part. (Mason has a rep for not just being an office prankster, but absolutely committed to the bit, even if it's failing.) If it's a joke, and God I hope it is, its motivation is vague and unclear. If it's not a joke, it's far and away the worst recording of 2013. You might be off the hook, will.i.am.

It reminded me of today's bit of neon crazy from the '90s, "Asera Everywhere." This was written and performed by Phillip Scarborough. He was Director of Usability Engineering at Asera, which was some sort of IT deal, when the CEO became aware of his talents in the musical arts and asked him to write a company song. Scarborough wrote "Asera Leads the Way," which nicked from a slew of '80s hits, most recognizably "Addicted To Love." Fellow employees, the legend would have it believed, flipped out, in a good way. Asera brass asked for a follow-up. This is why sometimes it's important to have a life outside of work.

That sequel was "Asera Everywhere," which musically drew directly from Madonna's "Vogue." With success already under his belt, now creative growth was Scarborough's principal artistic concern, which meant he was going to have to rap. And rhyme he does, poppin' out lines like "Does Stevie Wonder? Is Lorne Greene? Is Helen Reddy for the Asera scene?" and name-checking just about everyone in the Asera office at the time, a "crew" he describes as being, in order, "hot, def, dope and fly." It's really pretty indicative of the corporate distance from pop culture that we like to believe is apocryphal, but is, unfortunately, resolutely common.

And even with all that, "Asera Everywhere" is still better than every cut on Andrew Mason's album -- unless it's a joke. If it is, then give that Mason kid a raise. (Oops, forgot.)

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