In HateSong, we ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.
The hater: A cast member on Saturday Night Live since 2010, Vanessa Bayer has quickly become one of the most eccentric and singular players in the show’s current roster. As both the weirdly intense Jacob The Bar Mitzvah Boy and the awkwardly drugged out Moet & Chandon porn star, Bayer has made her wide-eyed charisma a big part of the show’s success. In her spare time, Bayer also moonlights as Janessa Slater, a media coach to quiet and confused rock ’n’ rollers on Sound Advice, her show for Above Average.
The hated: Silverchair, “Tomorrow” (1994)
The A.V. Club: Why is “Tomorrow” your least favorite song?
Vanessa Bayer: There are a lot of things about this song that I don’t like.
First of all, I think the premise of it is really weak. Basically, this guy is saying, “Oh, this is a really nice day and I know that you hate me, but why don’t you come to this very crappy cabin?” And he invited you, but he’s freaking out about how the tap water’s so hard to drink? And that’s the premise of the song, how hard it is to drink this tap water. Maybe get a Brita? You invited me and then you’re going to flip out about how hard it is to drink the tap water. First of all, that’s a very fixable problem. Again, a Brita, or I could bring my own water. But you’re the one making the invite.
Also, he’s calling the person listening a fat boy? It’s just so shitty. Invite someone to your house, start flipping out about how hard it is to drink the tap water, and then call your guest a fat boy.
The name of the song is “Tomorrow,” and I think what he’s saying is maybe you have to wait ’til tomorrow cause someone’s coming to fix the tap, and then you can drink the water tomorrow. But why get so passionate?
This song reels you in, and you’re like, “Oh, maybe this is going to be like a Pearl Jam song,” and then, nope, they just took Pearl Jam-type chords and put all these garbage lyrics over it. And again, this 16-year-old blond Australian kid has nothing to complain about except that he doesn’t have a Brita or whatever. The whole thing is just very frustrating.
AVC: It’s not like a 16-year-old kid necessarily has any sort of gritty life experience.
VB: Exactly. Get some life experience and then maybe your chorus won’t be all about how your house has bad tap water.
AVC: The video for “Tomorrow” also looks just like Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” which makes sense, considering it was directed by the same guy.
VB: “Jeremy” is such a good video. This Silverchair guy is a young, blond, probably really cheerful guy, and he probably was like, “Can you do my video? This would be such a great favor to me. I love the ‘Jeremy’ video,” and the director was probably like, “All right. You seem like you have promise,” and then probably, as soon as he started, he was like, “Oh, boy, I’ll do my best, but your song is about some dumb cabin.”
Also, it’s so mean-spirited. First of all, he calls the person “babe” and then he like immediately starts calling them “fat boy,” so there’s a continuity issue there. And I’m sorry we’re not all born little blond-haired 16-year-old Australian guys, but you don’t have to call people “fat boy.”
AVC: We don’t all have the metabolism of a 16-year-old boy.
VB: Exactly. And some of us have to deal with really rough weather, you know? We’re not all living in Australia.
AVC: How old were you when this song came out?
VB: It came out in 1994, so I was 13. I just remember it was on the radio and on MTV so much. And, at the beginning of it, you’re like, “Okay, this could be a good song,” and then it’s just so hard to listen to, because he keeps yelling “fat boy.” It’s just so hard to listen to. You know what I mean? More like “hard to listen” to than “hard to drink.”
Anyway, I just remember it being so popular. At least with the “Jeremy” video, there’s a narrative to it. It’s obviously a very powerful, serious video that makes a statement. This video—I feel like the lighting is just low enough that you’re like, “Is this guy Kurt Cobain?” And then you’re like, “Oh, no, it’s not.”
AVC: I was the same age when this video came out, and I remember that girls thought Daniel Johns was very cute.
VB: I don’t know. I just feel like his look didn’t match his sound and he could have made that work for him better, you know? I feel like he was like, “If you think I’m cute, listen to this song and then you won’t anymore.”
AVC: Do you know that they were on SNL?
VB: I didn’t know that. Oh, my God. He was probably so young, too.
AVC: They were on in December of ’95.
VB: You used to have to be 16 to get into SNL, so he barely got in. I have to go watch that performance. I wonder what other song they did.
AVC: “Pure Massacre”? The show was hosted by David Alan Grier.
VB: I feel really bad. I need to watch that whole show.
AVC: Do you not like mean-spirited songs in general?
VB: I don’t! It’s like, why are you yelling at me? You’re the one who has no sense of water purification. Even in the ’90s, there were Brita filters, and there was obviously bottled water. There were so many ways to get water.
AVC: Or just have a Coke.
VB: It shows he’s very naive. But just the fact that he’s like, “I’m angsty and I’m going to show you, ’cause this tap water’s so hard to drink and I’m going to warn you and you’re going to have to wait ’til tomorrow to drink this tap water ’cause someone’s coming to fix it and also I’m going to call you ‘fat boy’ because I’m kind of a jerk. A dumb, young jerk.”
AVC: What if ‘fat boy’ is some Australian slang that we don’t understand? What if that means, like, “Hey buddy!”
VB: I feel like that would have come out by now. If it is, then he’s still yelling at me about how hard it is to drink the tap water. Also, I don’t understand how at the beginning he’s like, “It’s such a nice day.” He’s like, “I know you hate me, but I’m still going to ask you to come to this crappy cabin” —like, if he just yells, obviously the person would respond, “No, I’m not going to go. I’ll stay here and drink purified water and not have to deal with you calling me names, and, also, I guess there’s no bathroom at your cabin? Forget it—I’m not going.”