Sulphur smoke up in the sky

BuffettVolcanoOn 26 January, 1980, “Volcano” by Jimmy Buffett peaked at #66.

I guess if I complain about the Billboard charting songs all sounding the same, I have to be prepared to appreciate something like “Volcano” by Jimmy Buffett.  Don’t misunderstand me:  I find Jimmy Buffett infuriatingly insipid.  But I will grant that his tropical noodling sounds nothing like anything else I’ve talked about so far, and in that regard, it’s refreshing. It’s not a love song, or a lost love song, or even a loneliness song; it’s just a goofy song about an impending volcano eruption and what the islanders threatened by it are considering doing about it.  I can only think of one other song about a dangerous volcano eruption, and it isn’t nearly as happy as this one.

And really, the lyrics to this are kinda fun, even if they are delivered over silly tropical musical nonsense.  There’s a groaner of a pun on “lava”, and there’s all the places that the native doesn’t want to end up, which includes a list of a few places famous for music styles in which that Jimmy Buffett doesn’t write:  New York City, Mexico, and Nashville.  There’s even a call out to each of Three Mile Island and Ayatollah Khomeini, which doesn’t happen often in pop music.  So, okay, Jimmy, I’ll grant it to you, you were doing something special in the late 70s.  I may not have liked it, but at least it was a unique influence on the charts.

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