Washing dishes is one of my most hated activities on this earth, along with listening to hippies play in drum cirles and telling customers where the bathroom is at my job. But the one thing that makes washing dishes bearable and actually something to kinda look forward to is some goddamn RAWK MUSIC like the first Black Sabbath album. I put the CD in, hit play, and the scalding water and moldy dishes suddenly don’t seem so bad.
Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)
The album opens with the sound of a storm, a church bell tolling, and then launches into one of the biggest, most bombastic three-chord moronic rock riffs ever invented by the metal-tipped fingers of guitarist Tony Iommi, thus defining the Black Sabbath sound and inspiring countless insipid hard rock bands for years to come. However, when Sabbath did it, it transcended banality and just truly rocked. Besides, nobody else was doing stuff like this in early 1970. Sure the lyrics are generally terrible, the riffs simplistic and repetative, and the songs sound like the different parts were slapped together without any regard to whether they fit or not, but there’s just something about the way Ozzy yells “Oh no, no please God help me!” that makes it all ok.
Sample these lyrics:
Big black shape with eyes of fire
Telling people their desire
Satan sitting there he’s smiling
Watch those flames get higher and higher
Let me tell you, imagery like that really gets the suds flowing. As I scrub the goopy, rotting food off of the plates that have been sitting in the sink for days and days, I imagine that I’m taking part in some sort of gigantic spiritual battle between good and evil. Evil manifests itself in the form of gross, rotty bits of food and my soapy sponge is the white light of Jeebus (or some other symbol of Big Great Good), scouring and scraping away until all darkness vanishes down the endless black hole of the drain. Then the tempo picks up and Ozzy sings these chestnuts:
This is the end my friend
Satan’s coming ‘round the bend
People running ‘cos they’re scared
Yes people better go and beware
No! No! Please! No!
Boy, that really gets me going on those dishes. Plates, pots, pans, silverware, cookie sheets, glasses, cups, spatulas, cutting boards and cheese graters had all better go and beware by this point! Ok, so the song is about Satan coming and killing everyone, but damn do those guitars rock!
Next up is the harmonica-rock classic, The Wizard, where Ozzy sings about a good wizard spreading magic and helping the human race. I guess this is the antidote to the first song, and really if you think about it, it’s a bit of a pansy song for such an “evil” band. But such is the paradox that is Black Sabbath.
The album continues bludgoning the listener with downcast lyrics such as “Sleeping wall of remorse / Takes your body to a corpse” (Behind The Wall of Sleep) and “I was born without your favor / But now demons were a little bit too stong” (Warning), but the undisputed classic of the album is N.I.B. where Ozzy intones these gems:
Now I have you with me under my power
Our love grows stonger now with every hour
Look into my eyes you’ll see who I am
My name is Lucifer, please take my hand.
Of course the truly great dishwashing moment comes towards the beginning of the song where Ozzy yells “Oh yeah!” at the end of the brilliant guitar riff. Usually I sling soap all over the place when that happens. Sometimes I even break a dish.
The album ends with Wicked World, which if I time it right, corresponds to me rinsing the soap off the last dish. Usually I’m all sweaty, spent, and ready to kill. You see, I believe that not only is the first Black Sabbath album the greatest dishwashing album of all time, it is the greatest Sunday morning dishwashing album of all time. So that’s all I’ve got to say. Wake up Sunday morning, don’t go to church, put on Black Sabbath and attack that pile of nasty, neglected dishes that your roommates hate you for not washing.