YOU KNOW WHAT'S a precious thing? When a weird song pops. Like when it's weird on purpose. Like it breaks with the grand tradition of creating music in order to find hella sexual partners, and instead just thrives on peculiarity. Like "Monster Mash": Nobody got to fuck because they were involved in the making of "Monster Mash." Nuh-uh, somebody just wanted to talk about Dracula. There are songs about Purple People Eaters and tiptoeing through tulips that dorked their way into the zeitgeist. My favorite of the phylum, and the one that most haunts my dome with how dang weird it is? Biz Markie's "Just a Friend." It's just so damn... weird, AND it's fucking popular as fuck.
Most novelty songs seem calculated. "Just a Friend" isn't—it seems like a terrifying car crash where everyone ended up okay somehow. It sounds like he wrote it in four minutes on a napkin in the studio's bathroom 'cause he forgot he had to cut a single that day. Biz Markie himself sounds like a bloodhound that a wizard got drunk on Miller High Life, then cast a spell that allowed it to rap—except he was only a pretty good wizard, so the rapping spell wasn't as powerful as it could have been. I say all this while loving this song, firmly and without irony. Every time I hear it I reshuffle the power rankings of the oddest things about the song, and I just listened to it five times in a row before writing this, so here I am.
THIRD WEIRDEST: BIZ MARKIE HAS FRIENDS NAMED AGNES, AGATHA, JERMAINE, AND JACK, AND IT'S A KNOWN FACT THAT HE HAS THESE FRIENDS.
This is probably actually the weirdest part of the song, and maybe I'm just desensitized to the idea that a rapper born in 1964 has friends with names like Agnes and Agatha. Maybe Biz Markie is one of those dudes who's really good friends with his grandma, and through visiting her at the old folks' home, has also become close with two wise-crackin' old ladies named Agnes and Agatha. Maybe he's always telling his other rap friends about how much richer his life is, now that he's befriended these two wonderful members of the Greatest Generation. Maybe that's why it's a known fact. I think the Agnes/Agatha/Jermaine/Jack thing would be higher on the list, but it's overshadowed by Paul McCartney predicting his grandchildren are gonna be named Vera, Chuck, and Dave in "When I'm 64."
SECOND WEIRDEST: BIZ SAYS THIS GIRL IS "FROM THE US NATION."
Yeah man, we all assumed she was from the United States. Also, saying she's from the US Nation makes it sound like she's part of a WWE wrestling stable called "THE US NATION." You can just say she's American, or like, from Ohio or whatever—but you won't call her anything but "Blah Blah" anyway, so maybe she isn't even real.
FIRST WEIRDEST: OKAY, YEAH, ITS AGNES AND AGATHA.
I was wrong. Do Agnes and Agatha hang out with Jermaine and Jack, too, or just Biz? So many questions!