Monday, October 6, 2008

Like An Incurable

My friend got a song stuck in her head, and was seeking a cure.  It was the type of song where, if you are out partying, and somebody plays it on the jukebox or the band plays it, even in your most drunken state, everybody in the entire place knows all the words and, because of the aforementioned drunken state,everybody feels the need to sing along at the top of their lungs and, perhaps, dance.

Well, everybody but me.  I am what you would call a "stick in the mud", meaning, while you all are dancing and singing and having a good time, I'm looking at everybody thinking, "Oh dear God...this is sooooo embarrassing..."

To exorcise the Song Stuck In My Head demon, my friend decided that she must hear the song in question, and after that she should be fine. 

The song was Reminiscing.

Oh, hell...

....Reminiscing...catchy like the flu and no preventive vaccine on the market.  If somebody plays that song, anywhere, at any time, you are Completely.  Screwed. 

My friend's boyfriend, trying to help her, located the appropriate Little River Band collection, and popped on Reminiscing.



Immediately upon hearing it, I had it stuck in MY head.  Its a much worse condition for us sticks-in-the-mud than it is for you normal people.  (Yes, I do know all the words.  Every single one.  I don't actually know any homo-sapien on this planet who doesn't know all the words to that song.  It's also right in my key, so, I kick ass at the singalong.  Most of us white girls do.)

What followed after the LRB cure was an hour or so of ticking through and playing some "great old songs", all in what I would call the Adult Contemporary format, that all of my friends agreed were just "the BEST" and they wish people made music like that now, etc., etc., Blah, Blah, Blah.

I even caught my friends, on the very next evening, sitting through an info-mercial for an Adult Contemporary song collection being offered by Time/Life.


It's not that the songs weren't good, or the artists weren't good.  It's that when you say "Music, 1978" to me, I think about The Police, not the Little River Band.

Apparently, I have some slightly funky wiring.

I still listen to Outlandos d'Amour--working on my third or fourth copy by now--and, still love the hell out of it.  I'm listening to it right now, as a matter of fact, to try to wash that info-mercial out of my hair.

I think that the thing about all those huge hit songs boils down to this:  They are easy.  Just like it is easy to love a star quarterback, with all the hunky athleticism, it is easy to love a huge hit song.  It takes very little effort on the part of the listener.  It's everywhere, and, all your friends are doing it.  (So, if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do that, too?  Sorry, I couldn't resist.  I'm a mother.)

One could say that it is a pretty neat trick for a song-writer, to be able to come up with something like that.  It may be, or, it may be just a timing thing.  In 1978 and for several years after, we were in the mood for what LRB was serving up, and most of us didn't get into a Police mood until we were into the 80's.  By then, the Police had finished much of their snarling (except at each other) and were all driving nice cars and such.  While Synchronicity is brilliant, Outlandos d'Amour screamed "We've Got Nothing To Lose By Trying", which I find so much more appealing on a personal level.  The band didn't have any money or a record contract at that time, so, they made the particular brand of art that one makes while nobody is watching.

And...that's very much like you dancing around your living room to your favorite song when you're the only one home.  It's all you, for better or worse.  Very telling.  But what do most of us do when we catch a friend dancing when they think nobody's watching?  Laugh at them.  No wonder hardly anybody dares like things that aren't hugely popular...there are some consequences involved with doing your own thing.

I wish I wasn't a weirdo like that, and I wish I listened only to hit songs instead of what I actually listen to.  I think life would be easier if I did.  I wouldn't have to explain every band, every musician and every song--there would be no effort involved with me enjoying music.  I could just drink the fucking Kool-Aid and zombie out.

Except, I am the weirdo, and the stick in the mud, and the one equating listening to nothing but extremely popular music with jumping off a bridge.  I'm the one, where, when people get in my car, they say things like, "What the hell are you listening to?" or, at concerts, they destroy all of what I consider delicious musical moments by complaining to me that it "doesn't sound like the album."  I'm the one who, when I put together a mix or playlist for a party or something, its a bunch of tunes you don't know, and most people are incredibly surprised when they actually like all those scary songs that don't get played on the radio.

I'm the one secretly referring to you as a lemming.

I'm not sure there is a cure for musical snobbery (of which I have only a very mild case...), but I think we can all get along.  I know I'm a mutant--I spent 14 years working in mostly Top 40 radio and you didn't.  I had to smile through a lot of songs I was sick of playing, that I heard 17 times a day, that you never got sick of because you only heard them maybe once a day.  Consider yourself lucky when you get one of those songs stuck in your head.  At least you are treatable.


Nothing to do with anything, but since we are talking about The Police, let's peel off the Best Damned Police Songs, Ever, as determined by me...Ready? No particular order, and, as always, feel free to chime in...

Can't Stand Losing You--"...and your brother's gonna kill me and he's six feet ten." Sting writes about the potential for having the shit kicked out of him on a few occasions in my immediate memory. Don't know why that's so charming...

Next To You--Loud. Fast.

So Lonely--Somewhere around an Eleven on the Cool Song scale

Does Everyone Stare--I like the construction of this, and, the fact that it is a pre-"Every Breath You Take" stalkery song. I also don't know why that is so charming. I don't think people are used to singers talking about themselves as nervous wrecks that stare at girls from a distance--we're so used to songs that involve actual relationships...

Man In A Suitcase
Bombs Away
Canary In A Coal Mine
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da--
Huge pop appeal, infinitely listenable.

Hungry For You--I don't speak French. Don't care...

Secret Journey--BEST drum part on any Police song. Yeah, I said it...

Wrapped Around Your Finger--Perfect lyric. Again.

Miss Gradenko--It's one of those examples of a relatively light song--the guitar and bass work together but are so separate that you almost don't recognize them as being part of the same song.

Synchronicity I--NOT II, I. :-) It just flies faster...

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