Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Every song is a dick

Music is a major component of the work I do. It is rare to see me on the street or riding the bus without my iPod on.

(God knows the hearing damage I've sustained after nearly 20 years of listening to headphones. For my 13th birthday, I put in a feverish request to my parents for a set of AM/FM radio head phones. I was nearly sick with the anticipation of receiving them and when the day finally arrived and the item was presented - a futuristic silvery grey electronic rectangle accompanied by the ear speakers, padded in attractive orange foam - I wasted not a second in shutting myself my room. I slipped the headphones over my ears and availed myself of the three radio stations we were able to pick up on the mountain.

It is nearly impossible in this day and age of "On Demand Everything" to appreciate the quivering suspense of listening to the radio in the hopes that "West End Girls" would play, or whatever the favorite but rare song was at the time. Hours, and I'm not exaggerating here, upon hours were spent wading through "That's What Friends are For" and "Conga" in the hopes that the one cool local DJ would rock out "Sledgehammer".)

I am at turns a total snob and absolute philistine when it comes to music. Friends who have had the dubious opportunity to listen to my music selection would readily back this up.

One the "hip" end I have: Throw me the Statue, Spoon, The Magnetic Fields, Billy Bragg

On the "music appreciation" end I have: The Beatles, Queen, John Coltraine, Beethoven, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald.

And finally, on the "What the-?!" end I have: 1 Mandy Moore song, That "I Kissed a Girl" Song, Some Christina and Britney, Falco, and a few show tune selections.

This list is only meant to highlight the somewhat arbitrary music choices on my Pod...it in no way expresses the depth and breadth of my guilty pleasures. At this juncture, I'm not prepared to bare my neck so completely to the cyber wolves.

I have an affinity for pretty much all music, whatever the cultural, musical, or artistic signifigance...for better or worse. When music is playing I try to find the story of it - who would listen to Salt-n-Peppa, America, or Timbaland? What is their day like? When do they listen to this or that? Why?

It's how I begin to write and compile ideas.

Lately, though, every song is a dick.

We all know it. If ever there is a time in our lives when something goes awry - a relationship fails, a loved one passes away - every song, regardless of how great it is, or how jaw-droppingly awful, somehow our emotion drenched brains attach an aching poignancy to EVERY WARBLING NOTE OR FOOL LYRIC.

I am shocked and dismayed at the songs that reduce me to tears on a constant basis. And sometimes they don't have anything to do AT ALL with the situation.

Here are a few...don't ask me where I heard them, I don't know. I can assure you that it was quite by accident, wherever it was. None of these songs are on my iPod. I swear to God.

Seriously? Josh Groban makes me want to barf. Even his cameo on "I'm Fucking Ben Affleck" couldn't wash away his singular musk that attracts 45-year-old midewestern mothers of two into his fan base.

But I heard this in Walgreens and got misty in the hair care aisle.

As Robert Downey, Jr. says in Tropic Thunder: "Just because it's a theme song don't mean it's not true."

(Sheepish sigh.) I suppose so.

And, at last, here's this one. If you want to revoke my friendship with you...I understand.


Someone...drive me out onto the open highway, and let me off by the side of the road and just drive away...don't look back. Just don't look back.


Jan Smelk said...

It is important to like Babs. It makes your gay acquaintances think you like them .

I was on the treadmill last night listening to old Imogen Heap, lip-synching and crying. Good thing I go to the Y.

PS You should avoid Imogen at all costs. Esp that first album.

Pbrennan said...

If you haven't listened to This American Life's episode, "Break-Up" (#339, re-broadcast on 8/18), you must. Send your ipod out to fetch it. Just seeing that title caused me to belch out "That's just GREAT" on the Brown Line the other day. The first act is about this very thing, Jen. I don't want to give anything away, so... you'll get a real kick out of it.

-j-j- said...

Thanks P. I have heard it...it's brilliant. It gave me a hole new appreciation for Phil Collins.

And Jan...you're right. Imogen and I have broken up for the very reason you described. You'd better be careful, crying at the Y...someone is libel to push you down and take your lunch money.

-j-j- said...

That would be "Whole" not "hole".

Effin' homonyms.

rebar said...

When Olive was missing (about day 9) and I was sitting in my car at 5am on steakout looking for a little old lady with a Bichon Friese...a fucking Train song came on and I broke down balling.

1) I hate Train.
2) I hate balling.

Now, whenever I hear "Calling All Angels" I want to beat the living tar out of someone just to keep from rolling up in the fetal position that is that sense memory.

While there are a few redeeming elements to Babs, Groban (I'm a 45 yr old mother of two, I guess) and tv theme songs...there is nothing redeeming about Train.

Fucking Train.

Judge not, lest we be judged on the content of our Mp3s.

Don Hall said...

The Family Ties Theme got me.

I've personally been partial to No Doubt's "Don't Speak" but I'm a douche, so you have that.

Reading this makes me grateful I don't have an iPod right now.

pregenius said...

That Barbra Streisand concert lasted two years.

You're an amazing writer, btw. And I'm basing this entirely on your blog. Never edit yourself again!

Songs that always get to me are the ones I'd sneer at and say "God, way to put thought into those lyrics pal. I mean, how lame is it to just SAY what you FEEL? Seriously who does that?" Maybe that's why us hipsters can't handle pop music...sincerity makes us break out in hives. Kind of like hugs to say "you're great, did you know? I wish you nothing but the most wonderful wonderfulness, because you deserve it for just being you."

::full-on hug::

Keep writing!


floatingman said...

That grobin song is so clearly a re-tread of Danny Boy. Dreck.


Seth said...

I still like you.

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