One of the things that are wrong with me August 2, 2009Posted by caveblogem in Other, Rock.
It is a time of transition for me (as Warren Susman once wrote, “It’s always a time of transition”). I’m finishing up my second-to-last class today, and last night I was listening to the radio (all night) and reflecting upon early influences on my way of viewing relationships–the stuff that crept (slithered?) into my head during my formative years, circa 1980.
For those of you who were not there, or don’t remember, this was the time when in the suburban US, there were at least two bands whose music was ubiquitous to the point where, for a teenager, it was unavoidable: Journey, and REO Speedwagon. There were good things, musically, about that time period; they are not the subject of this post.
The subject of this post is the way that the music you listen to (or even hear) shapes you in ridiculous ways. I’m going to paraphrase these two examples from REO Speedwagon so that I don’t ruin any young lives through exposure to the actual lyrics.
Take away the sappy music and here’s the basic message of “Take It On The Run” (from Hi Infidelity, 1980, for those of you who wish to play along at home):
I heard a rumor from someone (let’s face it, one of our local liars) via a process similar to the game “Telephone,” that you are cheating on me. I believe wholeheartedly and completely that it’s not true. But if you go out tonight it is over between us–frickin’ over.
And the basic message of “Keep On Loving You” (from Hi Infidelity, 1980):
Look, I tried to tell you that I’ll love you for ever, but you were cold and hissed at me like some kind of snake and basically ignored me. But really, I’ll love you forever, you cold, evasive snake.
As someone who was a scholar of American Culture in a previous lifetime, I could drone on and on about the function of contradictory messages in blues and pop music, and the necessity to appeal to different audiences within the same song, hidden meanings, blah blah blah. But I won’t. All I’m going to say is WTF? WTF—ing F?
I’m sorry I’m so screwed up, hon. I really am. I am trying to get over these early psychotic influences. Maybe we all are.
And I don’t know why this post is in such tiny letters, if that’s the way it looks published. I can’t figure out how to fix it, if it needs fixing. Oh, I could tweak the html, but I’m not getting paid for this, or course credit, for that matter, and there’s always the chance that, since I don’t know why it got small in the first place, if it is small, it might just revert to that state.