Thursday, February 17, 2005

On having spent four hours in the car, listening to radio

Yesterday I got up at 8:30 in the morning and drove to a town called Cayuga -- which I cannot say out loud without it coming out caYUga, huh huh, caYUga, something like this:

Bea: Where are you going today?
Alison: caYUga, huh huh, caYUga.

I had a couple of CDs in the car, but I put on the radio. As much as I do try to seek out independent music that is a bit under the radar, I grew up on Top 40 radio and CanCon, and I can rock out to so many hits from the '80s that it's scary. So, two hours to Cayuga (huh huh) and two hours back...

1. There's something blasphemous about the way songs get put together on the radio, as though everything recorded between 1978 and 1995 is equivalent. The following line-up, for example, is just wrong: "If I had a million dollars," the Talking Heads ("Once in a lifetime"), and then straight into that Bryan Adams/Tina Turner duet.

2. I'm not a big Elton John fan, but some of his oldest stuff is great -- I love "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters." I realized it really is more fun to sing along to the chorus of "Tiny Dancer" while substituting "Tony Danza."

3. Speaking of singing along: "Freedom" by George Michael. If they'd played "Living on a prayer" or "When doves cry" after that, I probably would've lost my voice.

4. "Come sail away" by Styx makes me feel so purely happy, 20% because of the song itself, and 80% because of its place in the first episode of Freaks and Geeks.

5. You know how there are those songs that you got attached to when you were twelve or so, and those songs then attached themselves to the persons you had crushes on and maybe even danced with, and when you hear the songs now you feel mostly happy but like someone is pressing lightly on a bruise of yours at the same time? I have a few of those, and actually, I didn't hear any of them on the radio, so I'm not sure why I just wrote that. But I did hear two that always vividly remind me of being in Grades 6 and 7 and liking boys, but that make me happy without the bruise-pressing: "Patio lanterns" (do Americans know this Canadian classic?) and "Sister Christian."

5. a) What is the story with "Sister Christian," anyway? I have never understood this song, even when I used to play it over and over when I was eleven. Who the hell is he singing to -- his sister? A nun? Plus I always thought the chorus began with "Motor Inn," and that, clearly, makes no sense. Still, this song has such a good crescendo and climax that when I heard it in the grocery store last week and -- this is absolutely true -- just at the key release point it cut off for a PA announcement, it was like coitus interruptus. Surprising and rather unsatisfying.

6. Um... what was I talking about?

7. I turned up the volume really loud on a few select '80s anthems: "She sells sanctuary," INXS's "What you need," and "Rise up." And it was sunnyish, and I took a secondary highway on the way home from Cayuga (huh huh), and there wasn't much traffic, and the scenery was just beautiful. I love the open road. I have to go to school today, which is about a forty-minute drive, but I don't think I'll listen to the radio. I need to detox first. I feel a bit like I went on a huge sugar bender yesterday and today I'm craving a salad. Mmm, maybe a nice cold Cat Power salad, or a plate of crisp, fresh All Girl Summer Fun Band. (Of course, if the radio happens to come on before I get a chance to put in a CD, and if there happens to be a Bangles or *cough*Whitesnake*cough* song playing, I may have to start detox tomorrow instead...)

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