Sunday, May 16, 2010

Old Songs Never Die (No, Seriously! They Never Bleepin' Die)

I've been overdosing on nostalgia lately, due in no small part to my musings here.  Facebook's also managed to produce more than its share of sepia-toned flashbacks and Wonder Years voiceovers.  I've spent a good portion of the last few weeks replaying the last few decades.

It's starting to mess with my head.

Now, I'm naturally prone to getting a song stuck in my head, and when I get one, it usually gets lodged in there pretty solid.  A few years back, Colin Hay did a cameo spot on Scrubs and I quite literally spent months trying to free myself of his song, the not-so-much ironic as dead-on-accurately titled Overkill.  It took a heavy dose of Men At Work's Best Of CD to purge that one, and it still floats in from time to time.

That, dear reader, is the Devil I Know.

Lately though, I've been pulling songs out of nowhere.  They don't stick around as long, but the strangeness of the playlist is a little unsettling.  My internal iPod seems to be set for AM radio, and I've been coming up with songs I never knew that I knew.  Apparently, my head is full of Rumsfeld's unknown knowns.

And it's not like this is my music.  What's worse, it isn't even especially not my music.  These are songs that I thought I ignored decades ago, songs that should have been beneath my notice.  I shouldn't even remember that Steely Dan existed, much less wake up singing Ricky Don't Lose That Number.  That's right, I've got lyrics.

I'm  somewhere between embarrassed and horrified at this turn of events, but there's also an element of morbid curiosity.  The song selection process is completely baffling.  There have been cases in the past where an overheard remark has reminded me of a lyric.  That doesn't seem to be happening here.  I seem to be pulling songs from out of nowhere, or some other place where the sun don't shine.

I've done a good job of editing out the bigger hits of the past few decades.  Instead of a Best of the '70s and '80s compilation, I get Love On the Rocks, Cherish, and When Will I See You Again.  I even managed to come up with, get this, A Fifth of Beethoven.  There aren't even any lyrics to not realize that I know!

And bad enough that Kenny Rogers wanders into my subconscious.  The Gambler, I hear you say?  Oh, no no no, Dear Reader.  That would be far too mainstream for my subconscious.

Lady.  Does anyone apart from yours truly, and possibly Kenny Rogers, even remember Lady?!

Quality control does seem to be reasserting itself lately.  Paler Shade of Winter spent a few minutes floating around my head, and I woke up to Space Oddity this morning.  But I know for every Paul Simon, there's a Karen Carpenter queuing up, waiting for my mind to wander.  For every David Bowie, a Daryl Hall.

I had hoped that the soundtrack to my life would be a bit quirky, a little bit cool.  Something worthy of the odd strut, maybe just a little bit pretentious.

No risk of pretension here.  Instead of Rockin' In the Free World, it looks like I'm A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock n' Roll.