Music from several decades! Because I don't know how to be timely!
STICK TO MUSIC
Here’s a fun wordplay fact that few people know: Music and Monday both begin with the letter M! That means, by law, Monday is meant for sharing music with each others. Here are a few songs I’ve been enjoying recently.
CHRISTOPHER CROSS: Hello, Michael McDonald. I’m calling you because I just took a cosmic amount of acid and wrote a song about being an outlaw fleeing to Mexico.
MICHAEL MCDONALD: Hey, far out!
CHRISTOPHER CROSS: The acid vision has told me that this song will require backing vocals, specifically yours, and I am going to need you completely in your bag on this one.
MICHAEL MCDONALD: Say. no. more.
Here is something strange: Carly Rae Jepsen has a substantial male fan base. And not, like, the way the Britney Spears “Toxic” video has a substantial male fan base (good lord), but for as gendered as pop music fandom has been, Jepsen has been an unlikely thawing point for dads ‘n’ dudes to appreciate, let’s call it, bubble pop. It’s a whole entire thing.
I say unlikely not because of any shortcomings* on Jepsen’s part, she’s a treasure, but musically, there isn’t really any obvious entry point in her music for 30-something dudes who aren’t already in full embrace of the genre. There’s no ripping guitars, no disaffectation, not a hint of scandalous intent. How is Carly Rae cutting lines that, say, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift are still waiting in?
There’s no simple solution, but I suspect a significant portion is the 2015 video above, which is a titanic pop anthem on its own, but got catapulted into the nation’s consciousness by the inclusion of America’s Uncle™ himself, Tom Hanks. If Hanks can look the camera dead in the eye and not only sing along with Carly Rae’s words but embrace the whole mood—and that’s THE key with her music, “here’s a mood and here’s me feeling every square mile of it”—then by god, what’s stopping us regular dudes from doing the same thing?
“Cut To The Feeling” is my favorite of her jams (I know you’d been wondering), and sure enough, there isn’t a shred of irony in this song either. If you can’t blast this song from your car, windows down on a warm and sunny afternoon, we don’t have the same blood running through our veins.
*No pun intended, for once, but Google says she’s 5’2”. #JepsenFacts!
I am old. This is well-known. Here is precisely how old I am: for months, literally months, I did not know anything about this song; no title, no lyrics, no artist, nothing. All I knew about it was from hearing the instrumental part on commercials, and frequently. I like it very much, don’t get me wrong, but you can’t exactly Google “What is the song that sounds like one of those futuristic sci-fi movies where even the strippers are robots now and that’s the song they would use for a robot strip tease?”
Just to be clear to Ms. Eilish, I mean that as the highest of compliments.
Spotify put this one on a “Hey, remember when you were a #teen and needed to hear the Going Through It National Anthem” playlist, and I said “yes, Spotify, that sure is a vivid memory of my youth that never happens anymore.”
[hard stare at camera]
Also, here is how old I am—I was but an impressionable teenager when Garbage and Garbage 2.0 came out. I loved, and continue to love, both albums unconditionally. Shirley Manson was a formative crush to young Adam J., and looking back on it now, I have never in my life been further over my head. Yes young Adam, I’m sure that volcanically sexy woman with heavy S&M vibes would be good at smooching.
Music can be about a lot of things, often several things at once. Music can be about joy, it can be about pain, about love, about lust, about ecstasy the drug, ecstasy the sensation, it being a hot one, victory, defeat, and everything in-between.
And sometimes, with the blessings of the ancients, music is about a guy blowing the living daylights out of his sax, completely out of nowhere. And “Midnight City” has one of the most ridiculous, decadent, delicious solos in modern musical history. Prove me wrong.
STICK TO AFFIRMATIONS
Valentine’s Day was yesterday, and for all you want to say about it being a corporate holiday invented as an excuse to sell cards or whatever, it’s also widely accepted as a day of indulgence, whether it’s in yourself or your partner(s? no judgment here) or all of the above. And that’s good! Instead of waiting for a holiday to remind you to indulge in yourself or your loved ones, do it often. Not in a destructive way, of course—take care of yourself first and foremost—but life’s worth living in the moment. You deserve it.