Saturday, November 07, 2009

A head for lyrics

Sorry for the absence of blog posts. I've been incredibly busy at work, writing our help file, and at home I've been writing The Black Devils Brigade for the Godlike RPG. It's been hard to fit in blogging.

Last night brought to mind something I wanted to mention. I was doing some writing with the TV on in the background. The channel was one of the VH1 channels, and they were running a concert with various alt-rock groups performing songs by The Who. I was a huge fan of The Who. I even stood in line for several hours 27 years ago to get tickets for their first farewell tour.

While watching, I started singing along to some of their songs (completely destroying the whole point of spending the time writing). Alana turned to me, smiled, and asked how I can fit in all those lyrics in my head.

This goes back to our trip home from GenCon in August. We forgot to bring music with us (other than what was on my PSP, and we don't have a way of hooking up the PSP/MP3 players to the car's stereo), so we had to rely on local radio. On the way home, we tuned in to some classic rock outside of Memphis.

Now, I'm not one to listen to classic rock stations at home. We generally listen to KXUL, the local college station, which plays commercial free alt-rock. I like classic rock. I was listening to it before it was classic (as a very small child my mother had to break a vinyl 45 rpm record of The Beatles' "She Loves You" because I was driving her mad wanting to hear it all the time). However, they aren't making any more classic rock. It's the same two decades worth of stuff they play all the time. And, this being the U.S., you hear very little of the Canadian classic rock I grew up with (April Wine or Chilliwack, anyone?). I like listening to classic rock every now and again for the great nostalgia factor, but it soon becomes tiring. I was training users in northwest Tennessee in August and they played classic rock in their offices. I didn't hear Emerson, Lake and Palmer, or The Guess Who, or even that much Rush, but they were sure to play Van Halen at least twice every single day. But I digress...

So, we listened to classic rock until we got into the depths of northern Mississippi where there's not much more than country and western, or gospel in the wee hours of the morning (until we could pick up more classic rock outside Jackson). Early on, while we were still in Arkansas, Alana made a comment that I knew a lot of song lyrics. In fact, she seemed to think I could sing along with a staggering number of songs.

The radio had just started in on a three song set of The Who.

Just as she said this, a song from the album Tommy came on.

I looked at her, smiled, and sang, "Welcome to the camp, I guess you all know why we're here. My name is Tommy, and I became aware this year."

It was obvious from the look on Alana's face that she'd never heard the song in her life, and here I was singing every word.

It just served to prove to her that, yes, I was insane.

I never really thought about it before, but it's haunted me since: I really do pick up a lot of song lyrics. In fact, when I like a song I have this deep seated need to learn the words.

I'm not as good at it as Alana thinks I am. There are still some old songs that I don't know all the lyrics to, even 30 years later, in spite of trying. I have trouble memorizing all the lyrics to songs by The Tragically Hip, but The Hip's lyrics tend to the poetic and don't repeat themselves much. They're often hard to learn, and maybe deliberately so.

But, yeah, looking at it objectively, I know the lyrics to a huge number of songs. Unfortunately, I also like to sing them even though I couldn't carry a tune if it was strapped to my back. I sing a lot when I'm alone in the car; I try not to inflict it much on the people around me, except maybe when we're on long car trips and I'm getting a bit punchy.

Now, if only I could wipe out some old Loverboy (*shudder*) lyrics and remember my security alarm number at work. I think it starts with a 5...

1 comment:

Alana said...

It's not just the's the staggering amount of STUFF you know. How does it not leak out of your ears?