Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The kind of thing you read about in new wave blogs

First, a word of warning -- this is going to be one of those iPod-related posts that will touch on the kind of subject that iPod owners prattle on about, but may make everyone else's eyes glaze over. That much said, it's not really that iPod-related.

Arizona distances are impressive. I've been in my car a lot the past couple of days. You'll recall I was headed out Monday to rap with a horticulturist for a story I'm working on. The story brought me out to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, Arizona, a round-trip totaling 430 miles to and from Flagstaff. I barely thought twice about the drive, until it dawned on me that it was approximately the distance from suburban Washington, DC, to Boston. So, just to be amusing, I did the drive today, as well.

We're (in this case, 'we' means my family, as opposed to my usual royal 'we' posts) entertaining guests this week, and to accommodate them, we've secured the services of a genuine minivan. This has dropped my coolness index -- which was already suffering -- to dangerously low levels. We'd rented some quasi-minivans before -- a Pontiac Aztec, a Chrysler Pacifica -- and they at least give off a veneer that suggests that, hey, maybe you're toting around a basketball team. But when you rent a Dodge Caravan, there's no mistaking what's going on. And even if there was any question, the two child car seats inside put any debate to rest.

So knowing that I had a day ahead of me with a minivan and childrens' music, I made certain that Monday's trip was choc full o'coolness -- sort of a midlife crisis in miniature. Well, perhaps that's overstating things, but I did have the radio station's jeep, my iPod shuffle, and one of those converters that lets you play it through a cassette deck. And the seven hours' worth of iPod listening yielded a couple of thoughts, or roughly one thought for every three-and-a-half hours I was in the car.

First, the song "Rio", by Duran Duran may not be the most clever song in the world ("Her name is Rio and she dances on the sand/Just like that river running through a dusty land..."), but driving across the Sonoran Desert, it kind of works. ("Oh Rio, Rio dance across the Rio Grande...")

The other thought concerned the song "Super Freak", by Rick James. The eyes of our older readers in the audience will continue to glaze over at this point. Our younger readers will want to note that this is the song MC Hammer sampled out the wazoo in his hit "U Can't Touch This". Readers too young to remember MC Hammer will be reminded that it's probably past their bedtime.

Anyway, "Super Freak" came out when the 19 Minutes staff was in 8th grade, and it was scandalous. The song was about a music groupie, decribed by Mr. James as "kinky", and "the kind you don't take home to mother." If I remember correctly, there was quite the buzz when it was played at an 8th grade dance.

But looking at the lyrics as a whole, they actually seem kind of quaint:

"The kind of girl you read about in new wave magazines..." New wave magazines? You mean they're, like, written by Gary Neuman? Or the Human League? I'm sure President Bush puzzles over this precise topic as he jams to his iPod.

"When I get there she's got incense, wine and candles/It's such a freaky scene..." Oooh -- incense, wine, and candles. If it had been just incense and wine, that would have been pretty tame. But the candles just push the whole thing past the kinky threshold.

"Temptations sing!
Super freak, super freak
That girl's a super freak

Actually, I have no comment about this lyric, except it amuses me to see it in print.

There was a third thought that troubled me a little as I drove, stereo blasting away. What are "Rio" and "Super Freak" doing on my iPod in the first place?

1 comment:

Carol Davidson said...

haha! Love it.