365 Day Song Challenge: Day 91 – “Time Passages”

Day 91: The song with the oldest “date added” listing in your iTunes/iPod/mp3 player.

“Time Passages” – Al Stewart

Time PassagesI love how the author of the challenge assumes there’s a single oldest “date added” song in your iTunes. I had a significant collection of MP3s (well over a thousand) long before I converted to iTunes, so when I started importing them, it was not one at a time (drag and drop is a wonderful thing!) and it most certainly was not one per day. The day I decided to bite the bullet and go iTunes, I added 1341 songs.

Even if I break it down by time, iTunes is only as granular as the minute. In the first minute, it imported 49 songs. If I sort by “Date Added,” then “Ah! Leah!” is first, but with my “no repeat” policy, I can’t do that one again. And who knows if it was actually first? The sort algorithm on iTunes can be sketchy. Given that it was 8 years ago (how the hell did that happen?) I have no idea what was actually imported first. So I’m going to use some license, make a decision, and talk about “Time Passages.”

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I remember hearing “Time Passages”—once again courtesy of my brother—shortly after it came out. I would have been about nine. I liked the music even then, and although I memorized the words shortly after, I really had no idea what they meant until years later. Back then, I thought it was about actual time travel (and on some level I guess it is), not realizing it was really about looking back on the moments in your life and being able to “transport” back in time. At nine years old, you’re not thinking in those terms. And even if you were, you only have about three moments to transport back to, anyway.

Given most of the discussions here, maybe I should have named this blog “Time Passages.” (Or possibly “Aimless Ramblings of an Annoying Windbag,” but that doesn’t have the same ring.) But when I was hearing this song for the first dozen or so times, I could never have predicted that I’d be putting the premise of the song into action today.

I should state explicitly that, yes, I do a lot of “remembering” in this blog, and it’s fun to look back, but I don’t long for those days. It’s not Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” or anything. I don’t want to go back there. I realize that life is a journey, and what happened in the past is what made me what I am today, good or bad. Going back would serve no good purpose. To quote the song “it’s just a game that you play.”

Back when I was first hearing the song, I couldn’t have known that the lyrics were, in part, describing my future outlook, either:

Well I’m not the kind to live in the past
The years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on are the things that don’t last
Well it’s just now and then my line gets cast into these
Time passages

A wise(-ass) movie character who took a famous day off once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with looking back once in a while as you’re looking around. I think it helps make sense of it all.

Incidentally, there were a number of other potential candidates in the list of 49 “first minute” songs. Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights depending on how you look at it):

So there you have it. Some musical time passages.

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 90 – “Don’t Come Around Here No More”

Day 90: A song you like to sing to babies.

“Don’t Come Around Here No More”
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Don't Come Around Here No MoreTruth be told, I don’t actually sing to babies. In fact, I avoid babies like the plague. I simply don’t understand people’s affinity for them.

“They’re so cute!” people say. I can buy that. If you find amorphous blobs that drool all over you cute. (I personally think all babies pretty much look alike. I guess that makes me infantist.)

“They smell so good!” people say. I must have different olfactory sensors than other people (or a different definition of “good”), because babies just smell like spit-up formula to me. Which does not smell good; it just smells like bad milk with a hint of bile. And that’s the lesser of the two evils, because just as often, they smell like poop.

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“Doesn’t it make you want to have one?” people ask. Oh sure. In the way that seeing someone else’s festering boil makes me want one of my very own, too.

“It’s different when it’s your own,” people say. Yes. Yes it is, because I’d actually have to keep it for at least 18 years. And feed it, bathe it, pay its way… The list of bad things goes on. As it is now, I can simply hand the child back to you when I’ve had enough.

“What if your parents had thought like that?” people ask. Then I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t know the difference anyway.

Now, I know some people will take offense to all that, (while others will agree whole-heartedly) but please note, I didn’t say you shouldn’t have babies, or like their stink… er… smell, or think they’re cute. I’m just saying that’s how I feel. If everyone felt like I did, the human race would cease to exist. Maybe. But that’s a discussion for another day (and maybe even another blog.)

So, how about that song? Well, given my aversion of people of the short-and-coordinationally-challenged variety, “Don’t Come Around Here No More” seemed like a reasonable, if tongue-in-cheek, option for today’s post. It comes from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ 1985 album Southern Accents, which also spawned the singles “Rebels” and “Make It Better (Forget About Me).”

I think this album is underrated. Its singles were not massive hits (but did get lots of traction on rock stations), but even outside of the singles, songs like “Spike” and the title track are very good as well. And the live version of “Spike” (found on The Live Anthology) with its additional narrative is just great (it quickly jumped on the favorites list when I got The Live Anthology). While it’s a quality album, apparently the recording process was rife with stress (Tom Petty broke his own hand slamming it into a wall) and marred by rampant drug use, making it less of a favorite among the band, but luckily as listeners we don’t have to worry about all that baggage.

Hmm… stress and baggage. Sounds like someone wanting to travel with an infant. And by “travel,” I mean “leave the house for more than five minutes.” Yeah, sign me up for that…

Hey! Don’t come around here no more.

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 89 – “Blue Boy”

Day 89: Your favorite country song.

“Blue Boy” – Jim Reeves

Blue BoyI’ve mentioned before that country music isn’t high up on my list of preferred genres. But, I did grow up with it. As I’ve stated before, my parents were fans of the “hillbilly music” and so, for much of my early childhood, that’s what I heard. There wasn’t a lot I could do about it. It’s validation of the advertising maxim that repetition will make you remember things, even if you don’t like it.

The problem is, I do like some of it. And this galls me more than you know. Whether it’s sheer nostalgia, brainwashing or something else, I can’t say. But there it is. So, I do in fact have a favorite country song. There are a bunch, actually, but I wanted to pick something that was really country. As opposed to something that was a major crossover hit, because the crossover seems to make it “less country,” somehow.

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“Blue Boy” is one of those songs from my childhood. Jim Reeves was blessed with a rich, baritone voice. Accounts vary as to whether it was Reeves himself or producers who wanted him to use higher registers and who conversely “won out” with the result being his use of said baritone. Either way, once he started using it, it became his trademark and his golden ticket.

“Blue Boy” was one of his earlier hits, and is a little more “country” than some of the later material. It begins with a walking bass line and piano riff, and then he kicks in with that voice. This song struck a chord with me long ago and has not let go in the intervening years.

Reeves had a long string of country (and crossover) hits subsequent to “Blue Boy” before a 1964 plane crash cut his life short. (Did you ever notice how many musicians and singers have died in plane crashes? Granted, they tend to do an inordinate amount of traveling, and many of the ones I’m thinking of died in the 50s and 60s when plane travel wasn’t what it is today. But even so, that list is really long.) Savvy marketing on the part of his wife kept him on the charts well into the 70s. This is likely why the Jim Reeves 8-Tracks infiltrated the house.

Close runners-up for today’s post are two songs by the Statler Brothers. It pains me to admit it, but I have a very large soft spot for these guys, too. Yes, I own a few albums. I will now hang my head in shame. Trust me, I’m hanging it, even if you can’t see it.

“Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?” is a very typical, twangy country song. I should, by all rights, hate this song. And then there’s “Who Am I To Say?” This one is less typically twangy, but it is without a doubt in the country fold. Hearing either of these songs puts me back in the living room of our house in Pennsylvania, circa 1979. I can see the green-hued wallpaper and visualize how the room is set up. I have to believe this time transport is all part of the reason I like them today.

And, truth be told, if I wasn’t being picky about the crossover thing, “I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt would probably have won out. I love this song. I love the beat, the music, the lyrics. When this was popular I used to bop around the roller-skating rink to it. I remember one night one of my friends coming over to me and saying in horror: “Everyone is looking at you!” To which I replied, “so?”

Somewhere along the line that ability to simply not care got beaten out of me. (Junior high can be rough.)

I’d like to get that back.

Do you think if I went to a roller rink they’d play “I Love A Rainy Night” for me?