O Freunde

Happy Earth Day to all!

I was listening to music instead of podcasts this morning while taking the train into work. My iPod was in shuffle mode and throwing up a pretty interesting combination of tunes: Mad World (the slower version from Donnie Darko), Paradise by the Dashboard Light (Meatloaf), Slow Train to Dawn (The The), and Brand New Day (Sting). 

The culmination, though, as I was walking out of the station and into this warm, sunny day was the fourth movement (the choral) from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

I had the pleasure of enjoying this symphony live a few years ago at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sitting just a few seats away from the chorus and just slightly above the orchestra and main vocalists, it was an unforgettable experience that I will always treasure.

And what a way to start such a lovely day! I was tearing up as I rode the elevator up to my floor and listened to the words.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!
Diesen Kuß der ganzen Welt!
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the whole world!

 What a great way to start Earth Day.

Surprise me

I guess I’m just a naive person. Or maybe I’m too much of an idealist. Yeah, that sounds right: I’m a naive idealist.

Last night I was watching television and a new commercial for M&Ms came on. Maybe you’ve seen the new campaign they’ve launched: There’s an M in everyone. I was sitting there, knitting, and half-tuned in when I realized: I know the song they are playing to accompany the commercial and it just doesn’t belong there.

Really, what is This is the Day by The The doing in an M&Ms commercial????!!!! I feel…betrayed.

More and more, commercials are featuring music by the original artists. I’ve gotten used to that. But up until now, those tunes were ones that were most meaningful to the baby boomers. It was their music that was being used so crassly. What did I care? Baby boomers could sell-out; that was fine with me. They’re a big market and everyone wants a bit of their money. Last night, I realized that my generation is now being appealed to like the baby boomers. When did this happen? When did my generation become the latest, greatest demographic to exploit?

Last night, after I mentally picked myself up off the floor, I turned to Mark and poured this thought stream out on him.

Me: That’s a song from a pretty obscure band. It’s targeted directly to my generation. I can’t believe it. The The. In an M&M’s commercial.
Mark: Oh, I’ve heard of The The. I’ve heard that song before.
Me: Yeah, only because of me; because I have all the The The CDs and play them.
Mark: Well…that’s true…

You smile and think how much you’ve changed
All the money in the world couldn’t buy back those days

Yes, and that’s exactly why hearing this song has disturbed me so much.

I have one question for Matt Johnson: Do you no longer think this is true?

The The was pretty controversial. Lyrics tackled thorny topics like globalization, religious extremism, and human sexuality. I liked that. It wasn’t just about grooving to a beat, but also thinking about your impact on the world.

When they played here in Chicago many years ago [a time that despite hanging around outside the Riv in the bitter cold with my friend Kelly, we couldn’t score any extra tickets], a local rock critic noted that it was “music for the terminally depressed.” [So not true!] I can’t even fathom why anyone thought that a song by such a band could be used to sell candy.

You could’ve done anything
If you’d wanted
And all your friends and family think that you’re lucky
But the side of you they’ll never see
Is when you’re left alone with the memories
That hold your life together … like glue

*sigh* I’m too young to be so nostaligic; I’m too old to be so surprised.