It happened. I was sitting at my computer surfing the internet and the next thing I know I was on a page I…well, I’m ashamed to admit it, my mouse hovered over the button and before my better judgment could stop me I was clicking the mouse and sending a message to iTunes that I did want to purchase The Very Best of Hall and Oates. It was on sale. It was $5.99. Now when I go to my music I see this:
Why did this happen? Why does anything happen on the internet? I am a weak man. A man who makes poor decisions when I let my guard down.
I know there are people out there who will ask, “What’s so wrong with Hall and Oates?” Yeah, what is wrong with Hall and Oates? Is there anyone out there who can listen to You Make My Dreams Come True without signing along? No! Don’t lie. Play that song on while driving your car and next thing you know people at the stoplight will be wondering if you are having a seizure or if you are listening to The Very Best of Hall and Oates. Yet, I still feel like I ate one too many slices of pizza.
One of the first things I bought with my own money was a radio with a dual tape deck. The hours of working at Cut Price Foods in Auckland, New Zealand earned me around 90 US dollars so when I passed through duty-free in LA I knew I would be buying a sweet sound system. By today’s standards the radio/tape deck was terrible, but I loved it and spent hours listening to the radio in those days when I thought DJs were the luckiest people in the world. My musical tastes were dictated by what was available, and what was available was pop radio. I did own a few Beatles tapes and Supertramp’s Breakfast in America, but most of the time I was listening to the radio play the same five songs by Pablo Cruise, Steele Dan, and Christopher Cross. (This did scar me, and I am sorry for those of you who lived through this time and are now forced to re-live it through my poorly constructed words. When I hear that the CIA used music to torture people I think, “I’ll bet it was Christopher Cross or Steele Dan.” How much do I hate Steele Dan? I leave stores when Steele Dan comes on over the loudspeakers, I wrote a radio station informing them that if they continued to play Steele Dan that I would find a new station. They wrote back and said that they had lots of people who listened to the station who liked Steele Dan which made me vomit in my mouth a little. I found a new station.)
Eventually, I found my way out. I began buying music at Tower Records (RIP) and discovered new worlds of music that had been there the whole time. For me, it was like discovering my closet had a secret door to an alternative universe. Looking back on it now, I realize my year in NZ prepared me for this new world. (Spending a year in another country does a great deal to change your perspective on life and truth. What, nobody cares who wins the Super Bowl? The US isn’t considered the greatest country ever? Why is there a beet on my hamburger?)
I don’t know why music has been so important to my existence, but I do know music has always been there for me. I guess, in some ways, I have become a music snob. I do judge people when they say, “I really like Steele Dan.” Or, “Aerosmith is the greatest American rock band.” I like people who introduce me to new music and think the most interesting people are people who know Cracker, Billy Holiday, Nina Simone, De La Soul, and Dread Zeppelin. But, to be perfectly honest, I want to have room in my music collection for Hanson’s MMM Bop, Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, and Hall and Oates.
The same little voice inside my head that makes me feel bad when I drink a Budweiser is the same voice that asked, “You just bought The Very Best of Hall and Oates, what is wrong with you?” Maybe I should listen to this voice more often, but then I wouldn’t have purchased my first Rage Against the Machine album, or Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells a Story. This little voice has prevented me from doing really stupid things: Buying Christopher Cross’ Greatest Hits, drinking a Bud Light. The problem with that little voice can always be solved with a second Budweiser, or in this case, a second listen to You Make My Dreams Come True. “You, ooh, you makin’ my dreams come true…”