EM came home from school yesterday in a state of electrified excitement. Not only had her class spent the ENTIRE! DAY! at the the AQUARIUM! where she saw a clutch of brand spanking new BABY! SNAKES! But her teachers, in their infinite wisdom, had hatched among them a new policy regarding the lunch hour, which they announced just before school let out.
Presumably, one of them has recently read somewhere that music aids digestion, or tames the wild beast, or....something. It's the only reason I can think to explain why they've suddenly invited each of the children to bring in one of his or her favorite CD's which they'll take turns listening to while the class eats lunch. (Short explanatory note here: school cafeterias don't exist in Norway as they do in the States, or indeed, everywhere else in the civilized world. Kids eat their lunch in their classroom, at their desks, with their teachers. Lucky teachers, eh?)
I invite you to take a little trip back in time with me, if you will. You're 7 years old, and you don't know a blesséd thing about music. You like to sing and dance though. You've watched your mom cut loose and shake her groove thing during a handful of her more 'unguarded' moments. You like that mom. She's fun. You want to practice looking just as dumb as she does for when you grow up, and sing and dance in front of your kids. But she won't let you anywhere near the stereo. And she snaps irritably "no I really don't want to listen to that GOD! DAMN! Hooked On Classics again, thank you very much!" everytime you ask. That's okay. You'd really rather practice in the privacy of your own room anyway. So your mind turns to that bitchin' little cassette recorder you got for your birthday, and the shoebox full of old tapes behind the loud speakers that Mom doesn't care about anymore. You go digging through that in search of a suitable beat.
Now, be honest, what did you come up with? For you older kids on the reading list, the details will vary slightly on account of you all being 7 years old during the Middle Ages. But the idea is the same. You borrowed your early musical taste from the crap your parents left behind. So what, other than Gregorian chants, are some of the first songs you remember jamming to?
For me it was Abba's Super Trouper and (oh gawd) Air Supply. But mostly Abba. I listened to that Abba tape over and over and over and over again. I thought On and On and On was the coolest song evah! I knew all the words, but would have been hard pressed to tell you what it was about. Er, still would be, I guess. Whatever. Not the point. Focus.
We're here to talk about what EM found at the bottom of my pile of rejected crap, and how mortified I was this morning when she left with it proudly tucked under her arm in a cracked jewel case.
The Judds, people! The Judds' Greatest Hits. Volume 2, if you must know.
What can I say? I went through a phase in my early 20's where I had this thing for tight country harmonies. I'll also admit to owning greatest hits collections of Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, and The Bellamy Brothers. Judge me if you must, but I bet at least one of you fools out there has a copy of New Kids on the Block under a bed somewhere!
I haven't listened to any of this music for years, not since long before the kids were born. I don't know how or why EM came upon this ancient relic of my misspent youth. But she did. And she loves it. Listens to it every single day, as loud as the cheapass disc player in her room will play it. Loves.It. And did I tell you? She got to SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE IN HER CLASS TODAY!
I can just picture her teacher taking the disc from EM's happy hands, "Mmmmm, The Judd's. No. Never heard of them. Something new from those talented folks at Disney no doubt." Then innocently pushing play, and hearing that first tortured twang--"Had a dr-eeeeem about ya' ba-beeeee. Had a dr-eeeeeeem 'bout me and you-oooo...." Frantically looking at her watch, she quickly calculates how much of this dreadful (albeit perfectly harmonized) screeching she has to listen to before she can turn it off without seeming unfair.
"Right," she says between clinched teeth, as she hands it, daintily pinched between thumb and forefinger like a rotten lettuce leaf, back to EM. "That was a....um, quaint little piece of Americana, EM. Thank you for sharing. I suppose we have your mother to thank for this, do we?"
Ah well. Could have been worse. Could have been The Bellamy Brothers. Now, they really were crap!