Thursday, October 07, 2004

midnight and brian wilson

As I was driving into work today Brian Wilson, a classic Barenaked Ladies song from the 90s was playing on the radio. I was immediately transported back to highschool days and playing pool in my parent's basement. I remembered how my older brother and I used to play pool late into the night when he was home from University. I couldn't tell you how the tradition started, but somehow that was our time. Between midnight and two in the morning with the clack of billiard balls beating out a rythmn, Mark and I would talk and he would listen to his little sister and dispense advice. It was one of the rare times when we talked as equals, when I had his full attention. And he gave great advice. I made two of the biggest decisions of my life over those late nate games, often with Brian Wilson playing in the background.

What had me laughing today though, was that years later I still know ALL the words to Brian Wilson. I haven't heard that song in years. I haven't poured over the liner notes for half a lifetime. But there they were. I turned the radio on somewhere in the middle and barely missed a beat

Drove downtown in the rain,
9.30 on a Tuesday night
Just to check out the late night
record shop.
Call impuslive, call it convulsive
you can call it insane.
But when I'm surrounded I just can't

How is it that all of the information in the world, these are the words that are stuck in my head? What is it about song lyrics that makes them so enduring? I have this theory that if some scientist could find a way to delete all of the old song lyrics out of everyone's head that we would have enough brain power to cure cancer. Or at least figure out a solution to world hunger or global warming. Think about it -- how many hundreds -- thousands? -- of songs do you know all the words to? I wonder what percentage of the human brain is used up remembering the words to songs we'd just as soon forget.

I don't want to forget the memories that go along with these songs. I don't want to forget the late night basement pool sessions that literally changed my life, changed which province I am currently living in. But do I really need to know all the words to the Tiffany version of I Think We're Alone Now? I'm pretty sure I could live without that.


kelly said...

hey loon. wow, you know what your blog reminded me of? when i borrowed your moxy fruvus cd and got nailed with those songs being stuck in my head. i knew all the words while it was playing, but after i returned it, i had ONE LINE stuck in my head. *sigh* what torture.
But i know what you mean - songs have this memory to them that bring you back to a particular time. maybe i should have studied for all of my high school and college finals by writing songs about them. perhaps i would have retained some of that knowledge...

westcoastloon said...

and now the irony. . . Saturday night I was out at Milestone's with a friend and we were talking about blogs. I had just finished mentioning this post and what comes over the loudspeakers? I Think We're Alone Now. . . .I probably haven't heard that song in 10 years. But, yes, I still know all the words.