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I like a guy who drives a truck. He can’t tell time, but he sure can…drive.

December 2, 2010

Things are hopping here at Spy headquarters, and I’m having to concentrate hard to prevent myself from flitting from task to half-finished task without completing things.

As a reward for completing the marathon job application (for which I received notification of its receipt and completeness from the music department administrator within 30 minutes of delivery — a stunning thing, particularly since half the time you never hear whether they got your application or not), I let myself go to my morning yoga class, which was lovely. But when I got home, I undid much of the relaxation by inhaling my food and sitting down at the piano to arrange music for my students to play at Studio 2’s Christmas recital, which is coming up in a couple of weeks. I wrote a nice obligato part for my most advanced student to play in a duet with a singer on “Lo, How a Rose ere blooming.” I arranged a simple accompaniment for my two middle schoolers to play with a small ensemble of keyboards and singers on “Do You Hear What I Hear?” which for some reason I keep calling “The Little Drummer Boy.” I think I’m confused by an Andy Williams Christmas album we had when I was a kid. Then I got to work on the one I’ve been dreading — a Christmas song by Taylor Swift. If truth be told, it’s not terrible. The song is not good. The lyrics are painful. But it’s kind of fun to play. And it’s got a really simple chord structure, so it gave me a chance to start talking about harmony and improvisation with my advanced student, who is not just a talented player, but who has a good musical brain and a curiosity about how it works. We mapped out a plan for the piece together and talked about the areas where she could improvise short solos. We’re both going to come up with our own solutions and then we’ll talk about it and put it together next week.

It was a good lesson, but I was left with an annoying Taylor Swift earworm, which was only cured when I began belting out “Poker Face” with Lady Gaga while driving home from the grocery store (where, incidentally, I saw two people, not together, boogying down in the frozen foods aisle, with no self-consciousness whatsoever. It was a beautiful thing).

But while I was singing along at the top of my lungs and hoping the guy in the next car wasn’t watching, suddenly another set of lyrics popped into my head.

When I need something to help me unwind,
I find a six-foot baby with a one track mind.
Smart guys are nowhere. They make demands
Give me a moron with talented hands.

I couldn’t place the lyrics, but was pretty sure they came from the deep recesses of my past. A quick google search reminded me of this song, which we played constantly in college, along with the rest of the album:

I was glad to be reminded of this song, which still cracks me up, not just for its lyrics but also for its unmistakable 80s groove. And it’s definitely a more entertaining thing to have sloshing around my brain than “Christmas Must be Something More.” But I’m still not sure about the stream of consciousness leap from Lady Gaga to Julie Brown. They’re in different keys and with different tempos. They do both have a relentlessly regimented beat. Is that all it takes to dredge up a tune from 20+ years ago? Damned if I know.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Cranky permalink
    December 2, 2010 1:38 pm

    I like them big and….STOOPID. Funny, I hadn’t thought of that song in a very long time.

  2. December 2, 2010 3:14 pm

    Me neither! All memories of it are entirely linked to Tyler.

  3. December 2, 2010 4:08 pm

    The “I like em big and stupid” song reminds me of another 80’s song, Uncle Banzai’s Fat Boys (
    Know how to wake up Lady Gaga?
    Poke her face.

  4. December 3, 2010 12:03 am

    Jeanne, your joke cracked me up. I’m unfamiliar with Uncle Bonsai. I will go have a listen.

  5. December 3, 2010 8:14 am

    I have a dangerous tendency to confuse Banzai with Bonsai!

  6. December 5, 2010 11:22 am

    That last song, which I’d never before heard, cracked me the hell up.

  7. December 5, 2010 12:55 pm

    Magpie, the whole album is worth a listen. I’m not sure how widely distributed it was. This song and “Because I’m Blonde” were our favorites.

  8. December 5, 2010 5:25 pm

    I’ve always thought we shoulda arranged that song in four parts for Glee Club…too many members lacking in the required humor I suppose, given that we cut out the last line of that fab Copland song. (Then again, ‘Bought me a husband’ wouldn’t have scanned quite right).

    Ye gods. Where DO these thoughts come from?!?

  9. December 5, 2010 5:34 pm

    I don’t know, IWOM. We all sang “Cruelty is a pickled egg!” with, er, relish.

  10. December 6, 2010 4:14 pm

    Kumqua-at, kiiiiwi, waaa-te-er-melon, paaaa-sionnnn fruuuuit!

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