It’s actually Sunday afternoon, the first day of spring, and I’m just back from a nice long run in the cool rain. When I have the time at the end of a run, like today, I like to build in a little treat for myself – I take the time to do a cool-down walk down a side road that runs through the beautiful tree-covered riverside golf course we live by. Loving to run or walk through the rain, I found myself winding down halfway through the course when I all of a sudden realized that in my head, bouncing around were the lyrics to one of the most silly and annoying songs I’ve ever heard. Called “Friday” by Rebecca Black, it became an internet sensation this past week, gathering up more than 27 million views alone on You Tube (as of today), and it also came into the top 10 singles sold on Apple’s itunes.
Check it out if you dare:
If by chance you've been under a rock this past week and haven't yet heard of or viewed the video, here’s a sample of some of the prose within. Sesame Street would be jealous of the simplicity, and hey, maybe they should consider having her on the show rather than Katy Perry in a low cut dress (I'm not complaining about that):
“Yesterday was Thursday, Thursday. Today it is Friday, Friday. We we so excited. We so excited. We gonna have a ball today. Tomorrow is Saturday. And Sunday comes afterwards. I don’t want this weekend to end.”
“Partying partying - yeah! Partying partying - yeah! Fun - fun - fun – fun. Looking forward to the week-end.”
There’s always a danger when you go on a long run, or bike ride, or even a walk. You get into that mode, and you lose control of your thought processes as you give in to the rhythm of your body during exercise. It’s a wonderful and addictive byproduct, but sometimes things go astray and your conscience boldly cries out ‘mutiny!’ and all of the brain cells that are in charge of rational thought take over in the most rude and unpleasant way. Today, my punishment for pushing my body and mind through a long cold rainy workout was not a lactic acid buildup – it was that song running through my head.
Yet I have a database of at least 5,000 songs in my head, so why, why is this the one going round and round my head? Is it really so fun – fun – fun – fun? Am I I so so excited? Why not something from Pink Floyd? Or Cold Play, David Bowie or even ABBA for that matter?
This all got me to thinking (with the song still in the back of my head). Being the traveling guy I am, I’ve been on many trips where I’ve been in cities surrounded by centuries-old art and architecture, world-famous historical sites and landmarks, sculptures, bridges, spectacular ocean-fronts, thousand year old trees – and I find myself in somewhere absolutely un-historic and generic like an Apple Store in New York City, or at Pier 39 in San Francisco - or shopping for clothes at The Gap in London, England. Even worse, I’ll find myself going through the tourist trap shops in downtown Banff or likewise in Gastown in Vancouver. And let’s not even talk about the Mall of America in Minneapolis, a city with more bike paths and beautiful small lakes than you could visit in a lifetime.
|I think it's sad to spend your time in here when there are places like the high line to walk, or wonderfully tall buildings to visit.|
When compared to what these cities hold of an education nature, are these touristy destinations not the equivalent to finding yourself singing the lyrics to a song like Friday? There are so many thousands of quality songs out there that you can not only enjoy, but find actual meaning within their words. Note: this is why I unfortunately couldn’t include REM in my original list of world-class musical groups.
The odd thing is – these mostly secondary destinations and simply worded songs have some purpose. In their own way, they feed the soul. To put it in really simple terms (Rebecca Black might want these words for her next mega-hit), we can’t always have steak - sometimes we just have to have a hot dog. There’s comfort in comfort food, and when people are traveling around the world, there’s a certain degree of comfort going somewhere that’s packed with like-minded tourists looking for that popular spot, whether there’s something educational about it or if it has something to do with the city it’s in, or not.
|Now what you do with your hot dog is up to you. Ketchup? Mustard? Hot peppers? But it's still a hot dog.|
And it’s the same with music. I already know that Friday comes after Thursday, and thinking back to my grade 1 education I know that Friday is followed by Saturday. But her words are comfort food for the masses. It’s simple, predictable, and hey, I’ll even admit, maybe even a little bit fun. I’m sure many millions of You Tube viewers had a good time in the office or at home making fun of the really silly lyrics and the ultra-cheesy video (if my kids ever sit in a car like that they’ll be grounded for life - or longer), but I wonder just how many of them also found themselves humming the very same tune to themselves this weekend, if only for a brief moment. However long that song stayed in their minds, I hope they had fun fun fun fun. But not too much, cause today is Sunday, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be followed by Monday.