Thursday, September 21, 2006

Depression Pop: "But the stars we could reach were just starfish on the beach"

Driving to work today, I heard the 70's song, "Seasons in the Sun." It got me thinking of all the songs in the seventies that were just darned depressing. Terminally depressing. Sure, there were anti-war songs like:
"Billy Don't Be A Hero" (1974) by Paper Lace
She said
Billy, don't be a hero, don't be a fool with your life
Billy, don't be a hero, come back and make me your wife
And as he started to go she said, Billy, keep your head low
Billy, don't be a hero, come back to me

I heard his fiancee got a letter
That told how Billy died that day
The letter said that he was a hero
She should be proud he died that way
I heard she threw that letter away ...

Or "One Tin Soldier" by Coven (Joan Baez also released the song).

But I'm talking about songs that go beyond social commentary or even "you broke my heart and I want to die" ballads. These are songs about real dying or suicidal thoughts. I have a lovely selection for you:

“Alone Again, Naturally” (1972)by Gilbert O’Sullivan
In a little while from now
If I’m not feeling any less sour
I promise myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower
And climbing to the top will throw myself off
In an effort to make it clear to who
Ever what it’s like when you’re shattered
Left standing in the lurch at a church
Where people saying "My God, that’s tough
She's stood him up
No point in us remaining
We may as well go home"
As I did on my own
Alone again, naturally

"Shannon" by Henry Gross (1976)(about a dead dog)
Shannon is gone I heard
She's drifting out to sea
She always loved to swim away
Maybe she'll find an island
With a shaded tree
Just like the one in our backyard

Terry Jacks (1974)
Goodbye Michelle it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air
With the flowers everywhere
I wish that we could both be there

We had joy we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the stars we could reach
Were just starfish on the beach

SHEESH! And think of all the songs I didn't list: "Lonely Boy" and "Wildfire" to name a couple.

Don't get me wrong: I will caterwaul to "Alone Again, Naturally" and "Wildfire" with the best of them. But what was going on to produce such dismal pop and then what happened that led to the short reign of Disco just after? Sure, times were trying with the war and social protest, but that's happening today and we don't hear the same level of angst in any pop-music genre that I'm aware of.

"She ran calling W-i-i-i-l-l-d-f-i-r-e!"
Sunday, September 17, 2006

The blahs

Hello my dears! Sorry for not posting in so long. Life has been busy. I'm now on the advisory board of the Oklahoma English Journal, a publication for the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English. So I've been reading and copy editing a lot lately as well as teaching and other teacherly duties.

One great thing happened last week - The Daily Show and the Colbert Report are back from hiatus!! Jon Stewart has been on FIRE! So funny. Last week, they parodied the Progressive Auto Insurance Celebrity Translator commercials by having Little Richard translate for George Bush. They simply spliced in George Bush over the woman in that commercial and used some of his lines from his 9/11 speech. It was perfect. I thought I was going to fall on the floor, I was laughing so much. You can see it yourself on at

And earlier in the week, he'd done the President's 5 Stages of Grief, using clips of Bush's comments over the last 5 years since 9/11. The stages were: Denial, Anger, Anger, Anger, Hanukkah, Acceptance, and Denial again. The Hanukkah stage was in response to Bush's comment that he didn't think Osama Bin Laden appreciated the joy of Hanukkah. Well, duh! Stewart's face after that quote was worth a thousand satiric comments. Here's the YouTube link:

YouTube is a great site - you can find just about any clip you want from Schoolhouse Rock to something on CNN last night. I was trying to figure out the melody in this old Saturday morning commercial about hankering for a hunk of cheese, and sure enough, I was able to see the whole thing on YouTube. Gosh, I love the internet!!

I'm doing great, BTW. I had a medical setback because of a doctor - I walked out of her office because I felt her care would have cost me a lot more money than she indicated upfront - all sorts of strings attached to getting my post-op fills at her center. So I'm going in on Tuesday to a doctor in Edmond for my first official visit to a doctor since surgery. I will post the results ASAP after Tuesday.