Friday, August 25, 2006

So Is Life

Oh boy! I found Harry Belafonte and the Muppets doing "Turn the World Around" on the youtube!

So, at least in my mindhead, I quote this song all time. I only sometimes quote it out loud, but please rest assured that if you (collective you) and I (me) ever have a conversation about race, class, creed, gender, politics or religion, at some point I will be singing this song to myself (at least in my mindhead).

Because, really. "Do I know who you are? Do you know who I am? Do we care about each other? Because, together, we can turn the world around." Fuckin'-a right!

PREACH IT, BELAFONTE, BABY!



When my crazy-boss was still here, Crazy-boss asked us to make CDs with five songs that defined our lives. The soundtracks to our lives, as it were, and I've mostly blocked out that era of time (crazy-boss time) but I think we were supposed to choose the five songs that would tell the story of our lives (as opposed to the five songs we liked best). Or something. It's a little hazy.

And so, I chose:
1) Turn the World Around - Harry Belafonte and the Muppets
Because even though this song terrified me as a very young child (admit it, those talking masks are SCARY SCARY!), my little brother and I latched on to Harry Belafonte's message of awesome, and the joyousness of "see we one another clearly" definitely trumped the TERRIFYING ASPECT of singing African masks. I very distinctly recall the first time I saw the singing African masks on the Muppet Show, and I ran into the bathroom because I was crying, and my dad said I couldn't take a bubble bath and so I said, "Ok, but I won't ask mom if I can take a bubble bath" and then I ran upstairs and asked my mom if I could take a bubble bath! What a horrendous little child I was. I must have been really little, though, because if I remember correctly, the African-Mask-crying episode took place in the P.L.B (Pre Little Brother) era, so I was two-ish.


2. The Great Unknown - Dar Williams

I chose this song because it exemplified my high school years, during which I was highly obsessed with Dar Williams and the neofolk scene, but also because the lyrics make me almost insane because they match my own unhealthy fear/obsession with the nuclear bomb.
"I'm no ordinary princess, I was born in the cold war. And my team is the Rockets -- ("Go team!) -- it's a dangerous time. And I dream of the moon and building lunar clone colonies. And I build my peace with strength, that's the best weapon you've got. Oh, I am the brainchild, I am the mortar, With a plastic trophy and an eating disorder."
Indeed.

3. True Dreams of Wichita - Soul Coughing
When I was a frosh in college (Yo, I went to Wesleyan and we certainly didn't use the term freshman), my best friend Josh introduced us all to the wonders of Soul Coughing and we were crazy mad obsessed with this song (YOU HAD IT BUT YOU SOLD IT) and I've blogged about this before, but a certain someone (Who is not me, because I was straight-edge at the time) took some acid and listened to this song and apparently the song opened up like a door and the someone got to walk and around and crawl inside the song for a while. And also there were bright colors. And then there's the whole line about "You can stand on the arms of Williamsburg bridge and say, 'Hey, man. Well, this is Babylon' which floors me, to this day.

4. Make Your Own Kind of Music - Cass Elliot
Admittedly, I kinda chose this song because I made this CD right after that episode of "Lost" when Desmond was listening to this song in the hatch, but that episode itself made me realize I quite like this song. And after college I was pretty nutso, mostly stemming from a mushroom trip (I was no longer straight-edge) I went on, wherein I decided I was a prophet who was going to save the world from both hatred and also repression. And, in case it's not completely obvious, I was pretty out-of-control during that era. But I was, happily, making my own kind of music.

5. A Distorted Reality is Now a Necessity to Be Free - Elliott Smith.
To be sure, I was going to front that I chose this song because I truly do believe that living through Bush's 2nd term in office has absolutely required some sort of reality distortion to survive, but I also kind of meant that the era of the crazy-boss also necessitated some sort of reality distortion as well. A little snarky, that.

3 comments:

Esther Kustanowitz said...

"We...come...from the fire, go back to the fire, turn the world around..."

I remember it well, and even if you were a few years older, it wouldn't matter. Those masks are scary, plain and simple.

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