Sacred excretion I’m morphing into a mellow wuss!
Let me explain. Musically, I’m genetically hot-wired to have instantaneous and lethally allergic reaction towards mellow stuff. Barry Manilow makes my intestines twist like pretzels in the hands of a unabomber. I cannot listen to ABBA without channeling Hannibal Lecter. On accidental occasions when I am trapped in a situation — i.e. a dentist’s waiting room — where it’s inevitable (and tragically inescapable) to hear mellow love songs I double over with pain while desperately shaking off the mental image of a construction drill boring on my molars.
So it came as a disturbing shock that — this is painful to admit — I am beginning to be seduced towards the dark side by listening to (aiie!) The Carpenters! Non-stop! For two effing days!
Listen. I flatter myself with a persistent (if not misguided) belief that insofar as musical taste is concerned I belong to the listening elite. My 3000+ (and counting) personal CD library boasts of brilliant stuff from varied genres excluding country music (depressing!) and, you got it, mellow music (wimpy! whiny! wussy!). I have cultivated a tremendous fascination with subpop and British indie music of late and mellow is the last adjective you’d associate with them.
So why this regression towards Mellowville?!? Why in bleep’s sake am I flirting with disaster, with humiliation, with shame?!! I might as well be dead!
Okay, this is where the melodrama kicks in and you are welcome to punch me in the face but don’t ever think I haven’t done so gazillion times already.
Sade, Barry White, Mike Francis, Marvin Gaye — demigods who deserve their own postage stamps may be mistaken by a few amateurs to be (ugh! the word!) mellow. When that happens I’d glower to the fumbling fool and lecture him/her on the gaping difference between mellow and brilliance. The aforementioned artists are NOT mellow! They are tender, soft, in a sensual, soulful way! Never (oh, i just so love typing this fucking word!) mellow! There’s the freaking difference!
So I’m quite going ballistic over this new addiction with The Carpenters! How on this graying earth did it happen? By accident of course. I am not directly responsible and that doesn’t seem to lessen the crime!
Someone fiddled with my iPod and loaded fifteen songs by The Carpenters! It maybe someone who hated my guts, a disgruntled underling, or someone plain rotten enough or evil to the spleen who knew of my total pain over music like The Carpenters.
Instead of cringing or starting running and flinging myself out of the window I froze on my tracks and like a Scientology initiate on trance allowed the sickening songs creep on my brains and take over my entire mind! You know that movie The Body Snatchers? Same concept.
First I winced. Then two songs down the row I assumed the IQ of a possessed zombie. My eyes glazed over and I’m staring blankly at the antiseptic flourescent lamp. Concisely, I’m a goner.
Now let me justify my insane affliction.
The Carpenters, whether you like it or not, (and I am writing this in shocked/awed disbelief) are undeniable alchemists of sadness. Their melodies are mawkish beyond belief, but the lyrics sting like ten thousand hornets on a vengeance spree. They hit you like avalanche of anvils and you are buried under the weight of sweet yearnings, pinings, half-wishes and that thing you can’t seem to brush off the back of your head: the profound and wistful understanding that essentially love is the root cause of self-inflicted human misery. That no matter how the lovely folks at Hallmark Cards try to sugarcoat it in pastels eventually you’ll find yourself spending saturday evenings watching reruns or playing solitaire. Consider the ironic lyrics that go: “The Boy/Girl who is driving me crazy is going away” and you’ll know. I defy anyone who is incapable of getting a date to listen to ‘Goodbye To Love’ and not see his/her future flash before his/her eyes like malevolent scenes from a really dreary one-cast movie. Or, after a horrific, messy breakup you are confronted with lines that go: “Don’t you remember you told me you loved me baby/You said you’d be coming back this way again baby/” and the universe forbids you to go berserk and start demolishing your ex’s living quarters with a dynamite-loaded bulldozer.
If I sound homicidal it’s not because of my shameless descent into the pit of pathetic mellowness. I’m just reassuring myself that even if I listen to The Carpenters I am still capable of detonating an atomic warhead in the bathroom of anyone who’ll mock me.
And that’s neither an empty threat or an invitation for provocation.