Friday, February 26, 2010

Girlyman “Easy Bake Ovens”

All Time Top Five Songs that shouldn’t make me cry, but do . . .

This song is just so vivid to me. I can’t believe how it captures an era---of American life, and of my life, too.

The period specific stuff resonates, of course. The sneakers thrown over telephone wires. Bikes racing around cul-de-sacs. Model airplanes and paper crowns from Burger King. And, Nixon and Watergate, not fully understood, hanging over everything.

The mood, I think, is what gets me. There’s this weird, youthful alienation in this song, that I recall vividly, when the neighborhood seemed like a gigantic world, and I was so young and small within it.

I lived on a street where there weren’t really any kids my age, everyone was a little bit older. Or a lot older. And I just rode my bike around, an observer of the teenagers, and the older kids with cars, and the parents who seemed so inscrutable. I was on the outside looking in at this world.

And it’s all weirdly sad, and yet nostalgic for me, tapping into something I’d forgotten about, as I grew up, found out how big the world really was, and can look at teenagers for all they don’t know, instead of all they seemed to know.

And if you’re not touched in the same way, then here IS a reason to be sad and nostalgic: Ronald Howes, inventor of the Easy Bake Oven, passed away this month.

One more thing, Girlyman performs at the Narrows Center this weekend. Stream it live on Saturday night, or find it in the archives next week.

From time to time on Every Day I Write The Blog, I do a week’s worth of my five favorite songs on theme. For the All Time Top Five rules, see this previous post.


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