Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Elvis Costello "Mystery Dance"

For the next couple of days, I thought it would be fun to write about a few tunes for a game I'd like to call:

"This is what it means if you hear that song on mvyradio."

There are a handful of songs, that, if I hear them on the station, I can tell you exactly what is going on behind the scenes . . .

Timing is everything.

Especially in a business that runs on a clock.

I mean, I know we're on Island Time on the Vineyard, but you can't start the 9am News at Ten-Past.

But sometimes your hour gets away from you. You're concentrating on other things (preparing the news, answering the Listener Line, getting your next set of songs lined up), and you look up and realize that it's five minutes before the top of the hour, and you have 4 minutes of commercials to play.

Every DJ at the station has a mental file of the shortest songs in the library. And at 1 minute and 38 seconds, "Mystery Dance" is the shortest.

Some people pick The Beatles "I Will" at 1:43, or, if they have an extra few seconds Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" or The Byrds' "Ballad Of Easy Rider" which each clock in at just about 2 minutes.

But I like "Mystery Dance" because it's a frenetically paced paean to under-performance. It seems like the perfect song to play as your rushing around to get the News ready for the top of the hour.

So if you hear this one, know that whoever is on the air was moving too slowly for the last 55 minutes, and has been racing for the last 5.

Hear it live from 1978 (with 2 other songs) on Youtube.

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