I’m not sure why I never got into Karaoke. Since I pretty much spend my entire day walking, err bouncing, around singing to myself anyway, logic would suggest that Karaoke would be my sport of choice. But, for whatever reason, I prefer to listen to music in solitude, with only an imagery audience to observe my disheveled dance step.
Friday night, however, my friend Jen tricked me into a half-night of Karaoke with some of her teacher friends. It seems that New York City public school teachers are much like any other urban workers, meaning that they tend to end their work week downtown intoxicated, complaining about their colleagues with their colleagues (and all this time I thought they were FOILing quadratic equations, go figure)
Apparently at least some teachers also like to sing to one another, so, while the east village temporarily relocated to New Jersey for a Yo La Tengo concert, I found myself on St. Marks Place, singing with a group of people who in any other setting would have surely given me detenion. Even though my music taste is pretty specific, I'm usually able to wing a good music conversation in any setting. I have , after all, suffered through concerts by such diverse artists as Rod Stewart, the Sugar Hill Gang, Backstreet Boys and Bright Eyes (wow, my music journalism cred just vanished quicker than a plate of bangles at brake-fast).
But, scared that I'd out Jen as a closet hippie, I sat silently, nodding along as a group of obviously intelligent people recited the “Barbie Song” as if it were a missing passage from Beowulf with the aid of their friend Jack (Daniels that is).
It’s odd how genre stereotypes inadvertently play into everyday life. It’s somehow socially accessible for a group of academics to publicly spoon with a bottle of whiskey, yet mentioning the three-letter j-word could very well have cost my friend Jen her job.Perhaps in couple of years Trey will be so far removed from jam-nation that good natured, but square thinking , teacher types will spend their Saturday’s singing the words to “Shine.” I already noticed that “Heavy Things” has creeped its way into the Karaoke machine---and if that’s not a sign of the hippie-rock apocalypse I don’t know what it.
As for me, I’m going to go to bed now and mouth the words to “Airplane/Primitive,” an awesome track off the Slip’s new album Eisenhower. Its opening line has been stuck in my scull since I first slipped in the disc yesterday: “It’s the day before the rest of my life.” And, if that’s not a great High Holidays message, I don’t know what is.