Believing in Chunky Soup?

I’ve been posting song memories since I started this blog thing in December. Inspiration has often come while listening to my iPod Classic. I love that 160gb device.  It holds every song I own, 13k, with room left for another 15k. This is my third iPod since the iPod came out. And I don’t know what I’ll do when this one grinds to halt. (Apple discontinued the iPod a few years ago with some lame excuse about not being able to find the parts. Really? You’re Apple. You can find what whatever parts you want, wherever you want.)

I don’t want to stream music to my iPhone, eating up data, and getting interrupted by texts, emails, alerts, and calls. No thanks. I like my music separate from my work. Besides, I’ve crafted so many playlists and smart playlists that sync up seamlessly with iTunes over the years. For me, the system didn’t need fixing.

My playlist called “Singles” is basically all the 45s I owned in the 1980s, ripped as MP3s, along with hits from the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s that I deemed worthy of being in the playlist. It currently has 7,343 songs. There’s a playlist called “Gym” for working out. One called “Mellow” for when I want to relax or cry. Sometimes I shuffle all 13,000 songs and get pleasantly surprised at how iTunes or the iPod mixes the songs.

Today, on the treadmill at the gym—listening to the “Singles” instead of “Gym”—XTC’s “Dear God” came on. Hearing it reminded me of my years at Montclair State (1986-1990), particularly a final project for one of my communications classes. My classmates and I had to create a multimedia presentation, a slide show synchronized to a song. There was no PowerPoint or Keynote or MP3s back then. You had to create and map things out without the help of software. That meant buying film, taking pictures, sending the film off for slide creation, hoping they turned out well, recording songs to a cassette, loading the slides into a carousel, then putting it all together by listening and clicking a button to advance to the next slide. Don’t ask me how, but the syncing device memorized the cue clicks in order to later play the show automatically.

I didn’t use “Dear God.” I picked a song with an uplifting message I thought my teacher would appreciate: Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World.” Plus, it was shorter, which meant less slides and less syncing and less work. (By the way, I recently found the slide carousel in my parents’ basement.)

When I heard “Dear God” at the gym today, I thought of my friend Diane or Kristine. As I recall one of them used “Dear God” for their final. Then, as I listened to the lyrics, I thought of the state of affairs in the world today. And how the more things change, the more they stay the same. When I got home, I googled the lyrics, watched the music video, and started this post. All before blending my post-workout banana/peanut butter shake.

For over thirty years, I’ve sung the wrong words. He doesn’t sing “still believing in Chunky soup” like I thought. The actual lyric is, “still believing that junk is true.” I like the version my brain heard better. Have a listen, decide for yourself:

YouTube player

Dear God, sorry to disturb you but
I feel that I should be heard loud and clear
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
And all the people that you made in your image
See them fighting in the street
‘Cause they can’t make opinions meet about God

The next song after “Dear God” was Julie Robert’s “Break Down Here.” Sometimes I think the iPod is trying to tell me something. Since the election, I’ve staved off one break down after another.

I’d sure hate to break down here
Nothin up ahead or in the rear-view mirror
Out in the middle of nowhere, nowhere
I’m in trouble if these wheels stop rollin
God help me keep me movin somehow

YouTube player

These two songs, back-to-back, in a random relationship for being temporary shuffle partners, is why I love my iPod Classic.

Keep believing in Chunky soup, my friends.

Mile marker 2017.


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