Song of the Day #754: ‘A’ – Barenaked Ladies

I’ve been on the giving end of a whole lot of mixtapes but I’ve also received a few over the years. Most have been from an old high school friend with whom I’ve stayed in touch over the past two decades (even without the easy access of Facebook).

It’s funny, I think our correspondence has diminished over the years as technology made staying in touch easier. Back before email we would write actual letters, written out by hand, and exchange mixtapes to introduce each other to new music. That gave way to a pretty steady e-mail correspondence and frequent music recommendations, but not as many mixtapes.

These days she’s one of my 202 friends on Facebook but I don’t interact with her very often. And I don’t hear much about the music she’s listening to unless I happen upon a stray “Betsy likes Lady Gaga.”

It’s easy to blame the technology when it’s just as likely that life interfered with our steady correspondence. I probably wouldn’t have time these days to record a mixtape for her even if we found ourselves saddled with the technology of the early 90s. But it does seem that once staying in touch got so ridiculously easy it became a whole lot less special.

Betsy introduced me to a lot of wonderful artists over the years through her mixtapes. Dar Williams and Aimee Mann are the two most impressive examples. She also turned me on to Barenaked Ladies (boy, could that sentence be read the wrong way) when she included today’s SOTD, ‘A,’ on one of her tapes.

I didn’t know quite what to make of it. At first I thought it was a children’s song, but the references to erections and Thelonius Monk suggested otherwise. The catchy melody and clever lyrics prompted me to seek out more of their work and I was very pleasantly surprised with what I found.

So that concludes this trip down Mixtape Memory Lane. I have to admit, all these recollections have me itching to pull out the old cassette recorder and crank out another masterpiece. But who would even be able to play it?

A is for angry, which is what you are at me
A is for adult, which is what I’ll never be
A is for applesauce, my favorite meal
A is for Adam, which is how I sometimes feel;
Like I’m the only man on Earth, and I’ve forgotten what that’s worth

A is for Arthur, he’s a lovable drunk
A M & Azing, like Thelonius Monk
A is for argument, A is for apparent
A is for antagonism that’s not even there and
it’s just you begging for attention or something I won’t even mention

[Chorus:]
And I don’t even know why you keep on trying
Like I don’t even know why I keep on lying
There are millions of people in worlds of their own
And two of them can’t let go

A is for algebra, I learned it in school
A is what Fonzie said, ’cause he was very cool
A is for adversary, A is for affection
A is arousal, you are giving me an erection
C’mon I’m trying to show affection for longer than a half an hour

I met a woman I used to know
Long before you, long ago
All I could say, after hello
Was “are you still single?”

A is for attitude I can’t help but wield
A is for arrogance; emotional shield
A is for acting, A is for abhorrently
A is for asshole, which is what I am, how rude of me.
I owe you an apology I’m sorry

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #754: ‘A’ – Barenaked Ladies

  1. Amy says:

    I’ve loved this week and your trip down memory lane, but I think it’s just silly to blame technology and social networking sites for the fact that you might reach out less frequently to old contacts. Yes, I think it’s far more likely that the stuff of life makes sitting down and creating a mix tape or writing an old fashioned letter a bit less likely. Not to mention the time taken up by technology enabled time suckers such as this very blog 🙂

    Next time FB prompts you to “write on Betsy’s wall,” go ahead and do just that 😉 They’re trying to help you stay in touch. You just have to do your part!

    Oh, and I think the lists and notes that often pop up on FB from time to time are another sort of version of mixtapes (50 books that meant the most to you, 25 things people don’t know about you, 25 most memorable films).

    As for your promise/threat to produce another masterpiece… bring it on! I can play it in my car and will do just that – as long as you don’t put any U2 on it.

  2. Dana says:

    On those rare occasions when I listen to my IPod, which is usually on a flight, I love to just put it in shuffle mode and see what comes up. With over 6000 songs, many of them inherited from Clay’s collection, this experience actually comes close to a computer generated mixtape. And, for obvious reasons, when I first start the shuffle process, “A” is the first song that comes up. Sometimes I go ahead and play it, but often I skip it since the true shuffle randomization will only begin after playing that first song. That skipping, however, is a bit unfair to BNL since, if the song had just come up randomly somewhere along the way, I probably would have left it on because I actually like the song a great deal.

    Oh, and I join Amy in her view that your rationalization about not keeping up with old friends (technology makes it far easier, but less special) is a b.s. As Amy points out, this blog is testament to how communication amongst friends and relatives has become more constant through technology. May I suggest that, if you haven’t done so already, it may be time to invite some of those old friends on to your blog. If you can’t bring Betsy out of the woodwork to comment on today’s post, then I don’t think the ease of technology is to blame.

  3. Amy says:

    One other realization – you never stopped making “mixtapes”; they just became theme weeks on your blog 🙂

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