If Daily Life Had a Soundtrack



"Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they come for you..."

I found myself chanting this absently in the grocery store canned soup aisle-- like some prayer to the patron saint of shaky handheld cameras and overworked beat cops-- before I realized I was even singing....

Then I found myself looking around, expecting to see some dude in a stained wife-beater shirt and boxers sprint by, flinging displays of Campbell's Chicken 'n Stars to the heavens, and pursued by a determined team of Pittsburgh's Finest.

But, alas. It was just the tunes being pumped in through the supermarket PA system. Reality set in when the reggae tribute to law enforcement moved on to Stanza Two, a whole startling other set of lyrics I'd never actually heard before, jarring me from my reverie. It forced me into an uncomfortable, awkward silence until the familiar chorus came around once more.

"Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna wear, whatcha gonna wear when they raid your lair..."

Or whatever.

I'd had a similar experience not long ago at the pharmacy in the very same store, when Travis Tritt's "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" wafted through the sound system.

Here, my movie-soaked mind had visions of a giant Graboid worm breaking through the tile flooring and scarfing up the old lady holding up the line with 30 prescriptions and 150 cases of impulse-buy catfood.

I mean-- seriously, "Tremors 2" is the first thing that comes to my mind? Not that I'm too high-and-mighty to appreciate a fine pre-Cambrian worm-based epic. But I like to keep my groceries and Graboids in separate mental buckets.

Which got me thinking, how cool would it be if we actually had rotating soundtracks for daily life?

Like the commute to work--

Sure, we could go with obvious choices, like "Manic Monday," "Rainy Days and Mondays" or "Take This Job and Shove It," but how about a crowded train or bus commute with "Stuck in the Middle with You"? Or maybe Cake's "Long Line of Cars"?

A pause at the erratic office complex vending machine might bring on a chorus of the Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want."

Your stubborn computer problem which monopolizes too much valuble time for your morning might trigger The Flaming Lips' "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots."

Until, of course, it gets solved. And "Mr. Roboto" sings out in all its dramatic prog-rock triumph.

Lunchtime might be accompanied by Duran, Duran's "Hungry Like a Wolf," while your afternoon meeting with the boss could go from Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It for the Boy" to Don McLean's "The Day the Music Died" in no time.

And then, as five o'clock rolls around, you might hear a bright chorus of "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place." So you get in your car to Dave Matthews' "Ants Go Marching."

Back at the grocery store, though, I have to wonder what exactly made them think the theme from "Cops" would be appropriate shopping accompaniment. Maybe it's considered a subtle crime deterrent after some adverse Muzak reactions to, say, The Smiths' "Shoplifters of the World Unite" on the in-store radio.

"Bad boys, bad boys, are ya gonna buzz, are ya gonna buzz and get chased by fuzz..."


So tell me folks: What would be included in your personal soundtrack?

15 comments:

JD at I Do Things said...

I'm delirious with pleasure.

A witty, smart, well-written posts that references Flaming Lips, "Mr. Roboto," "Hungry Like the Wolf," AND "Tremors 2"???

Wait, AND "Shoplifters of the World Unite"???

We need to talk.

Jenn Thorson said...

JD- Heh, as you can probably tell, my tastes are diverse. :)

I'm guessing yours are, too. (grin)

Jaffer said...

I hardly ever pay attention to music playe at stores - unless it's loud rap or reggae.

But I have played "Ce-le-bration time woohoo !" once when it was clock-out time on a Friday.

P.S. Kitty cat available
But in case the ad is lying, read this

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- I can certainly see the need for a little Friday "Ce-le-bration"

Re: the kitty, I do have a local place I think I'll get my cat. A couple of my friends have had good experiences there, and it's a charity org. Thank you for thinking of me!

Jaffer said...

No problemo ! It's always better to adopt locally - I know some places that insist on their animals only going to homes within driving distance.

Good luck !

Surfie said...

Hmmm...Making a soundtrack to your life is serious business. I'd have to do some careful research and cull through my vast musical resources before making a decision.

Yesterday I was doing my grocery shopping and I coudl NOT get the tune to Yankee Doodle Dandy out of my head. I hope I wasn't actually humming it out loud, but it's a possibility. I have no idea if I heard it in passing somewhere, or if it was just some random thing that popped into my head and wouldn't leave. Geez, couldn't I have had a cool song playing on my mental auto-repeat?

MA Fat Woman said...

I'm going to have to go with "Don't Stop Believing". Ever the optimistic, I'm always hoping that there is something better, and more fun just around the corner.

Deray said...

My daily playlist will have to be composed of: "weird science", "she blinded me with science", "the elements song" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFIvXVMbII0) and quite a few "bacteria" songs =P.

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- Thank you muchly!

Surfie- Yankee Doodle Dandy is one of those that's just annoying enough and repetitious enough to get entrenched in your mind forever. Last time I had the flu, I ended up with the Spice Girls' "What I really really want" stuck in my head. I hate that song, and what I really, really wanted was for it to go away. :)

MA- A great song which I haven't heard for a while! Actually, Journey had some really good ones. I always liked "Wheel in the Sky."

Deray- Love your soundtrack-- not only appropriate for your job, but catchy selections, too!... "Science!!"

Melanie said...

Hmmm, sound track to our life.... well Meatloaf was the sound track of my divorce "I'm praying for the end of time"

Funny you should mention "T-R-O-U-B-L-E". There is a man in my life who IS that song.

But I just spent an afternoon in a vehicle with my two teens. I heard lyrics that will give me nightmares for weeks to come. It's no wonder teenagers these days are so screwed up. They've got too much soundtrack, too little life.

DrowseyMonkey said...

That is a weird choice for a grocery store.

I'm very moody so my music would be up down and all over the place. But I think it would have to be all Earth Wind and Fire ... that's pretty much all I have on my little music gadget thingy.

Lita C. Malicdem said...

I really appreciate soundtrack installed in the parks which everyone can enjoy at leisurely walks. It's more practical rather than meeting people humming their own kind of music around. In grocery stores- well, it distracts, but if you have a ready grocery list, sounds good idea. But please, not inside moving vehicles. It courts accidents.

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- Now you've got me curious just what your kids were listening to? :)

Drowsey- I thought your recent choice was Mr. Manilow? :)

Lita- I haven't been to a park where music is pumped in... I think that would seem like a very surreal experience, being out in nature but hearing Musak.

Jeremy from We Took The Bait said...

I originally thought Loverboy's "Working for the Weekend" would be a good selection for the daily grind, but it would only work if the most intolerable parts of the job were filmed and arranged montage-style, interspersed with footage of two women wearing red one-piece bathing suits and headbands dancing.

ridgely johnson said...

I'd say you heard me humming Bad Boys over in the cereal aisle but we are literally across the country from each other! As a cop's wife, I have been known to unconsciously hum various law enforcement-related tunes in my day-to-day activities.
Actually, just asked LT last night if he thought anyone heard Bad Boys and did not immediately think of Cops. A slight nod was his response- typical of life with a 25 year veteran cop.
So glad I found your blog- hard to find fellow humor bloggers-
come visit-
ridgely

http://savortheride.com