Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Flashback Music Review

"Change" by Tears for Fears

Press “I’m Feeling Lucky” when Googling “Change + lyrics” and you’ll find yourself staring at the words to “Change” by the band Good Charlotte. Mention how the Smurfs had a higher “sausage to hotdog bun” ratio than the Southern Baptist leadership and you’ll find few able to back your assertion. Go on and on about that Brady Bunch episode where the kids meet Don Ho and Vincent Price and you’ll find a pack of twentysomethings staring at you as if you were wearing only a colander and screaming at your fingertips.

Sooner or later every generation experiences that moment when references to the popular songs, TV shows, movies and Monchichci jingles of their youth are no longer conversational touchstones. Such is the case with Tears for Fears. Fifteen or so years ago just saying the band’s name instantly tapped a collective wellspring of images—the “bloopers montage” near the end of the video for “Head Over Heels”; the utter shock when the group pulled out of Live Aid the very day of the concert; the first-year psychology students who wouldn’t shut the fuck up about how the band’s name was derived from primal scream therapy. Fifteen years ago all of these were greeted with the same quick nod of recognition now saved for Simpsons quotes.

But 15 more years of relevance is a lot to ask of a pop memory. And 25 years is an eon in terms of cultural significance. Back in 1983, when the song “Change” was released, a handful of people found a new group that they could call their own. Back in 1985, when the single “Shout” hit #1, the entire world knew of the band’s name. Now it’s 2008 and I find myself having to give lengthy footnotes to yet another recollection, like a grandfather who casually mentions “diphtheria” only to be met with stone-cold silence. Tears for Fears once more belongs to a handful of people, but this time it feels less like a group of true fans and more like a pack of survivors.

At least I can take comfort in the knowledge that it’ll only be a few more minutes before everyone forgets who the hell Good Charlotte was.

NOTE: Above first appeared in the great humor/literary site Yankee Pot Roast. Check out their fantastic new book Underated: The Yankee Pot Roast Book of Awesome Underappreciated Stuff!


Sara Benincasa said...

Ces, eventually you're going to have to come to terms with the fact that you live with a member of Generation Y.

I know it's tough. I know it's painful. I know there are moments when you need to make yet another "Land of the Lost" reference, only to be met with a blank stare from someone who wasn't even a twinkle in her mother's uterus during your most favorite and beloved of decades, the 1970s.

All I ask, Ces, is that you find it in your heart to maybe, just maybe, love someone who's a little different from you, who maybe speaks a slightly different language and has a slightly longer life expectancy but who, in the end, is just as human as you and any of the imaginary humans who live inside your head.

I thought it was best I do this in a public forum, to maximize any humiliation that may occur as a result of my proclamation. Also, when I make references to "Saved By the Bell" and you don't even get them, it upsets me, Ces. It really, really does. It hurts inside.

Yours in Christ,

Sara Benincasa said...

Ew, and also? Benj and Joel will totes obvs live forever, cuz Joel is all Nicole Richie's babydaddy and Benji is DATING PARIS and they're so in love and HE BOUGHT HER A RING, so don't even start.

You have no idea who I'm talking about, do you?

jfruh said...

You know, my memories of Tears for Fears are as fond as any Gen Xer, but that album -- "the Hurting", with adorable tow-headed child holding his tow-headed head in his hands in despair in a very adult way -- gives me the fucking creeps. Maybe the dustbin of history isn't such a terrible destination for it.

Kevin Tor said...

I love the song Shout. It was the best part of Animal House, that classic comedy from before I was born, starring, I think, the older Belushi. Is that right?

Sara, Benj and Paris are stupid in love for each other. I hope they have a baby and then their baby and Joel and Nicole's baby get together and bring them all together like, but not exactly like, when Tori and Zack delivered Mr. Belding's baby in the elevator and that brought Zack and Belding a little closer for the rest of senior year.

Fortran said...

Man..."Change"...I can already hear the xylophone...

I had a similar "I'm old" experience recently when Amazon was selling Soundgarden's "Superunknown" for cheap in the MP3 store. Listening to that album almost had me grabbing some flannel to tie around my waist.

And now I have to go listen to "Spoonman"...

Dan Miller said...

What are you talking about? Everyone knows Tears for Fears--they wrote that song in Donnie Darko!

Mo Diggs said...

Imagine those psych students talking about Primal Scream. Or Madness.

Woodrowfan said...

I heard "Shout" at McDonalds today. Love that song.

In class the other day I said "dogs and cats living together, . mass hysteria!" and not a single student got the reference.

Woodrowfan said...


There, I feel better.

D.B. Echo said...

OH MY GOD. Ces, you're living with a member of Generation Y? And she hasn't machine-gunned you yet? Jeeezus, those kids are crazy and dangerous! It must be like living in a post office!

...which I think may just be another Generation X-specific reference. Tho it wasn't US shooting up the post offices.

G.Wo said...

Where's the YPR shout-out, Papicito? We published this shiz-nit!

If you've got any interest in bringing back the Shreeks, let me know. I know the boys and I would be down to hook it up.

Sara Benincasa said...

WHAT UP G.WO! HOW U DOIN, SON? (I just wanted to pretend we were high schoolers text messaging each other, Geoff. Thank you.)

G.Wo said...

Yes, that's what I'm talkin' bout.

Also, Sara:

WORD, SON! I'm ruling this piece like muthafuckin' King Olav IV rules medieval Sweden.