Waitin’ for my Ya Ya

Among my group of friends, I am known for being “musically retarded.”  Really.  I don’t say “challenged” or “developmentally delayed” because that would be effrontery to the community.  It’s odd.  Ballet, so important to my youth, relies heavily on cues from music.  (But let’s not even get started on my kinesthetic sense!)  In addition, I started out with music theory, classically trained in piano for thirteen years, delved into music history, &c.  I still maintain that music does not come naturally to me.

These days, I listen to whatever is on the radio–set by the last person to listen to it.

  • My brother and I drive the same car.  The dial is set to Wild 94.9, which is a nice reminder of all the music the summer staff liked to play when I worked at CTD this past summer.
  • When I drive my dad’s car, the dial is usually set to KKSF, a relaxing medley of “Smooth Jazz.”  It is perhaps closest to what an old friend referred to as “sophisticated jazz.”  I’m not particularly sophisticated, but sometimes jazzy, so it’s a good fit.
  • In my room, my radio is set to Star 101.3.  Top 40 and the like.

So, really, what do I like?  The easiest answer would be 80s music.  That is, music pertaining to the 1980s.  A dear friend from Loveboat (Oh, the stories from Loveboat!  We must discuss at a later time.) once asked me to created an 80s playlist for her.  Finding it hard to contain my excitement, I did manage to limit it to fourteen songs:

“Come On Eileen” ~Dexy’s Midnight Runners
“Hungry Like the Wolf” ~Duran Duran
“Borderline” ~Madonna
“When the Lights Go Down in the City” ~Journey (it’s about San Francisco!)
“Highway to Hell” ~AC/DC
“Video Killed the Radio Star” ~President of the United States of America
“Where the Streets Have No Name” ~U2
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” ~Simple Minds
“Dancing in the Dark” ~Bruce Springsteen
“The Promise” ~When in Rome
“Billie Jean” ~Michael Jackson
“Fast Car” ~Tracy Chapman
“I Melt with You” ~Modern English
“Take My Breath Away” ~Berlin

That’s a pretty decent list, if I do say so myself.  Why do I like 80s music?  It’s easy.  People don’t expect too much from it, and by extension, of me.  There is also, of course, the nostalgia factor.  Varsha knows–why else would we celebrate Anne of Green Gables, Grease, and Celine Dion so much?  I also like “ethnic drumming.”  There’s something so viscerally appealing about Polynesian drumming, Taiko, and the like.  My best description is that it gets into your bloodstream.

Lately, I’ve found some musical connections to a friendship I made two years ago, in my first year of college.  One of my friends was taking an American Cultures class in the Music department.  During one of our study breaks, he told me about two of the music forms in his reader (the Lewis dot structures I was studying was much less interesting).

  • The corrido.  A handy Wiki article will describe it better than I can, but my rudimentary understanding came in handy recently when I was tutoring a high school student in English.  He moved to the United States about 4 months ago, so we’ve been reading news articles, novels, and textbooks together to bulk up his English comprehension.  A New York Times article on Dec. 18 mentioned narcocorridos.  The linguist in me delighted in recognizing the word roots; the English tutor side found a perfect example of compounding.  My friend from freshman year might be glad to hear that his readings were not about some abstract concepts; I was glad to be able to explain just what the article meant.
  • Some people study best to music; others, tranquil silence.  Depending on my mood, I will function with both, and like to look for music to play.  I looked at the “World Zone” category on Yahoo! Music and noticed zydeco.  Another of the reader articles from my friend’s class, zydeco is fun, zany, and twangy.

The title of this overly-wordy entry refers to a specific zydeco song, “Ya Ya,” by Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band.  It is simply delightful, and really–aren’t we all waiting for our ya-yas?

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1 Comment

  1. Mik said,

    January 16, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    re: Playlist. Two things: 1. I think you meant the Buggles’ version of “Video Killed the Radio Star,” which actually came out in th 70’s but is a new wave song. 2. I get the feeling that a more honest description would be “80’s Top 40” – as I tend to listen to more “80’s” music than you!

    I always thought of you as more of a Cher/Celine kind of girl.


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