February 6, 2009

Wait I've Got It: It's the Spice Girls!

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My roommates are fools. There’s really no nicer way to state it. Whilst having a sing-a-long in my room with said fools this past weekend, I was mixing up a playlist between the oldies but goodies and the newly nostalgic ’90s songs that will never get boring. Song after song, my roommates’ eyes would light up in excitement as each track changed to a different one they both knew and loved. But somewhere between “Be My Baby” by the Ronettes and “Praise You” by Fat Boy Slim, I chose “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel. My roommates’ faces fell to perplexity. The song was completely foreign to both of them. I’ll be the first to admit that “Uptown Girl” is not the most famous song in the Billy Joel discography. Still, it’s pretty popular in it’s own right, and for sanity’s sake, Joel’s voice is downright recognizable! At least, I’d expect his voice to be recognizable to two girls who grew up in New York City –– home of Joel’s most hardcore fan base.
After wiping the shock off my face, I took a deep breath and reconciled in my mind that it was just some freak occurrence that my roomies had never heard “Uptown Girl” and that surely they’d recognize a different Billy Joel tune. As I pressed play on “Tell Her About It” I asked them to give their best guess as to who they thought it was. As the “ohhh ohhhh’s” rang out of the speakers, one of them shouted, “Oh I know this! It’s ABBA!” I nearly fell out of my chair. ABBA!?!?!? The Swedish foursome responsible for such hits as “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen”?!?! I couldn’t immediately decide if that was the funniest thing I’d heard all day or the most offensive.
Alas, I pulled myself back together and started playing Joel track after Joel track. “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me,” “I’m Moving Out,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “New York State of Mind,” “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” and eventually “Piano Man”. Each song more obvious than the next! Yet my very intelligent roommates could not bring themselves to utter that it was Billy Joel who created these songs of such magnificence. Fools. It is only fair under this circumstance to title both of them as such.
I had paraded their ears with a slew of Joel’s greatest hits and after “Piano Man” I had no choice but to give in and tell them who they had been listening to. Their response, “Ohhhhhhhhhh….” Yes, they recognized his name. One even made the comment, “I think it would even be more embarrassing if I didn’t know who Billy Joel was after you said his name.” A valid point, but it still did not negate the prior 10 minutes of shame they brought to me (1) as their friend and (2) as a musically conscious citizen of society.
Just to make sure my heart, which occasionally beats in time with the music I love, didn’t go into cardiac arrest, I tested the roommates one last time by putting on The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” and making sure they knew who it was. They passed — thankfully. At the same time, I was still quite disappointed in my living companions ineptitude.
But. It. Gets. Worse.
I continued to play the fun sing-a-long songs I was originally broadcasting to the room. I put on “Fat Lip” by Sum 41, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin, “Maybellene” by Chuck Berry, and then “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray. Suddenly, in an attempt to prove that she wasn’t musically brainless, one roommate said in her proudest of tones “See! I knew who Sugar Ray was!” I could only think, “Oh Golly! You remember Mark McGrath’s masterpiece of pop? Let me just get down on my knees and bow to you, oh brilliance of music knowledge!” But I swallowed my rudely pretentious thoughts and simply said, “It doesn’t make up for the fact that you didn’t know Billy Joel.”
Now Sun readers, let this be a lesson to you: you should know the music of Billy Joel –– especially if you’re from Long Island or New York! Seriously, being from New York City and not knowing Billy Joel’s music is the equivalent of being from New Jersey and not loving (or at least pretending to love) Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen. Also, while you’re YouTubing Billy Joel, I recommend checking out some of my other favorite, famed pop-pianists like Ray Charles, Ben Folds, Elton John, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, or Stevie Wonder. Every healthy music library should contain, at the minimum, a few songs by each of these artists.
Let it also be known that as for the two fools, after this disastrous incident I immediately followed up by adding my whole Billy Joel collection to their iTunes libraries. I can only hope that they will never again forget who the Piano Man is.