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February 9th, 2013

"Jeffty Is Five" Redux

At the gym this earlier this morning, I thought more "Jeffty Is Five" and my post about it last night. If what I wrote last night was for a course back in college, I currently would be massively rewriting last night's entry. For starters, the story isn't really about Jeffty per se -- it really is about Danny's attempt to hold on to his past and childhood as much as possible and what happens when he lets the present and the demands of adulthood rip apart his inner five-year-old. Jeffty isn't just a five-year-old who hasn't aged in 17 years -- he's the physical manifestation of Danny's inner child. It's no coincidence that the climax of the story occurs when Danny reneges on his regularly scheduled Saturday afternoon date at the movies with Jeffty because it's a madhouse at the television store he owns.*

I don't know if my critical/interpretive faculties have grown rusty in the nearly five years since I placed Some Fantastic on indefinite hiatus. However, the fact that I needed some time to properly digest the story and make those connections certainly makes me feel like I'm not as quick on the uptake as I was in the past. Maybe what I really need to do is make more posts like the one I wrote last night. That would ensure that I keep those skills as sharp as possible.

* Edit to add, 10:30 AM: Comment on Facebook to last night's post helped me realize just how much the scene with Jeffty in front of the array of 31 televisions is wonderful illustration of how as we get older, out attention gets divided and subdivided by the many demands of adult life.

Hall of Songs, Outer Circle: Part 1

In case you missed it, "Hall of Songs" is the new name for the list of my 100 120 all-time favorite songs. Rather than just list them, I thought I'd try to post a little about each song. I'll be working my way up to the all-time favorites. Given the frequency of posting, it will almost certainly take a while to go through the whole list, but at least it gives me ready-made material when I'm otherwise at a loss for something to write about.

One final note before beginning the countdown. As I've explained previously, the songs are in three groups: inner circle, no-doubters, and outer circle. Within each of these three groupings, the songs are purely listed alphabetically -- for instance, there's no attempt to delineate song #71 from song #120 in the outer circle. So, without further ado, it's time to begin with the songs in the outer circle...

"Action Hero," Fountains of Wayne



In order to make sure that the songs really stood the test of time, I tried to avoid placing newer material into the Hall of Songs, though I wasn’t always adamant about this. This particular song has been something of a rarity for me over the past 5-10 years; I fell in love with it immediately upon my first listening. I actually dare any dad to listen to the lyrics and not tear-up just a little bit. How can you not? Any truly involved, caring dad (at least the geek dads) sees himself as an action hero of sorts -- you have no choice but to relate.

"Am I Wrong," Love Spit Love



By the time the mid '90s rolled around, college was winding down and I was already listening to the radio far less. In fact, if it hadn't been for the movie Angus, an incredibly underrated 1995 teen comedy, I probably never would have encountered this song. I was particularly surprised when I found out that the Angus soundtrack included a version of the song that includes the marching band backing track that was added for the film's opening title sequence. I have a thing for moody, introspective songs -- something that will become readily apparent as this list unfolds.

"Birdhouse in Your Soul," They Might Be Giants



I love They Might Be Giants, although admittedly nowhere near as much as TeenLitGirl loves them. However, over the course of this project I realized that sometimes a favorite band doesn't necessary produce your all-time favorite songs. When I came up with my first list of 550 songs I considered for my Hall of Songs, it contained eight TMBG songs. Yet, this was the only one to make my final cut. Favorite line: "Though I respect that a lot/I'd be fired if that were my job/After killing Jason off/And countless screaming Argonauts." Who hasn't contemplated a job they were incredibly unqualified for?

"Book of Love," Peter Gabriel


Peter Gabriel - The Book of Love (LIVE) by Qello

Like a large number of songs that I list amongst my favorites, I first encountered this particular one on an episode of Scrubs. I sincerely doubt if I will ever know if my love of the show positively influenced my impression of any song I heard on Scrubs, but I can honestly say that it certainly seemed like my musical taste was regularly in synch with the people who made the creative decisions regarding song choices. The song was played in the last scene of what I considered the finale of the last real season of the show (I choose to act like the 9th season never happened) and I teared up like a little kid with a badly skinned knee that first time. Hell, I teared up on subsequent viewings of that sequence. TeenLitGirl prefers the original version by The Magnetic Fields.

"Broken Wings," Mister Mister



Ah, yes, my teen years -- full of angst, moodiness and feeling like I don't fit in anywhere in the world I inhabited. I know, this is actually a common state for most teens, but it's also a state in which I've frequently dwelt as an adult. I wasn't mature enough to fully appreciate the lyrics, but the sound/feel of the song and chorus certainly spoke to me as a teen -- as one who yearned to fly away to a better place. That teen version of me that's buried under two decades of adult experience still manages to sometimes stir when I hear this song -- especially now that I've experienced an emotional state that was nearly identical to the one expressed in this song.


Part 2 of the list goes online tomorrow night.

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