A brief passing-by — and the ‘Journey’ song sticks

September 22, 2009.
A brief passing-by is all it need take, for something like a song to resonate in your mind.
     The other night I walked along Wells Street, beneath the yellowness of streetlights, and by occasional young trees and shrubs, when  a group of three gals came from the other way.
     They were in their top teens or so. One carried a box of belongings, another a lamp, and the third, I’m not sure. I was deep in thought and didn’t notice them until they started singing. “Don’t stop, believin’ ….!”
     Oh no! I thought while we passed each other by. I, like most folks who listened to rock radio in recent decades, knew this Journey song. Now it would be stuck in my mind.
     Nothin’ against the song, only that I knew limited words – “Don’t stop, believin’, Hold onto that feelin’-e-en!  …. (lah-da, da-dada, da-dahhh!)” And I knew it would repeat in my brain for the rest of my walk home.
     Nothin’ against those gals. I rather liked them, and their passion to break into such a song together. I knew they had good reason.
     Yet here I was, blocks away, and sure enough the Journey song persisted. Give me something else! I silently implored the cars at the Chicago Avenue intersection. Someone have an open window and a different song on the radio!
     No such luck. “Don’t stop, believin’ ….” kept on. It was the broken record effect I dreaded, the fact that the limited words I knew were all that could repeat in my mind.

Some songs do that when you do know most the words, I said to myself, like “Video killed the radio star ….”
     Oh no! What have I done?
     Sure enough, the song took over. By majority, the chorus “Video killed the radio star …” repeated in the high-pitched, robot-like song. It was quintessential ’80s (though I learned later, ’twas released in ’79), and made me feel like wearing sunglasses as I sang along.

     Yet I knew naught beyond the chorus besides, “…. In my mind and in my car, la la la, la-la la-la ….”
     I walked along Chicago Avenue now, more yellow streetlights, more people, more cars, more concrete. “Video killed the radio star …”
     Oh, get me home! I thought, so I could turn on the radio, or plug in a CD, to release me from this.
     “Video killed the radio star ….” The tune made me walk faster.  It made me a robot, who thought she wore sunglasses.
     That’s the last I remember of that particular walk. Somehow I turned off Chicago Avenue and made it home. When I did, both imposing songs were gone.
     I turned on lamps that shed golden light in my living room, and loved the early autumn night outside. I loved it from tree-level up, where open air met the stars.
     I felt happy for those gals, no longer hearing the lyrics they sang, but seeing why they sang them. I was there once, and at times again – having similar friends with me as we broke into song with each other and to the sky.

Want to enjoy the mentioned songs? Here they are via YouTube:
“Don’t stop believin'”
“Video killed the radio star.”

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