My brother says, “There ain’t nuthin’ cuter than a baby goat.” My wife and I raise goats on our small farm, and I really can’t disagree. Recently, our nannies have started kidding, but they’re not trying to be funny. There’s really nothing funny about it. It’s been a bad week for goat teats. We have babies that can’t nurse because of one issue or an udder. Consequently, we have to hand-milk the affected nannies and bottle feed the babes. Man—this is starting to sound like a sad country song. Whether it’s sad or not, every day is a song when you think about it (I think John Lee Hooker said that).
They say the songs we listen to provide the soundtrack to our lives. Do you ever hear a song that takes you back to a time when all was right with the world? Or maybe a certain song takes you to a pivotal point in the past when you could have gone one way but went the other? Do you ever find yourself listening to a song repeatedly, hoping that doing so will magically transport you back to that time and place where hindsight will allow you to make the decision that will right all your wrongs and make everything better? Yeah, me neither.
Music is powerful and is indeed conducive to a bit of time travel. However, some things are best left in the past. The Rolling Stones were all the rage back in the summer of ’65 when “Satisfaction” hit the radio waves. But when those now geriatrics gents are still up on stage gyrating to the same old song to the tune of $200 a ticket in 2021, it’s no longer quite so cool. People still pay to see them though.
Advertising firms know the power of music. Often, an ad agency will take a song you love and use it to persuade you to purchase whatever product they are peddling. The problem is that no one—and I mean no one— wants to hear one of their favorite songs associated with fast food, cat food, car-care products, toilet paper, the latest toenail fungus tonic or drugs that raise one thing or decrease another (easy—I’m talking about blood sugar meds here, people). They might as well be slowly pouring gas on the soonto be fire of your favorite song and laughing as they strike the match.
It pains me deeply to hear a beloved song being used this way. I curse the ad agency, the product, and whoever controlled the licensing to the song that allowed it to be used with such evil intent. If I thought about it rationally, I could see where a songwriter getting a little low on revenue flow might like a little extra dough to afford more fast food, cat food or fungus tonics, but I’m not capable of thinking rationally when it comes to such transgressions.
The worst Madison Avenue slap upside the head I’ve ever experienced happened a few days ago. My wife and I were bottle feeding baby goats on the couch and watching “Little House on the Prairie” reruns for a little homestead hardship inspiration. We don’t have cable. I got up to go get another goat when the show was about to cut to a commercial. As I opened the back door to go outside, I heard the chorus to one of my favorite songs emanate from the TV. My heart sank when I turned back to watch and listen to the horror unfold.
“September” by Earth Wind and Fire takes me back to the days of cassette tapes, boom boxes and playing basketball with friends for hours on end in the driveway of my childhood home. The commercial I was now watching, with that song playing in the background, seemed surreal to me. There were no boom boxes or basketballs, but there were people bouncing happily around about something. I squinted and mumbled, “What is that— laundry?” My wife didn’t hear me. A voice from the TV was saying something about, “Nothing keeps your clothes smelling fresh and clean like …” Fortunately, I found the remote and hit the power button before the product name registered. I was dumbfounded. Nobody could be that happy about doing laundry, could they?
I still don’t know the name of the product being pushed by that commercial. If I see it now, I’m ready with a remote to shut it down. I still listen to “September”, only now it’s with the little computer in my pocket instead of that old boom box. Maybe I should forgive and forget and go get me some of whatever that laundry product was. I could crank up that song and see if cleaning clothes can really be that much fun. Ha—just kidding.