September 13, 2004
Lyric friendships

With great delight, I’ve spotted a growing trend among my friends. They spontaneously break into song: a chorus of natsukashii 80s pop over dinner; a round of Queen’s “Bicycle Ride” on a long walk; little snips and phrases punctuating conversations.

It’s a bit like living in a musical—sort of hokey but magical, too. Someone starts singing and everyone joins in. And why not? We all know the words. So I’m thrilled that now I can burst into song (scene change and costumes preferred but not required) without odd looks from my companions. They’ll be singing, too.

Let me entertain you
Laura Ingalls Wilder influenced my desire to sing in daily life. Pa was always making music in the evenings, and in Happy Golden Years, she describes the town’s singing school. In a scene that’s stuck in my head for 30 years, Laura and her beau ride home in a sleigh after class, singing to one another.

That people entertained each other every day with their own talent—song and instrumental music, reading and recitations, staged readings and plays—always appealed to me. Such a pity that these days we’re all glued to TV, movies, iPods, and computers for our daily amusement.

So I will answer Jeremy’s question about what embarrassing songs are on my iPod (none!), with a list of some songs I enjoy singing but probably not ought to admit.

My list:

  • Godspell (the whole show)
  • Carole King: Tapestry (the entire album)
  • Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes
  • Scarbourough Fair
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (and a few other spirituals)

How about you?

Posted by kuri at September 13, 2004 04:27 PM


It is caused by an excess of Karaoke.. us westerners were just not built to stay normal under the influence of all that singing. We have lost the inhibitions of singing in public we were born with.

Not that it is a bad thing though.. :)

Posted by: Tracey on September 13, 2004 05:44 PM

I just really started singing again through church. I sang a great song yesterday with words by Rabindanth Tagore - Now I recall my Childhood. I really missed singing and didn’t realize it until I joined the choir. I’m also playing piano again.

I sing all sorts of crazy invented songs. Helen joins in sometimes, other times she gives me the wrinkled eyebrow. Who can resist the old favorites, “Now we are washing the stanky dog” or “What’s leftover in the re-fridge-er-ator?”

I can admit to some of the tunes in my iTunes library -

Cat Stevens - Peace Train
Thomas Dolby - She Blinded me with Science
Question Mark and the Mysterians - 96 Tears
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Iggy Pop - Lust for Life
White Stripes - Fell in Love with a Girl

And then I have all these songs that are titled “Track 17” and such, because I’m a total loaf and don’t name them when I import them from their CDs. I know a lot of them are Sondheim, because that’s my favorite show music ever. “Once I hated this city/now it can’t get me down/slushy humid and gritty/what a pretty town.”

Posted by: Jenny on September 13, 2004 11:54 PM

Since I work in a community theater that produces lots of musicals, the stuff that runs through my head is often from the current play or from the plays being rehearsed. Hey Big Spender is one for this week mixed in with some quirky ‘Bat Boy’ stuff. However, last week as I prepared the daily bruschetta and dumplings for ‘Tale of the Allergist’s Wife’ I found myself singing ELP’s “welcome back my friend to the show that never ends…”. The show ended on Saturday and not one moment too soon. It was fun but I was tired of the catering gig.

Posted by: Fran on September 13, 2004 11:56 PM

The lyrics thing is quite funny. For some time now at my work a couple of colleagues and I have “musicals days” where we spend the whole day coming out with snippets from shows or musicals. It certainly makes the day go quicker.

We’ve even had days where we’ve picked a musical, and every time we speak to the boss we have to work a lyric from a song from the musical into the conversation.

Posted by: NickP on September 15, 2004 05:15 AM

OMG, we do it in chat, too. I just read this in last night’s IRC chat log

ignore that stray comma, don’t know where it came from
comma warp
cosmic comma ray
, , , , , chameleon

Posted by: Kristen on September 15, 2004 07:23 AM
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