Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Makin' Me Crazy

Yet again, they've played something at Wal-Mart that catches my ear, although I've heard it before. It was a rock song obviously from the '70s that I'd originally heard from Everybody Loves Raymond, back when I watched it often over ten years ago.

It was one of the songs they used in their later opening sequences of the episodes. Knowing the lyrics of the song now, it hardly applies to the sitcom at all; they merely used the song for its chorus, which in that context serves the quick scenes of the show's obvious humour/ethos quite well.

"Jungle Love" by the Steve Miller Band, 1977.

Looking at the comments under the video, most people refer to how they saw it on that show, which kind of makes me feel a bit sad for the song itself - I'm no exception. I wish I'd heard it on the radio rather than on a television sitcom. It's kind of like it's up to TV shows to bring back forgotten gems from thirty-forty years ago. I'm sure Glee does that a lot, for which I have no option but to salute it for doing so; no one my age or in their younger teens is going to listen to radio stations that focus on hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Or at least not a majority of them. The only problem I have with Glee is its tendency to have its version outperforming the original this many years later - come on, it's a cover version by a group of young adults playing to soundalike music; how is that better than the original? They didn't create it. To me that just makes Glee's actors the new originals, because they apparently sound better than the actual artists did, so will viewers make a point of listening to the original? Apparently that isn't as popular. But oh well. I'm sure you have Glee fans looking up the actual songs often enough, which is good.

They played this song at Wal-Mart both days I worked there, which actually made me remember to look it up, on my phone. I couldn't make out the first two words of the chorus, but I knew it went ''s driving me mad, making me crazy,' etc. At first I mondegreened those two words as one, being 'Trubloff' which was the (Russian) name of a tall black dog my paternal grandparents owned in Trinidad before I was born. There's a painting in their house of it approaching an entrance gate, with obvious long legs. Recently, I discovered the painting was actually based on an identical photograph of the dog approaching the inner entrance gate of the diplomatic residence in which my grandparents lived. Thinking that was the lyric made me smile because even though I never knew Trubloff I simply liked the reference, even though I knew that wasn't the lyric; the lyric itself is 'Jungle love.'

Upon hearing it, virtually everything clicked for me. Every instrument. The sound of the singer's voice. The lyrics. The verses have an excitement to it thanks to the guitar and its style; I like how the drummer must have hit a floor tom every second snare hit. It gives the drums a sort of rooted 'boom' sound that elevates them into a realm of anticipation and excitement for me. The bass is all over the place, from low to high. Then there's the chorus, where it starts out quite low, which is perfect - then ascends higher and higher in the notes very quickly.

It's a nicely-paced rock song that's exciting and bright and quite enjoyable. I recognize the sound effect at the beginning, just unsure of where it came from exactly, probably an arcade game of the time or pac man. It also sounds like the daily double sound effect out of Jeopardy! (the sound effect intro, not the song).

There's the lyrics, which have a jungle or tropical island theme to them and seem to detail love affair between the voice and a woman on the island or whom he met on the island, which suggests that they remain there, but I'm not sure. One line I like quite a lot is 'you thought you had seen me before.' It makes me smile; perhaps it's the idea that you'll see someone you'll end up with more than once before you actually meet them, without realizing it, or perhaps it applies to that whole lookalike thing I've gone on about for ever, where you think you've seen this person before but she only turns out to be a lookalike of someone else you found attractive, so, great. I just know I liked that lyric right away. But what I really find about the lyrics that seems so natural and right is just the idea of being out in the jungle, experiencing 'jungle love.' Perhaps my delight is inspired by a childhood movie from 1995, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (which takes place in the African jungle) and has a few memorable scenes. I remember loving the atmosphere and look and scenery of the trees and apparent feel of all of it on TV when I was young, and I still do now. Maybe it's an inner desire to go to places like that, like the Republic of Congo or Mindo Nambillo, or wherever it's a tropical climate and jungle, water, and just feel at peace.

I feel like Wilson from Home Improvement saying all of that right there. It's hyperlinked to a specific episode on YouTube I'm referencing when I say that. What I mean though is the idea of the naturalness of being in a place like that, in tune with Mother Nature and having someone at your side, bathing in the ocean, understanding your place in the world, just being surrounded by natural, living things and feeling that way. Perhaps that's part of what makes this song, from the music to the lyrics and title, sound so good and in a way right somehow. You can go ahead and be childish about it in reading this - I'm sure 90% of those who do will - but I don't care, so it is what it is. I'm not saying this is like the music video to Duran Duran's 'Hungry Like The Wolf' (which includes scenes of a man and woman half-naked coming at each other in a forest) I'm saying to be surrounded by and being in a place where there's no human interruption or artificial influence, with someone, sounds nice and right in a way.

I think this song will be my favourite one of the year. It's just plain great and nice and feel-good.

Justin C.

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