I can pinpoint the exact moment when I realized I was destined to be forever unhip. The year was 1982 and I was 12. All of my classmates were raving about something called “I Ran.” I thought that a bunch of junior high schoolers had suddenly and inexplicably become concerned about the Middle East. It wasn’t until someone brought a boom box to school that I discovered that “I Ran” was a song.
In those days, pretty much the only ways to hear new music were by listening to the radio or watching shows like American Bandstand and Solid Gold (and, if you were lucky and didn’t live in the sticks like I did, MTV). Today, there are probably hundreds of places to hear new music, from YouTube to Spotify to Pandora (but not so much MTV anymore). Given the seemingly endless options for listening to music, what I’m about to say sounds even more pathetic.
A few months ago I was listening to music the old-fashioned way—on the radio—when I heard “Somebody That I Used Know” by Goyte. It usually takes several listens before I can form an opinion on a song, but this was so wonderfully written, both lyrically and musically, and the voices were so good, and the whole thing was just so different than anything I’d heard in a while that I instantly loved it. I couldn’t wait to hear it again and tell everyone about it. I found the video on YouTube and posted a link to it on Facebook. I said something like “Just heard this song and LOVE it!” There wasn’t a huge response, other than someone saying that they thought the video was cool and someone else saying that they always liked that song. “Always” struck me as an odd word to use since I had just heard this song for the first time maybe five hours before. How long could it have been around?
I found out the next day. On the phone with my friend Amy, I gushed about the song. She was incredulous when I said I’d only heard it for the first time the day before. “That song was everywhere this summer!” she informed me. “How could you not have heard it? There is even a video on YouTube making fun of just how ubiquitous this song is!” Translation: “What rock have you been living under?” It was “I Ran” all over again.
So this is probably not a good place to mention that I have never heard “Call Me Maybe.” But at least I have heard of it, so that’s progress. Right?