Here’s my latest musical obsession: “Futer City” by Aavikko.
Says the liner notes, “A strong PWM-sound melody line opens this energetic ‘dance’ tune which combines the vocal performing of a home sick musical singing cyborg and a grown up men’s choir. The lyrics being in two languages, this is a true international effort.”
Since I can’t quite make out the English bits, and I don’t speak Finnish, I have no idea what the song is actually about. I’m guessing the chorus is from Futer City? And the cyborg wants to find his way there or back? And what about the woman who repeats the word “vegenia” between the two verses?
Memory is a strange thing. A scent, a flavor, or a sound can bring forth a rush of vivid memories. For example, the scent of lemons and oranges recalls the memory of my grandmother’s kitchen. The scent of a pine tree made cloying by central heating recalls the memory of my fifth grade classroom. And the sound of Michael Jackson’s Thriller recalls the memory of the Christmas when I was in fourth grade.
My parents bought Thriller for my little brother, who’d been obsessed with Michael Jackson. Naturally, from the moment it was unwrapped, that album was played incessantly in our home. One might have thought our parents would have learned their lesson after they’d bought me Styx’s Kilroy Was Here a year or two before. (We still know the words to “Mr. Roboto” by heart.)
Listening to this track, I vividly recall the overcast day and the light in the apartment. I got a silvery green hologram sticker. A Transformers comic book. And I most distinctly remember the glow in the dark Construx set and the gummy-candy texture of its transparent tires.
I think it was this one:
But, can the song get me to recall anything we said to each other that day? Anything we did other than unwrap gifts? Sadly, it can not.
Maybe I’m weird— actually, I’m fairly certain of that— but if you were to ask me what songs and music I most positively associated with this time of year, I wouldn’t name any of the usual Christmas carols. Instead, I might well name the most bizarre thing you could imagine.
I first stumbled upon “Prisencolinensinainciusol” a couple of years ago at about this time of year. It bounced around the inside of my head for the rest of the year. Eventually, I forgot the song, of course, until much later, when I found the post where I’d first shared it. And, just like that, it may as well have been winter 2009 again.
According to Wikipedia…
The song is deliberately meant to sound to its intended Italian audience like English spoken with an American accent, but the lyrics are actually pure gibberish, with the exception of the words “all right.” Celentano’s intention with the song was to explore communications barriers. “Ever since I started singing, I was very influenced by American music and everything Americans did. So at a certain point, because I like American slang — which, for a singer, is much easier to sing than Italian — I thought that I would write a song which would only have as its theme the inability to communicate. And to do this, I had to write a song where the lyrics didn’t mean anything.”
While this isn’t the Total Perspective Vortex, it does give one a sense of perspective. Those tiny flashes of light flitting by are entire cities, and any individual’s contribution to any of them is indistinguishable. That soap-bubble gleam is the extent of the atmosphere, all that stands between us and the cold inhospitality of an indifferent universe. Awful neighbors, difficulties at work, even bad traffic– all a happenstance of chemistry made possible by that thin bubble, and less than a flicker of a flash in the lights below it.
Yes, this sort of perspective may lead one to ask, “why bother?” But… it may also lead one to imagine great things.
This is a time-lapse video taken by a special low-light camera aboard the International Space Station. It captured auroras, thunderstorms, the glow of cities, and the faint light of the sun refracted by the atmosphere.