‘We Connect’ and ‘Let Me In’

The first review of “Rocket Science” came out a few days ago so I thought I’d include a link to that, here, too, especially because it includes a few lines of lyrics of one of the new songs on the new CD: “We Connect.”

It’s a very positive review (Melodicrock.com) and provides some clues to what the new CD sounds like: Rick Springfield delivers songwriting masterclass with ‘Rocket Science.’

And here’s a clip from a rehearsal from January when RS and his band were working on “Let Me In” (That song was a bonus track on “Songs for the End of the World.”)

So here’s what we have so far:

  1. The actual recording of “Light This Party Up.”
  2. The live version of “Down” plus bits of the recorded version after the lights go on after a concert.
  3. The previous version of “Let Me In” (great song).
  4. A few lines of lyrics from “We Connect.”
  5. A mention in an interview that “All Hands on Deck” is a patriotic song.

So now there are nine songs that are complete mysteries (the 8 others on the album plus a bonus track on the mp3).

And yes, I do realize that this probably stretches “fan” into “fanatical,” but one of the reasons I started this blog was because this is the kind of stuff that goes on in my head and it’s a way to not drive those around me crazy by actually talking about it.

Perhaps I should take the fact that my keyboard keeps freezing up as I write this as a hint that I should just stop now so I’ll go ahead and do that.

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The evolution of “I Hate Myself”

Before I get started on the evolution of “I Hate Myself,” I just want to clarify that this post isn’t really about the evolution of Rick Springfield’s “I Hate Myself” as a song, but rather the evolution how the song played out in our family.

When I first heard “Songs for the End of the World,” “I Hate Myself” took me by surprise. Such an upbeat tune with such a negative message. Since it was so catchy, I decided I didn’t want my kids to hear it because I didn’t want them to start walking around singing “I hate myself” either at home or at school. So I skipped it when the kids were in the car.

But, alas, we are no longer at the parental stage where we can do something like that without the kids noticing. “Why did you skip that song?” my inquisitive 6-year-old asked. “I didn’t feel like hearing that one right now,” I replied. But that wasn’t good enough. The next time I did it, he required more of an explanation. So I explained that it’s called “I Hate Myself” and I didn’t want them singing that song because it’s not a good thing to sing about hating yourself. (Sorry, RS.)

That worked for a few weeks, with all three boys alerting me after the first few notes played if I wasn’t paying attention. “Mommy!!,” they’d shout. “It’s ‘I Hate Myself!’ Skip it!”

Then one day one of them asked if they could hear the song. “OK, but I don’t want you singing it,” I said. (Maybe this whole thing is an over-reaction, but I think words can have a certain power when verbalized. Which is why I think it’s so funny – both funny strange and ha-ha funny – that that’s one of the songs that RS gets his audiences to sing out loud).

So I played it. And they liked it. And one day during carpool, my 6-year-old told the kindergartner carpooler, “Rick Springfield has a song called, ‘I Hate Myself,’ do you want to hear it?” So after some coaxing, I risked being a “bad influence” carpooler and played it. The kindergartner liked it and started requesting it on future trips. Hopefully he didn’t start singing it at home.

Then one day, one of my boys asked why RS would sing a song about hating himself. So I winged it, trying to make it a teachable moment. I explained how sometimes people do things that they feel bad about doing and then they hate that they did it. So it doesn’t mean that he actually hates himself, but he hates that he did whatever it is he did. Who knows, maybe hearing this song will someday help them get through something that they regret doing.

Maybe I’m overthinking the whole thing. But the other day I did hear my 6-year-old singing, “I love myself” to the same melody. Sure that changes the whole theme of the song, but for a family that isn’t too far out of The Wiggles phase, it’s fine with me. Fortunately they haven’t yet asked about what the rest of the song’s lyrics mean.

Muse musing

With the new RS album coming out this summer, I wonder how many women there are who are wondering if it will include songs about them – either from actual encounters from long ago or from more recent imagined or misinterpreted interactions.

Does Sylvia of long ago know there’s a song about her? Does “Jessie’s Girl” remember RS from her stained glass class and know that she inspired the Grammy-Award-winning song or was that class just a long-forgotten blip in her life that she never mentioned to anyone?  Does the toxic muse who inspired the Shock/Denial/Anger/Acceptance album know she was the inspiration?

When I first heard the SDAA album, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I had just read RS’s autobiography and listening to the songs just made me feel incredibly sad. Knowing that it represented such a painful time for him and thinking about his wife having to listen to those songs distracted me from enjoying the music.

It wasn’t until months later when I was listening to Rowdy Ron’s Saturday Night Springfield Special that I heard some of the songs again. Over and over again, I thought, “Wow, what a great song! What album is that from?!” and pretty much every time, it turned out to be from SDAA. “Beautiful You,” “Will I?” “Wasted” “I’ll Make You Happy” are among my favorite RS songs now. (By the way, Rowdy Ron is planning another Springfield Special  this weekend, which means several hours of RS music.)

I especially like when I find out that a song was inspired by his wife because that is just so cool that she has brought out such inspiration in him for all these years.

Anyway, just waiting for the new album to come out to hear the new songs. One new song – “Light This Party Up”  was posted on his Facebook page, a short video from a Club Med concert. Another video – him playing part of his new song “Walking In” – was also on Facebook for a few days, but for some reason it disappeared from my news feed. I really liked that one and have found myself singing it often, although I’m not sure if I have all the lyrics right.

Meanings of songs

Listening to songs can often magically transport you back to a different time in your life. Whether it is the lyrics of a particular song and how it resonates in your mind or just the song itself reflecting a certain time in your life, it’s a powerful thing.

For instance, when I hear fifties music, I think of car rides with my Dad since he would often listen to that music as we were driving. When I listen to eighties music, it reminds me of high school.

When my kids were a little younger, we went through the “children’s music” phase – primarily Raffi and The Wiggles. I embraced it because I saw how much the boys enjoyed it and I knew it was for a limited time. (I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I actually enjoyed The Wiggles – we even took the boys to see them in concert more than once, including the Farewell tour with Greg right before Jeff and Murray retired and to see Greg back in the group kinda felt like a Beatles reunion, kiddie-style).

Anyway, since then, we’ve introduced the kids to music that we enjoyed pre-kids (starting with The Beatles, of course). But since I’ve been listening to “Venus in Overdrive” and “Songs for the End of the World” in the car these past few months, it’s become a whole different level of sharing.

It’s been a really cool experience. I’ve always really enjoyed Rick Springfield’s lyrics and it’s fun to see how they respond to them, too. We discuss what the songs mean (sometimes with me relating details RS shared in interviews and sometimes about what I think it means). It’s also been somewhat educational.

History: When “3 Warning Shots” came on during a carpool ride after school the other day, my 8-year-old turned to his 9-year-old fellow passenger and said, “This song is about the man who shot John Lennon.”

Vocabulary: My 6-year-old: “Mommy, what does oblivious mean?”

Spelling: D-E-P-R-A-V-I-T-Y

Science: After this line from “One Passenger” –  “Why you’d change a worm into a butterfly”  – my 4-year-old said, “Actually, worms don’t turn into butterflies, caterpillars turn into butterflies.”

We’ve also discussed the songs about Sahara and they know she was a young girl who was friends with RS and how sad he was when she died. They wanted to know how she met him and whether they would get to be friends with RS, too.

Sometimes I play the “My Precious Little One” CD in the evenings when I’m trying to get them to settle down before bed (my 6-year-old recently asked why RS doesn’t scream in any of those songs) and they especially like “Don’t Keep the Sandman Waiting.”

I often hear them singing RS songs around the house (sometimes with completely different lyrics). They also like to point out when RS has said a bad word, which hopefully the carpool kids don’t repeat, and if I turn down the volume to discuss anything, they remind me to “turn it back up.”

I can appreciate that.

What a new RS album means

I can’t explain my reaction to the photo on Rick Springfield’s Facebook page today – it made me feel so happy that I felt like I could possibly burst from the happiness.

I’m not even sure why. Yes, I’m looking forward to hearing his new songs. Yes, he and his bandmates looked like they were having a fun time. Yes, I was glad to see that he cut his hair and shaved his beard. But it must have been more than that.

Maybe it was my inner teenager that was just ready to burst out. If social media had been around when I was in high school, I may have never gotten anything else done.

That immediacy is just so addictive. Not only did RS fans learn yesterday that he was in the studio rehearsing for a new album but we learned about it the same week it was happening (and not weeks or months later after the new record was released). There is even a video of RS with his songwriting partner Matt Bissonette from three days ago, the first day of rehearsals.

(As I was writing this I had to watch the video again and then got a little distracted by another video I hadn’t seen before – thank you, YouTube teasers. It was a fun video though, a KTLA Google+Hangout promoting “Songs for the End of the World” so it kind fits with the theme of this post.)

So anyway, where was I?

Ah yes, what does a new RS album mean?

More new songs! More insight into what he’s been experiencing since his last album. And just the fun of anticipating the new album (in addition to the new movie, new book and concert).

It seems as one gets older, there’s less to anticipate. When you’re a kid, there’s a long list of things to anticipate – driving, turning 18, turning 21, the possibilities of who you may become and who you may meet. But then you reach an age when you realize how fragile everything is and just become really grateful for what you already have. The more you learn about all the things that could go wrong, the more you appreciate all the things that go right and are apprehensive to wish for more. Kinda depressing but also kinda true, at least for me, especially after having kids.

So the opportunity to experience this anticipation is actually a huge blessing (which I am grateful to be experiencing).

In fact, I found scientific evidence for this reaction – it is the dopamine, according to this 2011 article on medicalnewstoday.com:

“Experiencing and even anticipating thrilling music releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, a “pleasure” chemical in the brain that is linked to tangible rewards like food, drugs and sex, said scientists from Canada who measured dopamine response to music and found the more “chills” or “frisson” the music elicits, even in the anticipation phase, the more dopamine is released…”

“And, [the researchers] added, it also shows that the anticipation of an “abstract reward” (music is not considered a tangible reward like food or sex), can release dopamine in a different anatomical pathway to that which is triggered at the peak of actually experiencing the pleasurable reward.”

That explains a great deal, actually.

And now we have an answer – a new RS album means a whole lot more dopamine will be released into the world.

Another generation of fans

Since I have “rediscovered” Rick Springfield, I’ve been listening a lot to “Venus in Overdrive” and “Songs for the End of the World.”  For the past few weeks, it’s either one or the other that is in the CD player in my car so my kids have been listening to them often as well.

I have three sons, ages 4, 6 and 8 and they have all quickly become familiar with Rick Springfield. When I first started playing “Songs for the End of World,” my 8-year-old asked who was singing and I showed him the cover. “Does he look familiar?” I asked him. “Yes,” he replied. “From ‘Late, Late at Night,’ ” which he had seen around the house.

His favorite songs are “A Sign of Life”- because it’s about aliens – and “Our Ship’s Sinking”  – he likes singing the “woah woah woah wo.”

My 6-year-old says he likes all the songs and often instructs me to “turn up the volume” as we’re driving, after I turn it down to ask them questions about their day. The other day he informed me that “In song number nine, Rick Springfield says a bad word.” Fortunately he doesn’t quite understand the meaning of the songs – he was just walking around the house singing, “Six kids keep me buried alive – yah, yah…” (Venus in Overdrive) I didn’t correct him. One of his favorite songs is “Don’t Keep the Sandman Waiting.”

My 4-year-old has been heard singing, “Victoria’s seeeecret” and “Awaaay, awaaaay” (from “One Way Street”) around the house. He’s also picked up a few new vocabulary words (such as the one in song number 9 mentioned above) so I skip over some songs when they’re in the car. (When he first used that word, I asked him where he heard it – he replied, “from Rick Springfield.”) I always skip “I Hate Myself,” because I don’t want them walking around singing that.

One funny coincidence: last weekend I was home alone doing some work and was listening to a podcast of a RS interview from June on the computer that somebody had posted on a RS fan Facebook page. It was a fun interview during which RS and the interviewers were joking about the number of records RS has sold and at one point joked that they could say there were trillions of them.

A couple of hours later, I was in the car with my oldest son and out of nowhere he asked me, “Does Rick Springfield have billions of songs?” (He hadn’t heard the interview.) The timing was just weird because the interview was still in my mind.