The World As Mare Sees It...
Jack Johnson 2005-09-25

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I am so not down with popular culture.

I couldn't name a song by Death Cab for Cutie if it came up and hit me in the face. I don't know why those Housewives are so Desperate, whether a Venti is bigger than a Grande, or what VoIPing with Vonage means. I still think the lyrics I hear through my broken ears are much better than anything that actually comes out of the radio, computer, stereo, or cell phone.

In her truncated hey-day, Avril Lavigne was always irritating. Everyone seemed het up about her music, which is confusing because I thought it sounded exactly as irritating as everything else; no One is better than the Other. What bugged me is that nobody ever showed the poor girl how to apply her make-up properly.

By the time I'd graduated high school in 1993, I'd had three years of noise being hurled at me, and I wanted the whole of Seattle to put down their instruments and Just Stop.

I still contend that Neil Diamond is awesome. It's been established on this piece of real estate that I have been and always will be happily square.

And then, last week, I went to see Jack Johnson.

I've only been to 5 concerts in my life: Tea Party by accident, Donovan Frankenreiter as a (pretty good, as it turns out) experiment, and Elton John totally on purpose. I've also seen Oasis, and when they finished their set, I went home instead of staying for the headlining Neil Young. (Are you shaking your head? Because everyone else does when I say that.)

If I'm driving to Curves, Teacher is forced to listen to whatever sort of Top 40 dreck my mood can bear to hear that morning. When Teacher is driving, it's Jack Johnson. Before that, it was Ben Harper, and every so often the above mentioned Donovan got some airplay, but for the most part, she's had Jack on a driving loop for several seasons of snow and sun.

Teacher and her fiancé have had tickets to last week's concert for months, so when I learned that a friend had decided to get me a ticket as well, I kind of shrugged and went along for the ride. We were all sitting together, so at the very least, I'd have someone to go to the bathroom with me. And when all is said and done, while I can't sing along and I don't know the names of the songs or even what he looks like, I never really mind it when I'm listening from the passenger seat.

And so I went. Poppets, it was incredible. Have you seen Jack Johnson? The guy is eight kinds of hot on a guitar! And, bonus! His voice is perfectly full and smooth like velvet and makes the inside of my ears feel good. My heart lifted with the vibe of the crowd, especially when the sky around the amphitheatre got dark, and the people around me started to mouth the songs between their inhale-pause-pause-exhale-pass it on routine, and little flickers of Bic light started appearing around the place, waving in the air to the tune of Jack’s warbles.

And I still couldn’t hear the lyrics or sing along, but most of the time, I could kind of la-la-la along, and bop my head around and totally enjoy being Part Of It All.

I suppose I’ll always be square – there’s no changing it now. But I like to think I came away last week with my corners softened up a bit, you know? And when Banana Pancakes comes on the radio now, I don’t la-la-la, but I don’t make up the words, either.
They’re probably ok, just the way are.

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iimage: Jack Vettriano