But my local supermarket sometimes has an excellent selection of music playing and it slows me down a little so I can do a step or two from "The Hustle."
Some of the songs they played I'd heard before but for some reason have only now developed an appreciation for them - mostly funk and disco stuff - like "The Hustle."
Here is my supermarket's playlist (with links to the Youtube instance):
- You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) by Sylvester - this reminds me of the documentary "The Times of Harvey Milk" because it's played over scenes of Castro-area partying. Your basic disco-repetition set-up, perfect for dancing, not listening to the lyrics.
- This Guy's In Love with You by Herb Alpert - the crashing piano sections are what completely make this this song, contrasted with Herb's smooth delivery.
- Downtown by Petula Clark - I already own this one but it's great to hear it almost anytime. Because things will be great when you're downtown. I don't have that many memories from before kindergarten but this is one of them. I distinctly remember hanging out on the Delp's hammock one summer morning with the twins (Anne Marie and Bernadette Matusek) and Johnny Thompson and maybe a couple more kids and singing this song's refrain. Actually I think we just sang "downtown" over and over again. So it made a big impression.
- IGY by Donald Fagen - this is from Fagen's post-Steely Dan I (1969 - 1981) phase, on his solo album "The Nightfly" and although I've owned this for years, there is almost nothing better to listen to while shopping, with its ironic take on the splendors and future of American consumer culture and technology from the point of view of the 1950s: "You'll be a witness to that game of chance in the sky - You know we've got to win - Here at home we'll play in the city - Powered by the sun - Perfect weather for a streamlined world - There'll be spandex jackets one for everyone." Just perfect.
- My Ever-Changing Moods by the Style Council - oh man oh man I love this song. And I pretty much don't like The Style Council's output but there is something about this song... I actually loved it for the music alone for years - I first noticed this song in the supermarket - before I bought it, but the lyrics turn out to be extremely interesting. They're hard to hear so you can read them here. The last stanza is most-compelling: "Evil turns to statues - and masses form a line | But I know which way Id run to if the choice was mine | The past is knowledge - the present our mistake | And the future we always leave too late | I wish we'd come to our senses and see there is no truth | In those who promote the confusion for this ever changing mood" And yet for all that it is extremely danceable and who could resist the drum flourish with the bah-bah-BAHHHH!? Nobody with working ears, I say.
- Gone at Last by Paul Simon - this is an amazing song but I never realized it until recently. The lyrics, the Phoebe Snow backing vocal - and the Jesse Dixon singers. The feelings generated by this song I imagine are very similar to what the devout feel at gospel-singing churches. Poor Phoebe Snow - her career was side-tracked when she cared for her disabled daughter for 30 years, and then she had a cerebral hemorrhage and died last year at age 60.
- Stoned Love by the Supremes - this is the post-Diana Ross Supremes. I've always been a Supremes fan but never knew much about this song, but it's great, as usual.
- Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time by the Delfonics - on the other hand I've never been a big fan of the Delfonics - their "smooth jazz" has always been a little too smooth in my opinion. I'm sure I've heard this song many times, since it was first released but I never noticed it until my last trip to the supermarket. Originally I thought he was saying he blew her mind with a great round of sex, but actually it's because he's finally leaving her.
- The Hustle by Van McCoy and the Soul City - I was part of the teen anti-disco brigade back when, and have spent the last decade regretting it as I've come to appreciate so many disco songs. Although I will say in my defense, I've always been a fan of Turn the Beat Around even when I was 15. So I wasn't as bad as some. The Hustle is such a blast to hear, unexpectedly, in the middle of the supermarket.