Last weekend, T and I went to Sunset Diner, as one does when one lives in New Jersey. My previous calls for public soundtracks to be cleansed of the most horrifying of songs have been ignored and Sunday’s playlist started on an unsettling note with a song guaranteed to linger in your head long after the last note has sounded.
“Wild Thing,” by the Troggs.
A dining experience that starts there makes one understandably anxious. We waited as the songs veered into an especially strange playlist. We heard Michael Jackson recommend that we “Beat It” and Kenny Loggins told us we were “Footloose.” With lightening speed we’d moved from the ‘60s to the ‘80s and then Smashmouth reported,“Hey Now, You’re a Rockstar,” which seemed patently unlikely under the circumstances. Also, late ‘90s? Back to the ‘80s as Billy Joel whined about his “Uptown Girl.” Then we abruptly headed to 1960 with a Chubby Checker diversion…he wanted us to do “The Twist.” At this point, T decided soundtrack predictions were in order. She predicted we’d soon be treated to something by Elvis. I predicted Cindy Lauper. We waited. The sound track delivered an inexplicable “Just a Gigolo” by David Lee Roth.
And now we were in terrifying territory. Naturally, “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond followed. T was preparing to tear out her eardrums when the Stones announced they could get no “Satisfaction.” No kidding. We were in a holding pattern.
No Elvis; no Cindy Lauper. We made new predictions: T went with a solid: Elton John. I optioned for Frankie Valli, always a sound choice when you live in New Jersey. The soundtrack responded with Madonna, who remains “Like a Virgin” at the ripe old age of 60. Then we achieved a new level of horror: Dylan’s “How Does it Feel” in …wait for it… instrumental-only format. Who does that? Why now? Lunch was nearly over and then my most triumphant victory of all time settled over us when Frankie Valli delivered the goods with “December, 1963…Oh What a Night.”
We laughed maniacally but as maniacal laughter is regular fare among the customers at the Sunset Diner, no one took note. As we left, Boston was wailing about “More Than a Feeling.”
Fair enough as we had a lot of feelings. Angry feelings about the day’s confusing soundtrack.