As pop culture savvy people know (or, really, the non-knowledge-seeking population at large), this is the home of such ingenious programming as My Fair Brady and Breaking Bonaduce (yes, that Bonaduce); my original pregnancy staple, The Surreal Life; and my current guilty pleasure, Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School Starring Mo’Nique – which, if you ask me, should be subtitled Oh Dear God This Is Surely the Sign of the Apocalypse.
While the Celebreality shows were not on, something nearly as good was – 40 Most Softsational Rock Songs.
Was there ever a show title that called to a marshmallow-brained new mom-slash -former child of the 70’s more?
I laughed as I clicked over to channel 19, and began drifting away to cerebral nothingness as the hosts riffed on Seals and Croft, The Captain and Tenille (oh, that wacky Captain), and REO Speedwagon. There was so much comedy fodder inherent in the topic: The earnest melodies. The confounding lyrics. The confounding facial hair.
Then suddenly it struck me…
I was not listening to this ironically at all. I was totally enjoying it. Every song.
Of course I was riveted watching Steven Perry belt out Open Arms, although that should come as no surprise to long-term readers. Especially considering the devirginication associations with the ballad (which I’ll have to discuss another time). But I found myself wistful for Styx, honestly in love with Olivia Newton-John, and even humming along to…oh lord, I can hardly bring myself to admit it…ugh…can’t…do it… must…resist…getting…weaker…
Every one of those softsational soft rock songs brings back a deeply entrenched memory: Lying on the radiator cover in our kitchen on snow days while Anne Murray warbled You Needed Me. Impromptu street kickball games the summer of Chuck Mangione’s Feels So Good. Singing Christopher Cross’ Sailing ruefully with gymnastic camp BFFs whose names I’ve long forgotten. Hoping a boy would ask me to skate with him when the rink dimmed the lights for Hall and Oates’ One on One. Watching the Rosanna video while experimenting with black eyeliner and heavy petting during the early days of MTV.
And of course, the hormonal flood of tears in a girlfriend’s arms to Styx’s Babe, during a particularly harrowing encounter with unrequited 8th grade love.
These songs are meaningful to me. I love them and I’m not afraid who knows it.
What’s more, I didn’t just watch the show, I recorded it.
So call me lame. Call me cheesy. Call me grandma, like Nate does. But I won’t hear you.
I’ll be too busy humming the Pina Colada song.