Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Snap and Crackle's Groovy Revenge, Introduction
Ten CDs. Fifteen songs per disc. 150 songs from the "Me" Decade. How could I NOT fall in love?
The first place I called my very own sat at the bottom of a sloping street on the east side of my hometown. I had been born and raised on the west side, but there was nothing overtly symbolic in my relocation. I sought an affordable area in which to live and breathe, to do and be, and a two-story duplex located a mile from my job for just over 500 bucks a month rung the bell.
For a time, I shared said space with my then-boyfriend (who years later is still my closest confidant). For a time, he and I decided to battle the anxieties that plagued as individuals, together, within "cozy" confines distinguished by a box staircase the width of a casket and party walls a newborn could slap through. On the weekends, we fought off sleep together. The TV aided and abetted this criminal activity. I had never cottoned to the campy joys of infomercials, but then came that one early AM when our attention was grabbed by Time Life's Pop Goes the '70s.
Often, I struggle to remember what my life was like before I saw that infomercial. Milquetoast entertainment icon Donny Osmond and alleged television personality Patricia Kara stood on a garishly-decorated sound stage, reciting hokum-pokum through mouths at half-smile (as if mourning the death of dignity). The Seventies! Social change! Bright colors! Crazy dudes in crazy duds! Sedaka is back! Pop Goes the 70s is the collection for older people who are scared that the Feds will break down their door the second their first download completes! And if you don't trust paid celebrities, just have a look and a listen! Thirty minutes of song credits scrolling over "live" performance footage of select tracks. I regret to inform the reader that the full infomercial is no longer online, but luckily I sat through the thing in excess of twenty times. Yes, it was that entertaining to behold. It made insomnia fun again. Everyone involved was dressed like they'd lost a bet.
That half-hour of salesmanship is my primary positive memory of that place. The negative recollections--involving ornery neighbors, sketchy after hours shenanigans, and my ongoing struggles with physical and mental health--are really minor quibbles compared to slow motion footage of Gino Vannelli.
Initially I intended to make this a review of the actual advertisement. I changed my mind even before its disappearance from the Internet, thankfully, so get ready for another TJMD track-by-track breakdown. Rather than proceed disc by disc, however, I've separated the songs into nine categories: Duos, Country Pop, Treacle Tart, Women of the 70s, R&B/Funk Groups, Dance, Novelty, Pop/Rock Groups and Men of the 70s. You will note some are more sparsely populated than others, and many songs in one category could have fit snug into another. In the end they were my decisions to make, and I stand by each of them. And we're all wearing matching tracksuits.