Today I was minding my own business and this song came on:
That’s Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” But you’d have to know that, right? The people who don’t know that are probably these same weird people that I keep running into lately that have never seen Back To The Future or have NEVER HEARD (lower case wtf?) of The Empire Strikes Back. Anyway. Hearing this song today reminded me of four things:
1. I think I’m locked into a vicious cycle of having to always pause whatever I’m doing to do the air drums when the drumming enters this song. Is that an unattractive quality? I hope not.
2. The first time I did the air drums at the exact right time that they came into the song when I was a stupid little kid when one of those amazing moments of victories that you experience as a stupid little kid. I felt invincible.
3. I had a friend named Steve, who… well, that’s a long story for another time. But Steve was a drama major once upon a time and I remember him telling me once over a few drinks how it was his dream to do the lyrics to this song as a monologue on stage at some point in his life. I’m sure by now that Steve has awarded himself quite a few Oscars for performances so far only witnessed by the bathroom mirror.
4. I’ve said this many a time before, but I miss this era in Phil Collins’ career. He was just likable and a simple pop star, but he really mined a dark corner of the human psyche and added synthesizer and that’s what the top 40 looked like back then. Just listen to songs like “Mama,” which he did with Genesis, or “I Don’t Care Anymore,” or even the classic “Against All Odds,” they’re just so sad and desperate and dark and… amazing. There’s this grand urban legend built up about the lyrical content of “In The Air Tonight,” which people take quite literally, assuming that Phil Collins perhaps watched a person drown while singling out the guilty party at a concert during the performance of the hit song he wrote about it, which is a little insane, but is fascinating to watch it grow over the years, mostly by what we call “Telephone” here in America, but they call “Chinese Whispers” in England. It just seems so strange and appealing to me, that period of keyboard and lack of… flash. I mean, seriously, back in the day this guy…