Thursday, October 11, 2007


Foreigner's 'Urgent' is, for him, a night time car ride home from scouts. He had gamely gone along with the scouts idea when his parents had presented it, but it had been a largely miserable experience. He was constantly aware of his outsider status, because most of his fellow scouts attended a different grade school, and knew each other much better. And he was painfully aware of his talent for making rain; it seemed to start the moment he left for each camping trip, and stop the moment he left. Eventually he lured his father out on one of these expeditions as a chaperone, which earned him an exit pass.

But while he was still involved in the pursuit of the most meritorious badges, he used to carpool to scouts with the other kid in his neighborhood. One night, when that other kid's father picked them up, 'Urgent' came on the radio as they rode home in silence. In a dark car, passing through darkened streets, with the vaguely oppressive climate of the scout meeting receding behind him, the song was the perfect soundtrack. Slightly funky, but extremely cool, it was hopelessly over-earnest, but at that point, so was he. (Not slightly funky, certainly not extremely cool, but definitely hopelessly over-earnest.)

For decades afterwards, he has been intrigued by how the song is regarded almost universally as a hunk of pop spray cheese fitting only for a Solid Gold dance routine. He appreciates its uniqueness, its mystique, its danger, its saxophone solo. 'You're everywhere / but you're so hard to find...'