Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Song of the Week 8/20/10

Huey Lewis and the News - "If This is It"

This past weekend I took a trip back in time. Well, not literally, but it certainly felt like it at many moments. I went to Misquamicut State Beach in Rhode Island for the first time in 20 years. As a kid I spent many, many days at this beautiful beach with my aunt. We visited that area of New England virtually every summer of the 1980s. (Save 1983, where I lived outside San Diego and was able to let my Duran Duran and new wave fandom grow by leaps and bounds listening to 91X.) We went one last time in 1990 when I lived at home while I was interning at PYX 106 in Albany, but at that point I was more interested in spending my time indoors and soaking up as much about the industry I had (foolishly, some would say) decided would be my career. And what 20 year-old wants to spend time with their relatives?

As the past 20 years have gone by, I became more of a guy that avoided the outside. There's a great Lemonheads song from 1996 called "Outdoor Type" that sums up my state of mind perfectly. But this year that facade got cracked. I was very fortunate to date a lovely woman named Allison who embraced much of what I had pushed out of my life since I became a city dweller -- she loved the outdoors, loved traveling to new places and especially loved the beach. We were in New Hampshire in May and made a pit stop at her favorite beach. Standing there, with my feet in the chilly sand, I thought to myself, "Why have I avoided this for so long? This is pretty awesome, even if its not the best temperature to have bare feet." At that moment I knew I needed to get back to the beach. A month later I booked a hotel just over the Rhode Island border in Connecticut (which happened to be near Foxwoods casino, cough cough) and asked my aunt to go with me.

As the time for the trip approached, I pulled together a playlist of songs from 1984 to 1986. Those are the years that come to mind to the most when I think of Misquamicut. And of course that's the era when Huey Lewis and the News were at their peak. Their music is intertwined with those memories. We saw Back to the Future in nearby Westerly in 1985 and I, of course, chuckled at Lewis's cameo. I went camping in the area in the late summer of 1986 with my older friend David and on the way back we stopped at a Strawberries so I could by a cassette of Fore!, which had just been released that week. And "If This Is It" was released as a single in July of 1984, and I remember hearing it on radios up and down the beach when we went for a second visit of the summer in late August. It was my favorite song on Sports before it became their fourth Top 10 hit in a row, so being able to hear it more often made me very happy. And when I sat on the beach this past weekend, many of those teenage memories came flowing back, with a soundtrack supplied by a song with a video about going to the beach. How meta. (And what a bummer I can't embed it.)

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