Sunday, May 23, 2010

Earworm: Let Me Clear My Throat

DJ Kool "Let Me Clear My Throat"

Ah, yes. My DJ days. I was never a particularly good live DJ, given that my technical mixing skills extended to sliding the crossfader over from one song to the other. I did have an insanely huge music collection that covered anything and everything, however.

Even if I couldn't beat-mix, I still knew what songs would blend well and catered to the crowd with music that I didn't particularly like. I mean, it was the late 1990s, and you can only hear a Jennifer Lopez or Ja Rule remix so many times before you want to stab yourself in the ear.

At least I had the sense to invest in a technology that never went anywhere. MiniDiscs meant that I didn't have to ride my bicycle across the University of Minnesota campus carrying pounds and pounds of CDs to possibly play one song from each disc. I did try the ride with CDs a few times, but it was too easy to fall off my bike due to shifting backpacks. Case Logic binders could only go so far.

I woke up this morning to DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat" running through my head. I haven't heard that song in almost ten years. It was always a crowd pleaser, with a built in call-and-response section and simple, old-school rhymes. Really, it was just a step up from Ice T's performance in Breakin', which really needs a remastered DVD release. It got the job done though, giving me time to contemplate if I wanted to open the next set with Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecelia" or Afroman's "Because I Got High."

The Midwest was generally behind the times when it came to music, so a song like Nelly's "Country Grammar" or "Rosa Parks" by Outkast would be a popular request months after they were played out everywhere else. I always liked the calm in the bar when the kids were away at spring break, because it meant that the song requests would be a little more current when they came back, at least for a few weeks before I would have to return to the top-40 music that was the foundation of their musical enjoyment. I did what I could to introduce them to something better from time to time, but it was mostly a futile attempt. Mainstream music paid my rent, and when it came down to it, that's all that really mattered.

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