Let me start by confessing that when inspiration hit and I knew what I needed to say about this song, I had to go look up how to spell the title. I’ll contemplate the deep meaning of finding deep meaning in a song who’s title I don’t even know how to spell later
But wait, I have another confession. I’ve started running again. You might recall I mocked the entire idea of having a playlist dedicated to running when I started the playlist manifesto. At that point, the most energetic thing I did was vacuum and I certainly didn’t do that on a regular basis. But here I am going into week three of running again. Here’s my message to you on this: When you feel like running, do it. Don’t question. Don’t try to redefine yourself as a runner. I AM NOT a runner, I accept that. What I am is a cyclical creature, like a bear. Sometimes I run, sometimes I sit on the couch and watch an entire season on Outlander in two days (Jaime Jaime and still more Jaime… need I say more?)
It was on my most recent run (I know, I still can’t believe I can type that) MMMBop popped up in the playlist. Generally speaking, I derive the meaning of songs from the lyrics and while MMMBop does have words, God only knows what the heck that cute little 12 year-old is saying. Of course we all know that one of the biggest miracles of being alive in this day and age, up there with penicillin and the wheel, is the fact that you can google song lyrics. However, that somehow felt like cheating with MMMBop. And as I slowly trudged along (Again, I am no runner.)… the meaning of MMMBop came to me clearly. And I thought that meaning was so cool that I am standing here still sweaty and gross from said trudge typing this.
So here’s the thing about MMMBop. It’s pretty universally viewed as uncool. So uncool it is openly mocked. In the hierarchy of songs that are mocked by cool people, I would say that MMMBop ranks above songs by boy bands and the Partridge Family. Think about your own ranking of cool songs. I am willing to bet MMMBop is pretty low on that list. It’s not a song you are going to admit to loving on a first date, that’s for sure. I’ll admit, I even had a moment’s hesitation about doing a post on MMMBop because I would be admitting that I had included it in my playlist which is pretty embarrassing.
But while it’s safe to say that we can agree that it’s pretty uncool, it’s also catchy as all get out. There is something completely infectious about it. It’s joyous. Instead of apologizing or trying to hide it’s un-coolness, it puts it all out there and celebrates it.
I think on some deep level that’s why I love MMMBop. I aspire to be like MMMBop. I want to own my goofiness. Not just own it, revel in it.
MMMBop says not only to fly that geek flag high, but to enjoy the fact that you have it. Be happy you’re a nerd who can recite every line of Napoleon Dynamite or a socially awkward bad dancer who has seen every episode of the Simpsons. Whatever it is, don’t just own it, applaud it. Love it. Little kids can totally do this. But something sad happens around middle school and some of us are never quite able to reclaim that joyful celebration of who we truly are.
Listen to MMMBop. Let the uncool joy wash over you and see what happens. If you’re a terrible dancer who wants to dance, you go for it. Be you!
And as always, I want to hear what you’re listening to. Make it as uncool and joyful as you can. Anybody else love “Close to you” by the Carpenters like I do? Hit me with your best/worst.