One of my favorite things to do when I’m working on the house is to turn on my “everything but audiobooks” playlist and try to see how many of the songs I can identify by artist as it plays. My Amarok collection includes roughly 460 artists, with 8oo-some albums and 11000 tracks (98% of that music legitimately purchased or downloaded legally, btw). So it’s a personal thrill to be able to name artist after artist. But it wasn’t until Avery said something during our last painting session that I started pondering how I recognize the artists, even when it’s a deep track that’s playing.
We have a CD full of music for Avery in the car. It’s got some kid’s music staples, but also good wholesome or entertaining music that I want her to enjoy. She likes “Puff the Magic Dragon” and “Stroller Town” (JoCo), but she also likes “All things little” (“All the Small Things” by Blink 182) and “The cloud song” (“Get Off of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones) and “Lollipop” (The Chordetes). We have the Monkees version of “I’m a Believer” on the CD as well, which she refers to as “The Shrek Song” because the Smashmouth cover of that song appears in Shrek, which she saw at her Grandparents’ house and became a favorite at our house for about a month. Oddly, when I’ve played the Smashmouth “I’m a Believer” for her off my iPod, she recoils, suggesting that it isn’t the correct “Shrek song” because it’s different from the Monkees version. All that is delightful in itself. But here’s where it gets weird for me.
We were painting–she was helping with a tiny roller–and Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie” came on. After a minute or so of rocking out, she said:
This is kinda like the Shrek song.
I agreed, as would be expected since Diamond wrote “I’m a believer,” though the Monkees had the big hit with it. It wasn’t until later that I realized that somewhere in the song structure and lyrical style, Avery recognized a connection across these two different songs. I’m still boggled.