Written by Patrick McNamara
So there I was in my local market waiting in line one evening to purchase my soap and pasta sauce after a long and tiring day spent music blobbing. I didn't want to be there and neither did the people in front of me. Not that I exchanged words with any of them and commented on how it's so crazy that here we are these strangers busy living our own lives and we all just so happen to find ourselves together in this long line in the market right now and how many scenarios must have played out for that to happen, man, and my how the world isn't that big at all. I could just tell that, like me, nobody was feeling it and we all wanted to get the fuck out of there.
So it was a surprise when the Muzak clicked over to a new song (I can't remember what was playing previously but let's just say it was this that's how depressing it was) that instantly changed my vibe. Right as I was at my low, staring at the cover of US Weekly while contemplating how a “Full House" reboot seems like a really sad idea and also how it's such a bummer Paul Newman is dead (I always purchase Newman's Own pasta sauce because Paul Newman was the shit), here comes this joyful jingle-jangle riff over some amazingly upbeat keys to rip me away from my selfish funk. Wait. I know this song, don't I? No. I don't think I do. Who is this? I know this. Right?
Well, to make an important story a little longer, I Shazamed the shit out of it and discovered that one of the happiest pop songs I've ever heard (no matter that its narrator seems to have low self-esteem and a slightly defeatist attitude toward things) is “Somebody's Baby" by Jackson Browne. Really? Jackson Browne? No shit? I never would have guessed that primarily because I don't know much of anything about Jackson Browne. I know he's an important songwriter and his work on _________ was really important and I always meant to give him a chance but I didn't. So if you reading this and know a lot about Jackson Browne and think this crack in my musical knowledge is glaring at best and punishable by public shaming in the digital life at worst STEP OFF, SLICK, I just didn't get around to it and who can I make fun of you for not listening to?
After doing some more research (the line was long and I had my phone which can do certain things, you see) I discovered and then sort of remembered that “Somebody's Baby" is also the song that's played when Stacy Hamilton (played by the incomparable Jennifer Jason Leigh who was often compared with Ally Sheedy) loses her virginity in a baseball dugout in “ Fast Times at Ridgemont High." The first few times I saw that movie was on network TV and they cut out all the curse words and all the sexy times so maybe that's why I didn't instantly connect the song with the film. I tell you what, though, that Sean Penn can act. You have to be real smart to play dumb like that.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that if I didn't decide to go to the market to get soap and pasta sauce and wait in that long line that night I never would have discovered one of the happiest pop songs (about low self-esteem) that I have ever heard in my entire life and then where would I even be right now? At home eating spaghetti and thinking of taking a shower even though I already took one this morning, probably.