02 December 2007

Him, Him, Him!

I just bought Rupert Holmes' Partners In Crime album from the iTunes Music Store. I didn't buy it for The Pina Colada Song or because I like the plays that he wrote - not that they are bad or anything. In my little corner of the world, Holmes' song Him holds special significance.

It was the early 1980's when I first settled down in the U.S., a mere lad in a family of six. We just arrived from the refugee camp and started adjusting to the new life. I had about one year of private English school but it wasn't enough to carry out fluent conversation. Someone, whether my late father or a cousin I cannot remember, said that when my English was good enough, I would be able to comprehend what was said or sung on the radio. Sure enough, whatever on the radio sounded so fast I couldn't understand much. Still, as I explored American music I discovered that, unlike Vietnamese music, there was much repetition as far as the lyric went. Even though I didn't understand all the words of a song, there was always certain phrases or words that were repeated over and over. As we didn't have a TV and I didn't read the newspaper, there was no way to confirm it but I was sure I knew the names of certain songs, simply based on the repeated words or phrase. One of the songs I like in those early days on American soil was Holmes' Him.

I didn't catch the lyric enough to know the entire story, but just hearing "Him! Him! Him!" and "It's me or it's him" I could interpret that it was about some guy telling his gal to choose one guy or the other. Love songs are usually about pain and suffering, universally.

I knew there was some reference to the window in the first line. I don't recall knowing back then what do without someone means, so even if I caught the phrase She's gonna have to do without him, I doubt I would know what it meant. Especially the gonna part, as it was a while before I learned the slang words.

Back to the present, I now can easily pick up the whole lyric for Him. I can even detect wrong lyric on some web site. I could have bought the song on CD elsewhere on the Internet but buying through the iTunes Music Store and have the song synchronized to the iPod has special significance. It's amazing how much technology changed over almost thirty years. Years ago I first listened to the song on some low-quality radio, now I have the song on an MP3 player the size of a pack of playing cards, along with many other songs.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:21 PM

    you know and catch more slang than most Amerikan born Americans I know. In fact you exceed my expectations most of the time. Probably because you had to work at it, studying the culture so you could assimilate, you notice things the average dolt takes for granted.