Here’s how we used to find stuff out in the old days, kids

Since this post the other day, I’ve been listening more closely to the Christmas music to which I’ve been exposed.

This morning, I heard something really unusual. What got me was the very different rhythm part of this rendition of “O Come Emanuel.” I’d actually been listening a while before I realized what the song was — even though it’s my favorite Advent song. This was before coffee, you understand.

I wanted to know right then who it was. But I couldn’t do what I would normally do. I was driving the truck, which is straight-shift and takes two hands, and wearing my winter coat that zips up, and couldn’t get at my phone to get my SoundHound app to give it a listen and ID it for me. Frustrating (in any event, as I discovered when I got to work, I’d left my phone at home — again, the lack of coffee).

So I decided that I’d fall back on trying to find out who that was when I got to a keyboard. To my inexpert year, it sounded like Pearl Jam. So I hunted on Google, and on YouTube. I asked everybody on Twitter:

Heard a very offbeat rendition of “O Come Emanuel” on radio this a.m. Sounded like… Pearl Jam. Google couldn’t find that. So who was it?

Weirdly, no one answered. I asked again about six hours later. Still no takers. Which is unusual. Normally, someone at least guesses.

So you know what I did? I found out the old school way. Soon as I got a moment (late this afternoon, after a busy day) I called the request line at Magic 98.5. I asked who that was doing “O Come Emmanuel” between 7:45 and 8 this morning.

Turns out it was Third Day, a Christian rock band that formed back in the early ’90s. You know, when everybody was trying to sound like Eddie Vedder.

The fact that my crowd-sourcing efforts failed, I suppose, testifies to grunge-style Christian bands  occupying a lesser-known part of the pop music spectrum. Even Rob, Dick and Barry might have had trouble with it.

I’m just glad I solved the mystery. I’m sure you’re happy for me.

21 thoughts on “Here’s how we used to find stuff out in the old days, kids

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    As to my headline, “Here’s how we used to find stuff out in the old days, kid…” Actually, in the 20th century, we wouldn’t have bothered.

    It’s just that now, I’m so accustomed to being able to find such a thing instantly, effortlessly, I have a feeling of entitlement to such trivia.

    Back in the day, we would have just let it go, and would not have called the radio station. Most of us wouldn’t have, either. Not unless we had an excuse. Like “Hey, I’m with the paper and lots of readers are calling to know what that song was this morning…” Not just for our own curiosity.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yup. And sometimes I even change the station from NPR. In this case, I think “Making It Grow” or something was on 88.1, so I switched to commercial radio for a few minutes…

        1. Silence

          As I have stated here before, Making It Grow is awful. I don’t care if it’s Emmy-award winning. Amanda McNulty needs a good knuckle sandwich.

          Of course, it’s not nearly as bad as “Speaking of Schools”,”Arts Daily”, “Earth Sense” or “The Carolina Business Report”.

          The ones I don’t mind include “A Minute with Miles” and “South Carolina from A to Zed”

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “Speaking of Schools” reminds me.

            I’ve always been pretty good at imitating accents. For instance, when I was in rehearsals for “Pride and Prejudice,” I got singled out for compliments from our diction coach for my ability to speak with Received Pronunciation. (It takes me a little practice — it’s harder to do just at the drop of a hat — but once I get warmed up, I’m not bad.)

            But I’ve always found it hard to do South Carolina accents. Maybe because I’m too close to them, or maybe they’re too much like the way I already speak. I just can’t seem to grab hold of the key and slide into that mode. The only kind of Southern accents I can do are really broad, country, extreme types. It’s much easier to sound like a hick than it is to sound like a middle-class (or even upper-class, although that’s not quite as hard) Southerner.

            For instance…

            I cannot, for the life of me, say “schools” the way the guy on “Speaking of Schools” says it. And it drives me nuts. Every time I hear him, whenever he says the operative word that the show is all about, I marvel at it, and I TRY to impersonate it, but I can’t do it.

            There’s something he does with that “ool” sound that is really hard to do. It’s like he drags it out, like “oooolll” or something. I find it as hard to describe as it is to say.

            Do you know what I mean? Or am I the only one who hears it, and is maddened by it?

          2. Kathryn Fenner

            It’s like Shpeaking of Shkools, but with more of a lush than a full sh. Like Sri Lanka.
            I love piano music, but On the Keys with David Kaiser, who sounds like Peter Lorre imitating a surfer dude…..I want Phillip to DJ instead!

            He says Pyanoo misick….

          3. Kathryn Fenner

            It’s sort of an umlauted u, followed by an uhls syllable. And the l is voiced.


    1. Bart

      Self-righteous and condescending people who claim to be Christians are not Christians. They believe they are but they are not. A Christian doesn’t announce it to the public, they don’t practice self-righteousness the way the Pharisees did, and they go about their lives living them as examples for others to follow and they do it without grandstanding for public approval and attention. They will stand up for what they believe but won’t try to force it on you and condemn you if you don’t follow their example. A Christian will witness to you but leave it up to you if you want to accept the message or not. And finally, Christians have all of the same problems everyone else does, they wrestle with the same temptations and sometimes even give in to them but they continue to try to be better people. The first thing a Christian will tell you is they are not perfect, never have been and never will be.

      And so far, at least on this blog, Christians don’t verbally attack atheists openly the way some atheists attack Christians. So Bill, the next time someone claiming to be a Christian is condescending and acts in a self-righteous manner toward you, remember they are not who they claim to be.

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I have to say that I find it a bit off-putting when people say, “I’m a Christian.”

        It tends to sound to my ears like boasting about something one should not boast about.

        To me, being a Christian is something you aspire to, and try your best to be, but you’re not the judge of whether you’ve arrived or not.

        I know that evangelicals tend to say it just as a way of saying, “I believe,” and if you question them about it, they’ll be the first to acknowledge that they, too, are sinners who fall short in the eyes of God. But the term sounds too much like an honorific, too much like declaring, “I am a good and righteous person,” to my ears, even when it’s not meant that way.

        So I try to take it in the best possible light when people say it, but it still puts me off somewhat…

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          Yeah, me, too. Growing up with a lot of Baptists who would ask, rapidly, if I had accepted-Jesus-Christ-as-my-LordAndSavior… did not feel like a loving sharing of a message as much as a have I checked off this box? As a Lutheran, it did not make much sense to me…..

          Bless their hearts.

          1. Bart

            Kathryn, it is supposed to be the way Tennessee Ernie Ford said it, “bless their pea-picking little hearts”.

            Yeah, I had the same rapid fire question asked of me too many times when growing up. My reaction was based on the tone used when asked. When asked politely and gently by someone who practiced what they preached, my answer was kind and gentle. But, if a hellfire and brimstone attitude was used, hellfire and brimstone was used in response.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, it’s great. But you know what? It’s a little too slow to be useful sometimes.

      I don’t mean the function is slow — the “listening,” “searching” and “receiving” sequences are quick enough.

      My problem is that it takes too long for the app itself to come up, and for the app to respond after I hit the “What’s that song?” button. I lose like a minute getting to the point that it STARTS listening.

      And by that time, the songs are frequently over…

      1. Norm Ivey

        Rhapsody has their own now–Rhapsody SongMatch–opens quickly and hasn’t missed yet. Except once when I sang into it. It couldn’t find a match.

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