David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 268: Shout Out Louds (Impossible)

July 18, 2023

I have a habit of changing song lyrics to fit moments in my life. Trust me, when we were dating, my wife found it cute, perhaps charming, maybe even, God forbid, romantic, when I might substitute her name for a word in any song we were listening to. I am not so sure she still believes that 35 years later. I have also done the same with my son's name, my dogs' names, my (long-deceased) cockatiel's name. I am not even sure I consciously set out to do it, just find visual connections while hearing songs and letting go.

A less appealing side to this habit is my tendency to substitute words mostly just to be obnoxious. (I know, people who know me are shocked. Shocked!)

Poor Lincoln took the brunt of this when the Swedish band Shout Out Louds released Our Ill Wills in 2007. Somehow, while we were living in Grand Rapids, this song popped up as a video on our t.v., and I was instantly hooked. So was Lincoln. The almost seven-minute long song has a cheesy basic glockenspiel riff (I think, maybe synthesizer?), a delicate guitar riff, and a undeniably catchy chorus. Lincoln, still very young, and finding music only through his parents, declared it his favorite song for a moment. And since that moment came sandwiched by whatever he was watching via children's t.v., it didn't take me long to make that chorus, "Kim Possible. You're love is Kim Possible,"not "impossible, your love is impossible."

I'm sure Lincoln thought it was funny the first time . . . as in the first time in the song. To have to hear that Dad joke at least 20 times each time the song came on might count as a crime against humanity. And we played "Impossible"  a lot around the house. But the song didn't have to be playing for me to seize opportunity: just about anytime he or his mother said something was impossible (aside from the song), I was there again with "No, Lincoln, it's not impossible, it's Kim Possible." Familicides have probably been committed with less instigation.

Too bad I never paid attention to the show or I would have realized there were additional jokes with her friend, Ron Stoppable. Maybe more disappointing is that Lincoln, who years later has shown he can stand up for himself when his Dad is the King of Dorkville, also didn't realize that Ron Stoppable was his counter-punch. (I certainly deserved the monikor, Dad Unstoppable.)

Now I can't separate that song from my bastardization of it; I suspect Lincoln can't either. That's really too bad because "Impossible" is a lovely song, cool as a Swedish Fall day (not that I know what that exactly feels like). Adam Olenius' lead vocals interplay beautifully with Bebban Stenberg's haunting background vocals, the angel on high proclaiming "impossible." The inherent sadness that comes from the opening line, "I don't want to feel like I don't have a future" knocks me out every time, seemingly all the more poignant as I wonder how Lincoln's generation does see a future. Everything I took for granted as a twenty-something young man can't be seen the same by his generation.

For Shout Out Louds, all of this future angst is entwined in ideas about love . . . and its limitations. The impossibility comes from not remembering someone's love, our narrator "standing in the same spot" since the love affair ended, which is a nice metaphor about the limitations of love . . . until I realize that since I will still make the same "Kim Possible" joke, I have been standing in the same spot for 16 years. Poor Lincoln.

Hey, it could have been worse, Lincoln, it could have been SpongeBob Squarepants (Justin Timberlake now singing, "I'm bringing Sexy Patrick"), Courage The Cowardly Dog (Fergie saying, "Couragelicious, make them boys go loco"), or Recess (Amy Winehouse singing "They tried to make me go to recess.") And now "Rehab" will never be the same around our house.

Shout Out Louds. "Impossible." Our Ill Wills. Merge, 2007. Link here.

Day 267: Jackson Browne "Love Needs A Heart"

Day 269: Steely Dan "Show Biz Kids"

See complete list here.