I was in the car with my 14-year-old granddaughter and her friend. When they are in the car, they control the radio. They insanely tune from one station to the next until there’s a song to their liking. They immediately sing along, never missing a lyric or beat. I am always amazed how they know every—EVERY—song that comes on. I’ve tried to memorize the lyrics to some popular songs, but I am never—NEVER—as flawless as they are…not even close.
I ask Haley how many times does she have to hear a song before she picks it up on her own. “Once usually,” she says. Yeah, amazing, huh?
Later, I am taking a shower and I have a local NPR station on. Tonight there’s this big band guru who has a show every Sunday that features the big bands and vocalist of the 40-50’s. On comes Count Basie, a very famous band of the time. With him, singing a selection of his best songs, is Frank Sinatra. Growing up in my house when I was a kid, you’d think Frank was a member of the family. His voice was present as much as my father’s, maybe even more. My mother even went to bed with Frank…ah, his music playing on the record player.
So here I am in the shower some 50+ years later and Frank begins singing I’ve Got You Under my Skin. It’s an iconic song for anyone my age. I begin singing along. I don’t miss a lyric. I don’t miss a beat.
The human brain is a confounding mechanism. When it wants to remember something it doesn’t care about what time span you’re in or what you’re doing. What I want to know is, how come I can lip sync almost every Sinatra song from years ago, not to mention all the rock ‘n roll hits of the 50s and 60s, but I just can’t seem to master Katy Perry’s Roar…even though I’ve heard it a gazillion times in the past several days? It’s a puzzlement.