Sunday, May 5, 2013

achy breaky heart: a universal melody

SoCal summer approaches. The grills are fired up, the Coronas are on ice, bouncy-houses are blown up and overwhelming the backyards of every lucky kid on the block.

All this, to the festive beat of mariachi music.

And when listening close, even a gringo like me might recognize a song or two. Its a wonderful, yet occasionally unfortunate, merging of cultures.

"Occasionally unfortunate?" you ask. Allow me to present Exhibit A: Achy Breaky Heart. I guess good 'ol Tennessee twang and stories of unrequited love speak to all hearts. In fact, the 1992 country hit has been rerecorded and released in well over one-hundred languages, representing numerous cultures and influencing multiple generations.

Now, no disrespect to big Billy Ray fans, but the song humors me. Maybe its the plunky melody or the cheestastic lyrics. Either way, it makes me chuckle. But there's obviously something about it that permeates cultural barriers and continues to defy ever-changing trends in the music industry. A person could probably come up with a whole list of reasons... but I'll put my money on one: its the achiness and breakiness.

Smiles may be universal, but there is no greater commonality than broken-heartedness. From fiesta-goers to barhopping cowboys, and everyone else under the sun, we've all experienced some level of sadness. I believe the running royalties accrued in Mr. Cyrus' bank account will attest; share a man's burden and make a lasting impact. Sure, sharing a good laugh may be a lot more enjoyable, but... well, I guess there are just some things an achy breaky heart can't understand.

Too bad the partiers down the street aren't as generous with their carne asada as they are with the volume of their music...

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