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broken wings

take these broken wings/

and learn to fly again, learn to be so free/

and when you hear the voices sing/

the book of love will open up and let us in

It seems like everytime I go into a supermarket or box store of any kind I hear this song. It's “Broken Wings”, a song I dimly remember hearing as a child in 1985 (and I had to do a web research to find out the date of the song, as well as the name of the band—Mr. Mister). I heard it in Longo's supermarket on Dundas and Trafalgar a few days ago; the last time I heard it was in the Rona in Vancouver just before I left.

It's not the most memorable song--the singer's sincerity and passion come across, but the lyrics and instrumentation are corny, sentimental and generic. But these types of songs tend to linger on, populating the easy listening stations, perhaps because of their increasing weight of nostalgia and familiarity, and you hear them again and again, in places like this, as though they're all tuned to the same, timeless, changeless radio station.

It's moments like this when I hit a wall, where I see this song as mediocrity and conformity, and I am unable to understand why anyone would enjoy this music, especially anyone with access to noncommercial radio or the internet. I acknowledge that I am not someone who enjoys easy listening radio, and in situations where I had to listen to this music at work (usually at jobs I hated) I learned to tune it out. How many people at how many workplaces are doing the same thing?

But this raises other questions. Who am I to judge? Isn't taste subjective? Isn't it dangerous to suggest a relationship exist between taste and one's ethics or politics (in this case notions of normality, especially in relation to gender, that seem to be just beneath the surface, not so much with this song but many others I can think of)? Or is this just more lifestyle, like those predetermined and strictly defined categories used to judge people in high school? Mediocrity comes in all flavours, including those we think of as ‘sophisticated'.