iPod fairy invades my music playlist

In each man’s relationship with his iPod, the frightening truth one day emerges, stares you straight down and snort-laughs.

You, Mr. Burns, say members of the Manhood Inquisition, have some, well, fairly embarrassing items on that 4,000-song iPod playlist you’ve been collecting over the last several years.

Sure, you can write off the conspicuous presence of the band Asia as just “a 1980s thing.” And, OK, we’ll even give you Barry Manilow’s “Copacabana” because it is one of those songs that seems to creep on to everyone’s iPod, no matter how cool or uncool the owner.

But Chaka Kahn’s “Through The Fire,” Doug? Really.

There is just no way in the world I put that song in my iPod.

No way. No how. No mas.

The culprit for this monstrous cheesiness is not thee.

But I have an explanation.

I am now fully convinced that there is an iPod fairy that sneaks into your hard drive late in the night and inserts ridiculous, even humiliating, songs like a dirty cop planting drugs in someone’s couch. What? No! That’s not my Enrique Iglesias. It’s a setup, man.

How else but for this elusive and yet unseen iPod fairy does one explain the presence of some music so bubble-gummy, so South Beach gay, that you wonder each time one of the ditties pops off the shuffle mode if a resurrected Frank Sinatra is suddenly going to appear and punch you in the face — or delete all of his songs from your iPod at the very least?

In one of the more magisterial magazine essays in American history, Esquire opened a 1966 piece on the Chairman of the Board with the following line: “Frank Sinatra, holding a glass of bourbon in one hand and a cigarette in the other, stood in a dark corner of the bar between two attractive but fading blondes who sat waiting for him to say something.”

Now that’s the kind of cat daddy I want representing on my playlist. But he has company, thanks to the iPod fairy.

I mean, come on. What self-respecting, 45-year-old, heterosexual man has 24 songs from the Euro-trash group a-Ha on his iPod? (Remember the song from the 1980s, “Take On Me.”) I plead guilty to felony lack of taste, but I will make a case that the band’s recent CD, “Analogue,” is actually quite good.

What’s more, I will endeavor an attempt to defend the listing of the group “Tears For Fears” on my Apple music device because I have the old stuff, from the album, “The Hurting”— back before the “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” days.

Of course, the prosecution in this trial of my music bona fides would no doubt present as exhibit A the fact that Cyndi Lauper’s “Change of Heart” is jammed right in there on the iPod, like a big, red-sucked thumb, with all the music I cobbled together searching out cool and hip bands in places like Seattle and Vancouver, Canada.

Scroll down the playlist and the evidence mounts against you, Mr. Burns.

Someone (say my friend and Carroll High School Class of 1987 peer Brian Broich, who pointed to the “Pretty in Pink” movie soundtrack on a shelf during a party at my house) would surely get a fronch-porching-hollering hoot out of the cataloging of Olivia Newton John’s “Magic” and Hall and Oates’ “Adult Education” on that sleek, white, music maker of mine.

Please, please, stop with this. It keeps getting worse. One Justin Timberlake (yes, that dude) makes an appearance on your columnist’s iPod, albeit a brief one with the hit, “What Goes Around.” (Hey, Timberlake is pretty good in the film “Alpha Dog,” which is definitely a guy movie.)

For the sake of mercy I stopped counting the number of Neil Diamond songs on my iPod at 15. Everyone, it seems, has a story behind the inclusion of Mr. Diamond in his digital-music library. Was it a good party or a good laugh or just a cry in Mr. Manilow’s rain?

My bright shining Neil Diamond moment came in the winter of 1991 in Peru, Illinois, that town off Interstate 80 so many of you drive through but never stop in on the way to Chicago.

My friend Paul and I were marooned in the snow there for a full day and night. Being college students, we naturally found our way to a bar attached to the Day’s Inn motel, where, to our delight, a Neil Diamond impersonator was the headliner for our evening’s entertainment.

After our failed attempts to woo the waitresses with lines that seemed to work at fraternity-sorority mixer parties back at Northwestern University, we settled in and yelled out our “favorite” Diamond hits for this guy.

Soon the Diamond double was at our table, drinking White Russians and knocking back a brand of cigarettes that may or may not have been Parliaments. At about 2 a.m. it ain’t no surprise that Diamond’s “Love on the Rocks” sounds like about the most insightful song ever written.

But fire up that tune at 7 a.m. for your drive to work, and you’ll be thinking: That iPod fairy. Somebody ought to get him.

Where is Frank Sinatra when you need him?

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