Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lyrics of the Day

My music collection doesn't include much punk, but the Los Angeles band X is a notable exception; I have eight of their albums. "See How We Are" is the title track from X's sixth album, released in 1987. The song covers a broad range of subjects from prisons to poverty to self-interest to relationships, but these lines always stick out in my mind:

Now there are seven kinds of Coke
500 kinds of cigarettes
This freedom of choice in the USA drives everybody crazy
Only seven kinds of Coke, imagine that! Back then, we had "new" Coke, Coke Classic, Diet Coke, Caffeine-free Coke, Diet Caffeine-free Coke, Cherry Coke, and Diet Cherry Coke. I remember because the first time I heard the song, I made that list and said, "Damn, they're right!"

Of course, that was 20 years ago. Since then, only "new" Coke has fallen (quietly) by the wayside, and the company has added Coca-Cola BlaK, Coca-Cola Zero, Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, Coke with Lime, Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, Diet Coke with Lime, Diet Coke with Splenda, Diet Vanilla Coke, and Vanilla Coke. Our Coke options have more than doubled!

This reminds me of a book I read a few months ago by Barry Schwartz titled The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. He confirms what X knew decades ago, that freedom of choice is driving us crazy. He shows how excessive options add stress, waste time, and often lead to poorer decisions. The last chapter is full of great advice for dealing with the overwhelming choices in modern America. It might even help you pick out your next can of Coke.

2 comments:

Samantha said...

I had to play one of X's songs on Guitar Hero: Rocks the 80s called "Los Angeles". I never heard it before until I played the game, but I thought it was a very great song!

Geezah said...

Samantha, you didn't actually play an "X" song. You played a game to an "X" song.