I never thought I’d say this, but thank god for Flo Rida. Every time I hear “I Cry,” I shush anyone who might happen to have the audacity to talk over it. I realize that he’s actually sampling a remake of the original song, but I fucking loved Brenda Russell’s “Piano In the Dark” so much as a kid, that even hearing the accelerated dance remix of the chorus sends waves of nostalgia over me. It brings back memories of rollerskating in my basement and at Spinning Wheels, eating grilled cheese in my grandparent’s kitchen (they ALWAYS had soft rock playing on their house sound system), riding around in my mom’s car.
And then I inevitably feel sad. But it’s that sadness that I thrive on, if that makes any sense. It’s that sadness that keeps in touch with my memories and my past, and as much as it hurts sometimes to have some old track by Alan Parsons Project finger the trigger, I kind of like it. (Don’t get me started on “Eye In the Sky.”)
So I knew that looking up “Piano in the Dark” on YouTube was probably opening a can of worms, and I resisted for weeks and weeks until finally, the other night, I succumbed. And it felt exactly how I suspected: like my heart was being strangulated with neon legwarmers and jelly bracelets. The fucking 80s make me so happy-sad!
Henry and I were in bed the other night when Flo Rida’s version came on. I admitted that I had made it my ring tone (actually, the Bingo Player’s version, because it’s all of the chorus, none of Flo Rida’s lame rhymes). And that’s how I found out that Henry didn’t know any of this was borrowed from Brenda Russell’s seminal 1988 hit! So I of course had to play it for him, which resulted in very blase, “Oh yeah, I kind of remember that song” response right before he rolled over and fell asleep, leaving me to lay there alone in ear worm hell.
Meanwhile, I have been listening to it pretty constantly all week (I even found a live version that features JAMES INGRAM AND MICHAEL MCDONALD ON BACKUP, WHUTTTTT??), feeling all wistful about my ponytailed childhood and even at one point veering precariously down Taylor Dayne lane. Don’t worry, I reeled myself back in.
So now I’m passing on the torture to you.
Even when it’s not playing, I hear it. Maybe it appeals to me because I too play the tambourine and fling playing cards across the floor at random.