When the coffeemaker is broken and the owner wants to talk about summer songs.
Not everyone gets to sit in on one of Onus Records’ “Quality Control Meetings.” You have to be part of Onus Records CEO Tommy Globbit’s inner circle, like his dentist or tree trimmer. Sometimes you have to be an unpaid intern. Or else you’re lucky enough to write for The Arrowhead Community Ledger (yeah, I know you’ve never heard of it) and you’ve got the man himself hungry for some media attention and inviting you to a closed door session.
But today, no one is loving this Monday meeting, especially since it has spilled over to Tuesday and the coffee maker isn’t working. Every once in a while, Globbit gets a wild hair about what kind of music the world needs now, what it’s already got too much of and what music will sell the day this non-profit label decides to not operate in the minus. Today he’s armed with charts, graphs and theories.
“Songs with girl’s names always sell. But song’s with guys’ names? Not so much. Everybody bought the Monkees’ record “Valerie,” but nobody bought “She’s Movin’ in with Rico,” see what I mean?”
Like most of these meetings, the yard groomers and peers of Globbit’s age group nod in agreement while the interns have no idea who these artists of 40 and 50 year pedigrees are. Last week he brought up The Ink Spots and was being totally serious about the lack of songs about glow worms.
After going off on the girl’s name tangent, Globbit shifts gears and is back to asking the interns about summer songs they like.
“I thought you were going to bring me examples of summer songs. All I’m getting are these depressing drones.” he sighs.
“These are the summer songs,” says Natalie, pointing to an online blog theorizing which chartblazer is going to be THE summer song of 2016. ”
“Aww,” grunts Globbit. “Does Pharell have to be sued again before we can get another song that sounds like summer? That Drake song could’ve come out in the dead of winter. What’s so summer about it?”
“Well, it’s kinda depressing, like this summer.” says Cathy, looking up from her iPhone.
“What about this one?” asks Annette before playing the recent Justin Timberlake single. “It mentions sunshine once.”
“I’ll grant you, that’s a fun sounding song. But it’ll remind people of Michael Jackson and ultimately make them despondent. It’s too soon.”
“But he’s been dead for five years,” the gardener pipes in
“Yeah but it’s only been six months since they published the police reports of his little cherub pornography stash. I’m sick of these glum anthems. I want songs about the beach, rubbing some sun tan-lotion on a curvy girl’s back, picnics in the park. Just enjoying the outdoors.”
“This is Arizona,” counters the tree trimmer. “Everyone is enjoying air-conditioning. No one picnics in the park.”
“Pascal, that’s because there are no songs about picnicking in the park or taking a walk to suggest such jollity! Used to be Top 40 would always mark the passing of the seasons. There’d be songs about Mom timed for mother’s day. Songs about snow when it was winter. I just want a goddamned song I can paddleboast to.”
“Maybe,” says Natalie, “you can get No Volcano to write a vacation song, like, those guys have kids. If they had a song called “Are We There Yet?” it might do real well with station wagon owners.”
“I already thought of that. Their album isn’t due till the fall. But I hipped them to this theory about acknowledging the seasons and they’re gonna have plenty of songs about jack-o-lanterns and foliage.And one about the Pilgrims.”
Globbit sifts unhappily through a pile of CDs. “What about this one?” he ask before cuing up a track by Serene Dominic called “If Tallulah Were Mine.”
“I can see paddle boating to this. It’s lazy and hazy. But goodtimey. Like jugband music.”
The interns suddenly perk up , thinking that the meeting could devolve into a session of binge drinking on the company’s dime.”
“There’s even a jug being hit on it, it says here. OK, let’s make that one Single of The Weekend next. See if we can change someone’s mind about summer music. It shouldn’t be glum and bummer. It should be…”
“Lazy and hazy,” everyone dutifully mumbled back after Globbit writes those very words on the erase board.
“Like ‘In The Summertime,'” says the gardener, singing the 1970 summer hit with a Venezuelan accent.
Just then Globbit turns to Annette from the art department. “See what you can do about sprucing up Serene’s look. He looks like an evil Donald Pleasance when he’s not smiling. Male him look fun. Give him a Mungo Jerry hair makeover.”
When the girls roll their eyes, he knew what it felt like to be the oldest living thing in the room.
“If Tallulah Was Mine” is avai;able for streaming and name your price at onusrecords.bandcamp.com
This article was written by Tim Melwatt of the Arrowhead Community Ledger.