First of all, I love you. I don’t want you to lose sight of that. We’ve had a really great year together—all my friends said I should meet you for years, and I’m glad I finally listened. We work so well together—I’m an excellent listener, and you have a lot to tell me. We have a lot in common—we both have all of the Milk Carton Kids albums and know all the words to the Hamilton soundtrack.
I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to get to know me. You, my friend, are the master of mixtapes. Each week, you introduce me a new crop of tunes. Each week, I listen diligently, and most of the time I am richly rewarded for my diligence.
Here’s the thing: of all the times we’ve gone over musical tastes, not once did I ever mention The Beach Boys. That’s not to say that I actively dislike them, but they’re not really on my listening radar. Like, at all. Which is why my interest was, shall we say, piqued when you went all final-scene-from-Love-Actually on me with a Kina Grannis cover of “God Only Knows.”
Hmm, I thought. Not my first choice, but okay.
If only it ended there.
A few weeks later, John Legend popped up. What is that he’s singing? A little “Ordinary People,” perhaps? Perhaps not. “All of Me,” yes? No, none of that. Is he…is he singing that Beach Boys cover? The same one I listened to recently, just once, as a courtesy? Just to be polite to my dear friend Spotify?
At first I thought it was funny. My buddy Spot has a sense of humor! It must be all those Crazy Ex-Girlfriend musical numbers I’ve been listening to! Good one, pal!
But now, it seems I’ve been Rickrolled—or should I say Brian Wilsonned. Six times, to be exact.
In your defense, there are an unconscionable thirty-nine covers of “God Only Knows” in your repertoire, not to mention the thirty-one versions by the Beach Boys themselves. Odds were that one would slip through the cracks. In your defense, you gave me She & Him and Natalie Maines and not Neil Diamond or Glen Campbell.
Yet, it seems as though it’s only a matter of time before Wilson Phillips creeps into my life, crooning the same tune as David Bowie, Michael Bublé, and multitudinous participants on The Voice over and over again.
Did I mention that I hate Love Actually?
And happy people in airports?
Each week, you fill my ears with something new, something yet to be discovered. But some weeks, God only knows why you think I like this music. As your favorite song begins:
I may not always love you…
Just keep that in mind.
1 I made a Spotify playlist with all seventy versions in case you want to share in my pain.
Catherine Kramer (’14) has a degree in English and works in publishing. Her continued existence is made possible by grace, warm hugs, and iced chai lattes.