April 27, 2006

The Internet Is Inadequate

I was just reminded of the song that goes "I'm So Sorry You Have Reached My Answering Machine," from back in the days when answering machines were Teh Novelty. So I search for that phrase and what do I find? This here for the answer, and...

Sorry, this entry cannot be found.

It's just like in the song, where each verse ends, "And the answer is... ding! And the phone went dead."

Supplementary searching reveals this Musiq Soulchild song, in which " if you leave your name and your number
The whole routine" perhaps alludes to the second line of the refrain, "Leave your name and number I'm sure you know the whole routine." Or perhaps not. That is your artistic insight for the day. Also, this entry is sure to become the top hit for the Google search right soon, so if you know what you're talking about tell me more about the song and maybe I'll change the post title.

[Standard apology for lack of philosophy posts goes here, with vague promises of some forthcoming.]

Posted by Matt Weiner at April 27, 2006 04:55 PM

Rupert Holmes, "Answering Machine."


There are a number of ways to find this like searching for other parts of the lyrics - I think you left out a "just." Or you can go to allmusic.com and search for "answering machine" in song titles. There are a suprisingly large number. It turns out Rupert Holmes also wrote that annoying song about pina coladas. It's possible that the Internet, which was built to route around damage like a nuclear attack, has also found a way to route around Rupert Holmes. More power to the Internet!

Ten years from now, people are going to talk bemusedly about answering machines as quaint artifacts, the way they talk about typewriters today. In the meantime, somebody should come up with a list of telephone songs, especially missed phone connection songs. I'll start:

Blondie, "Hanging on the Telephone"
X, "Your Phone's Off the Hook ... But You're Not"
Bob Dylan, "Long Distance Operator"
Chuck Berry, "Memphis, Tennessee"

Posted by: Ben at April 28, 2006 07:06 PM

Dammit, Ben, I'd managed to forget about the Pina Colada song. How many years' work have you undone? I think I never wonder who wrote that, anyway, because at some level I get it confused with "Copacabana" which I know is Barry Manilow.

As far as the quaint artifact goes, I think my students were all astonished when I said that in college I had an answering machine with tapes in it.

Missed connection songs: "Winona" by Matthew Sweet and "You Won't See Me" by the Beatles, for their first lines. I think "I can't reach you" by The Who is not a phone song, but it sounds like it should be.

If I had tried another search it would have been this. Ominous.

Posted by: Matt Weiner at April 28, 2006 08:25 PM