Sunday, August 7, 2011

South Detroit?

I love the band Journey.  Let me state that loud and clear before I even launch into anything here. "Open Arms" is a wonderful song as is my personal favorite "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'."  I love the effortlessness of Steve Perry's vocal range.  I grew up loving them and still enjoy listening to their music to this very day.

That said, I have one wee little pet peeve that has driven me mad for decades now.  I feel that, if I publicly address this, maybe I can free myself from the instinctual cringing that happens every time I hear the famous little tune, "Don't Stop Believing."  You know, the one about the small town girl who's living in a lonely world?  And, the city boy born and raised in South Detroit?

Now I totally buy that the girl is very much from small town America and very well may be lonesome. But, there's no way I'm sold on the city boy coming from South Detroit. Why not?  Well, because as any SE Michigander can tell you, there is no such place.  Granted, I grew up just outside the city in what would be considered Detroit's metropolis. And, even though I wasn't allowed to venture into the city without a male companion growing up, even then I could tell you that driving south through Detroit only brings you to the Downtown area.  Drive further south and find yourself in the Detroit River.  If you venture even more southerly, (which you can only do by bridge, tunnel or proper scuba gear) you will be asked to present your passport or enhanced driver's license because you are now entering Windsor, Ontario. Yes, Canada. (Bonus trivia fact: You can only enter Canada driving south from two places in the U.S. Alaska and Detroit, MI.)

I'm sure the band chose this phony locale strictly for poetic reasons or simple rhyming's sake. But, I've seen the video and it would have seemed more plausible if this character was raised in Staten Island, Hoboken or Southie Boston.

Detroit's People Mover
I've also always assumed that both parties must have relocated to New York City. Because if the midnight train was in the small town, it would be an Amtrak and it wouldn't actually be located in the small town, but the nearest large city.  If the midnight train was located in "South Detroit", which for argument's sake we'll say is Downtown Detroit (where no one really grew up either,) it would be the Detroit People Mover, which didn't even open until six years after the song's release. (And, the People Mover actually closes operation at midnight Sundays through Thursdays. You can, however, ride until 2 am Friday and Saturday nights.) So, we'll just settle on the fact that the midnight train is in NYC and it is a subway car as the chorus leads into it's mighty swell.

This little fact used to simply be a small annoyance when the song would come on the radio every now and then.  Then came this scene on the MTV show Laguna Beach: 

The song has been revived and the youth are being brainwashed!  Then this: 

That's where I put my foot down in protest, because now I'm hearing these lyrics over and over and over again, with not a care for proper geography.  Poor innocent Rachel Berry, convincing the world that this magical place exists. Smiling as if she's even seen it with her own two eyes.

So, I'm simply asking Journey to replace this one phrase with perhaps the words "Staten Island" or "Brooklyn Heights".  Get the Glee kids to perform it several times using these new lyrics and it will catch on like wildfire.  No one will even remember the faux pas ever existed and I could then rest easy at night. 

Now, I would never expect you stop believing... that would be selfish of me. But I would request that, when writing future lyrics about places you're unfamiliar with, you start using Mapquest or, at the very least, Wikipedia.


Scheezo said...

Thinking about this. Journey are from San Francisco (except for the new signer who is from the Philipines). They are probably generalizing about South Detroit. Its possible this guy was from downriver somewhere. Maybe he was from Ecorse and found himself at the Dearborn Amtrak station and decided to get the heck out of dodge (figuratively). This station is open until 12:30am according to the Amtrak website. Its possible thats where he was from.

A bigger question is, she much have lived outside the Detroit metro and even Ann Arbor area and she also took the midnight train. So even if she got on the closest small town station, Jackson, MI, (assuming both stations have a midnight train) she wouldn't have been on the same train as the guy from S. Detroit. The flaws run so deep with this song. You're right. They should have just made them each from Manhattan or something and made it easier.

Keekerdee said...

LOL @ Scheezo!