Monday, February 16, 2009

Week 37: "Oppenheimer" by The Old 97s

As I write this entry, number 37 in my 52 Songs in 52 Weeks essay project, I am running about a week behind schedule. I was scheduled to post this entry on February 8. Instead I am posting it on February 16.

Perhaps this delay is convenient. The song “Oppenheimer” by the Old 97s is up-beat and chirpy and puts you in a good mood when you sing along to it in the car. There is a Valentine-y sweetness to the song.

I was first introduced to the Old 97s in 2001 when I lived in Dallas, Texas. My main social outlet was the Ultimate Frisbee community. During a social event that was a precursor to Dallas’ Winter League, I found myself talking about music with some other Ultimate players. When I mentioned that I had never heard of the Old 97s it was a scandal. Next thing you know “Oppenheimer” was blaring on the jukebox and I was having my first exposure to the genre known as “alternative country.”

In the song, Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller sings about falling in love with a woman who lives on the same road as he does, a road called “Oppenheimer.” There is not a whole lot more to the song than that. What I can tell you is that there is a certain amount of verbal joy that comes from singing the word “Oppenheimer.” Try it at home. The word is just plain fun to say!

You can listen to a live performance of this fast, fun, and bright song here.