Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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It’s All About Me / Geek Out: The Single Greatest Moment of Intensities in Ten Suburbs’ Existence

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 5, 2007

Oh I had a dream, for a moment I believed it was true

Being an unpaid internet pop culture writer is often a thankless, tiring job, replete with perpetually impending deadlines, pressures over finding more and more synonyms for the words “jarring” and “shiny” (without using a thesaurus, because that would be CHEATING), and the constantly nagging feeling that no one’s reading anything you write besides your parents and one or two of your internet enemies, praying for some grammatical error to further evidence your incompetence. It’s enough sometimes to make you want to go outside and take a walk or something.

But then, there are occasional moments of such unbelievable beauty, such intense and fulfilling validation, that any other career path would be totally unthinkable. One of these moments was when I received an e-mail from bizarro early 90s one-hit wonders 2NU thanking me for making a thread on the I Love Music webboard about their semi-hit “This is Ponderous“. Another was when an IITS article of mine on sci-fi cult series Firefly got posted on a Joss Whedon board, inspiring a swarm of pissed-off Browncoats to note my misspelling of the show’s invented swear words. And the very best was certainly when my Stylus article on the top ten worst lyrics on Interpol’s first album was briefly mentioned on the blog of well-respected/despised SPIN writer and internet personality Sarah “UltraGrrrl” Lewitinn’s blog.

Until now. My Stylus article on the wonder of Icehouse’s 1988 pop classic “Electric Blue” had in the past attracted some extremely minor controversy (as in I think one person liked it and maybe two or three thought I was insane), but today I got an e-mail that seriously puts that in perspective. It reads as follows:

Andrew, just read the Stylus article on ” Electric Blue” Really appreciated the slant and your perceptive understanding of the power of the “hook”. There is a story behind the writing of the song and I won’t go into it here, but suffice it to say that I did write the chorus of which you so pleasantly rapsodise about…for that I thank you.

As songwriting is the most important aspect of all the things I’ve accomplished in my career, one can never have too many compliments ! Electric Blue is one of those songs that when I do my solo shows and perform it, everyone alwasy says, “Wow, I know that…I never realized you wrote it”… now considering your article I may just edit myself in the future and just play the “hook”. Mucho thanx.

John Oates

Yes, that John Oates–the relatively silent partner in possibly the greatest duo in the history of pop music, who also happened to co-write “Electric Blue”. I didn’t make the connection myself until I got to the signature, and even then I had to re-read the e-mail a couple of times before it really clicked in my mind, and then I just stared blankly at the computer with my jaw open for about ten minutes. This is the pop culture internet writing equivalent of Jonathan Brandis’s character getting to fight the final tournament of Sidekicks with Chuck Norris on his team, or Peter Griffin realizing that his wife had fucked all four members of KISS. When I woke up this morning, I expected the highlight of my day would be catching up on season four of Entourage. Instead, my life just got made.

Now all right, I do have to take a moment to acknowledge that I do in fact realize that the chances of this letter actually coming from John Oates himself are…well, they could really be a lot higher. But I can’t help but wonder–who would take the time to fake such a response from John Oates, to an article I wrote over a year ago? Does Intensities in Ten Suburbs really have internet enemies out there who would resort to such unthinkable villainy? And while I imagine most people of Oates’ stature don’t spend the time scouring the web for articles mentioning them, if you were John Oates, wouldn’t you appreciate an article that took the time to isolate an achievement of yours that had absolutely nothing to do with that other guy? Maybe enough to write the author about it? Maybe?

Maybe not. But if it was in fact someone besides John Oates who wrote me this e-mail, and you are reading this blog post and cackling uncontrollably over how thoroughly you put one over on me, I just have one favor to ask you: Don’t tell me about it. Ever. Laugh at me as much as you want, tell all your friends and family about your prank, fine, but let me live on never knowing completely for sure that it wasn’t blue-eyed soul’s greatest second-in-command who contacted me this afternoon. Please?

6 Responses to “It’s All About Me / Geek Out: The Single Greatest Moment of Intensities in Ten Suburbs’ Existence”

  1. David said


  2. Iva Davies said

    Andrew, I also just read the Stylus article on ” Electric Blue”. John Oates is a liar. If we went his way the song would have been “Electric Shoe”.

    Just setting the record straight. Muchas Gracias

    Iva Davies

  3. Dude, I bet that email is real. And that’s so fucking amazing. I am getting excited about it, and I didn’t even fucking write the article! (or hear the song until you pointed it out, although woah what a hook)

  4. Daryl Hall said

    Andrew, I just jerked off to some hentai manga and noticed you were writing about that faggot oates

    i wrote electric blue and i am still a pop genius hahahahha

    up yoars

  5. Joe said

    I’ve been trying to identify that “Ponderous” song for years. Mystery solved! I cannot thank you enough.

  6. […] The rest of the cast. There’s really not much going on there yet–Julie Benz as Dex’s confused girlfriend Rita, David Zayas as his good-timey Latino co-worker Angel, even Erik King as Sgt. Doakes, the one cop who can almost see through his mechinations, they all fail to make anything beyond superficial impressions. With a few seasons under their belt I could see them growing on me, but for the moment, this is the Hall and Remar show through and through. Maybe IITS’s newest compadre wants to make his acting debut as Dexter’s new partner–the hilarity and pop culture cache would be unimaginable. […]

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