Supertramp And Pop Tarts

June 26, 2008

Recently, JB over at The Hits Just Keep Comin’ gave a nod to the band Supertramp and their classic album Breakfast In America. I’ve been hoping for a Supertramp revival since the use of Goodbye Stranger in the movie Magnolia.

Oh, my devotion to them isn’t slavish. In truth, it’s rather limited. Their more progressive stuff doesn’t move me and it’s not simply because it’s progressive. I fully admit to having dabbled in progressive rock, but that flirtation was mostly limited to Marillion in the early ’80s. In fact, I’ve had the chance to drink with their former lead singer Fish on a handful of occasions and, I assure you, to walk into a pub in Edinburgh with the man is akin to walking into Cheers with Norm.

I digress. My meager devotion to Supertramp is to about a dozen songs and the Breakfast In America album. When that band worked, they were capable of producing a nearly perfect pop song and almost every track on Breakfast In America works (I seem to recall Oh Darling being the only song which I ever skipped).

Not only is the music worth the price of admission, Breakfast In America has an album cover that always makes me smile – a jovial waitress, menu in hand and orange juice at the ready (her name has to be Bev). God I love a well-thrown breakfast.

Now, here is where the Pop Tart connection comes in (with no help from Kevin Bacon so far as I know). Bev simply looks like someone that would deliver a well-balanced breakfast. Remember the commercials during Saturday morning cartoons in the ’70s for cereals when they would conclude with a shot of the “balanced breakfast” consisting of said cereal, juice, milk, bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, waffles, fruit, and an entire pot roast? Did that ever strike anyone else as a lot of food?

Pop Tarts, in their commercials, were touted as something to accompany a “balanced breakfast.”

Personally, I have long been a fan of Pop Tarts. They’re magically delicious and their simplicity is a stroke of genius. When traveling abroad or even ‘cross town, I always keep Pop Tarts in my backpack for those unexpected twists in the road. Once in Kuala Lumpur, I traded one to a buddy for an aqua Walkman when there was no Burger King or Pizza Hut to be found.

I also admire the way that Kellogg’s has steadfastly unveiled new flavors to a salivating public. Remember the early days of Pop Tarts when they only came with fruit fillings? You could kind of pretend that they were healthy. Well, somewhere along the line they just said to hell with that.

Hot Fudge Sundae Pop Tarts? Yeah, who doesn’t love sundaes?

Fudge chocolate, chocolate-filled, chocolate chip Pop Tarts? Why not?

Frosted Cookies And Creme With Bacon Bits Pop Tarts? We’ve almost reached a pre-fabricated food moment of such goodness as I know that there is now Cake Batter Pop Tarts.

Sometimes I get concerned that I don’t take things seriously enough. You know, stuff like God, evolution, evil neo-cons, evil liberals, paper or plastic, and such. Then I realized that Pop Tarts are something that I truly feel passionate about.

And sometimes Supertramp.

Supertramp – Give A Little Bit
Not even incessant commercials for The Gap (wasn’t it The Gap?), could make me sick of Give A Little Bit. Like so many of their songs, it sounds like a nursery rhyme and it does have a lovely sentiment. Of course, my fairly staunch anti-human stance keeps me from getting carried away by the lovely sentiment and, then, I simply space out and bob my head to the pretty melody and music.

Supertramp – The Logical Song
Effortlessly, Supertramp manages to sound positively giddy (I suppose it is a giddy tinged with melancholy) as they sing of conscription into a lifetime of conformity where banality can be a ticket to success. The song is as delightfully singsong as – and I could be encouraging howls of protest here – anything ABBA ever did (and I say this with great admiration for those songsmithing Swedes). You could couple this song with Marianne Faithfull’s take on John Lennon’s Working Class Hero and give yourself a case of manic depression.

Supertramp – Take The Long Way Home
Sadly, after singing its praises, I realize that I no longer have a copy of Breakfast In America (and I’m jonesing to hear Gone Hollywood (good call JB), Lord Is It Mine and Child Of Vision). And, unfortunately, the only version of Take The Long Way Home I own is the single version with the edited intro.

Supertramp – Breakfast In America
Oh man. I have no idea what this song is about, but it is jaunty little number. Would this be considered a shanty? (did I just type the word shanty?) Apparently, Roger Hodgson feels his girlfriend has less than fulfilled her girlfriend potential, but God help you if he catches you checking her out. However, he seems to be quite fond of kippers (add kippers to the well-balanced breakfast, Bev), so the mind boggles at what hell might rain down on the scoundrel who takes his kippers.

Supertramp – Cannonball
I had to include a fifth song today (Paloma encouraged me – “It’s Supertramp”). And that fifth song had to be Cannonball. It’s a snappy tune with quite a bit of pep, but it also earns my appreciation for…you really need to see it (I assure you that unless you are feeding starving children, negotiating piece in the Middle East, or napping, you will not use 4:51 more constructively today)…

Supertramp – Cannonball

Cannonball is simply the greatest caveman music video I have ever seen.
I find his determination as he runs down the interstate inspiring. Truly. But what the hell am I meant to take from this video? I think it’s that our ancient ancestors gave us art, fire, an inborn protectiveness toward crockery rivaled only by the protectiveness Roger Hodgson has toward his kippers, and a primordial affection for Supertramp that lives on in our DNA.

If so, there might be hope for the humans, yet.