I get a lot of email from recording artists, their representatives, and record companies wanting me to play certain songs, or tipping me to when an artist is going to be on TV and so forth. Some of it is useful, a lot of it is crap, not unlike most of the email I receive from virtually everyone. (Not you. All of your emails are great.)
I got an email today, though, that kind of rocked my world. It was from a guy who works for Hollywood Records Chicago office. He sent me an email with a subject line that read, “For those who can’t hear a hit.” I assumed it was going to be a pitch for some song or other, and on some level, I guess it was. The song in question, though, is already an undeniable hit.
He sent me a link to a video, which I now share with you on my webpage. If it falls off my page for some reason, click here for a direct link. It’s Miley Cyrus’ “Party In The USA” done in American Sign Language.
This song is, without question, one of my favorite songs of 2009. It’s exactly what I like in music: A bit of a story, extremely catchy tune, enthusiastically done, uplifting; in short, a killer pop song. Now, having personally taken much enjoyment from this song, it conked my worldview a little to think that there are some people who have been unable to hear this song, and take the same pleasure from it that I have.
No, I’m not so dumb that I was heretofore unaware that deaf people exist. It’s just that I haven’t often had occasion to contemplate what they’re missing on a personal level. Now I have, and I’m a (perhaps slightly) better person for it.
I watched this video, and the guy doing the signing is just terrific! He embodies the enthusiasm contained in this song about as well as I think one can without making a sound. One thing I would recommend, if you decide to watch it, is to turn the captioning on if it doesn’t happen automatically for you. (If you mouse over the up-arrow in the lower right corner of the video, the middle option is “captioning on/off.”) Then you’ll get a fascinating look at the shorthand that is sign language.
The ability to hear, and in particular hear music, is really a blessing that most people take for granted. I hope to take it slightly less for granted in the future.