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Finding ‘happy’ way to celebrate 32

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From page B1 | January 03, 2014 | Leave Comment

Today, I turn 32.

I’m not really sure how to celebrate in pop culture fashion because as a number and an age, 32 is dull.

It’s an inconsequential age. It doesn’t have its number in the rafters with the famous birthdays, such as 18, 21 or 40.

It’s one more than the amount of flavors at Baskin-Robbins, but one less than the number of revolutions for an LP.

According to Wikipedia – and why wouldn’t you trust an online encyclopedia that any nerd with an Internet connection can edit? – 32 is the ninth happy number, which, I hope, is as cheery as it sounds.

It’s also the atomic number of germanium, a metal that looks like it crashed from outer space. When you think about it, outer space is what a birthday celebrates. It’s the number of laps a person has made around the sun on this planet.

While 32 may be a dog as a number, having Jan. 3 as a birthday puts me in cool company, including Roman politician Cicero, hockey great Bobby Hull, Super Bowl XLII heroes David Tyree and Eli Manning, indie folk musician Kurt Vile, Stephen Stills, Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, “Community” creator Dan Harmon, Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and “Lord of the Rings” creator J.R.R. Tolkien.

Also celebrating today is Mel Gibson, whose coolness is debatable.

It’s kind of a funky day to be born. It’s close enough to the holiday season that people would send cards or gifts for both.

As for songs about birthdays, the long-standing sing-along “Happy Birthday to You” immediately comes to mind, as does Marilyn Monroe’s breathy rendition for “Mr. President,” John F. Kennedy.

Another classic with 1960s ties is The Beatles’ “Birthday,” known for its nonsense lyrics and rollicking blues lick. It’s a song John Lennon later called “a piece of garbage,” as he did with a number of the Fab Four’s songs after their demise.

Perhaps my favorite is a newer song about birthdays, Phish’s “Backwards Down the Number Line.” It comes with a neat back story, too. It marked the reuniting of Phish singer and guitarist Trey Anastasio with his longtime songwriting collaborator, Tom Marshall. The two were estranged, but Marshall reached out via email to carry on a long tradition between the pair of coming up with a song for their birthdays.

The song even talks about itself and the duo’s ritual: “You decide what it contains / How long it goes, but this remains / The only rule is it begins / ‘Happy, happy, oh, my friend.’ ”

Emblematic of Anastasio and Marshall’s reunion, it’s also the best original song Phish has issued since it got back together in 2009.

Other birthday-related cuts include Jeremih’s milquetoast hit “Birthday Sex,” Andrew Bird’s “The Happy Birthday Song,” Bright Eyes’ gloomy “Happy Birthday to Me (Feb. 15)” and too many more to fit here.

None of those feel like 32, though.

Songs with No. 32 in the title include “32 Footsteps” by They Might Be Giants, “The Chamber of 32 Doors” by Genesis and “32 Flavors” by Ani DiFranco, all of which are fine, but also don’t clear the bar for birthday relevance.

So let’s embrace this thing: happy numbers that sound pleasant. And, again, it has to be a real thing because it’s not like people can or would just make things up on the Internet.

In the spirit of sharing a birthday with Bangalter, one of the helmeted wunderkinds of Daft Punk, I nominate “One More Time” and its autotuned vocals as a way to celebrate a 32nd birthday: “One more time, we’re gonna celebrate / Oh, yeah, all right, don’t stop the dancing.”

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
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