Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Eric Carmen – "All By Myself" (1975)

I think of all the friends I've known
But when I dial the telephone
Nobody's home

The following quote is from the abstract of an article describing the findings of a large national survey that was recently published in the British Journal of Psychology:

[P]opulation density is negatively, and frequency of socialization with friends is positively, associated with life satisfaction.  More importantly, the main associations of life satisfaction with population density and socialization with friends significantly interact with intelligence, and, in the latter case, the main association is reversed among the extremely intelligent.  More intelligent individuals experience lower life satisfaction with more frequent socialization with friends. 

Let’s translate that into plain English:

1.  Generally speaking, people who live in densely-populated environments – e.g., large cities – are less happy than people who live in suburbs, who are less happy than people who live in rural areas . . . as this graph illustrates:

2.  Generally speaking, the more people socialize with their friends , the happier they are.

3.  The first statement is just as true for extremely intelligent people as it is for less intelligent people – in other words, extremely intelligent people who live in large cities are less happy than extremely intelligent people who live in the suburbs or rural areas.

4.  But the second statement is not true for extremely intelligent people – in other words, the more that extremely intelligent people socialize with their friends, the less happy they are.

Let’s cut to the chase here.  If you love hanging out with your friends all the time, you’e just not that smart.

* * * * *

Eric Carmen was the lead singer of the Raspberries, a fabulous power-pop group from Cleveland whose biggest hit, “Go All The Way,” was a major tour de force.  (“Go All The Way” was released on the group’s eponymous debut album, which had a little scratch-and-sniff sticker that smelled like . . . do I really need to tell you?)

After the Raspberries broke up, Carmen embarked on a solo career.  His eponymous debut solo album included two singles with melodies that were inspired by Rachmaninoff compositions.  The melody for “All By Myself” is based on the theme of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2 in C minor.  (You can click here if you'd like to listen to Yuja Wang's performance of that movement.)

Carmen’s solo music was a little girly for my taste.  But I bought his first album as a gift for a beautiful young woman I was seeing at the time.  (Smartest five bucks I ever spent – the gift was a big hit.)

Here’s “All By Myself”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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