I learned about the band GrooveLily from an episode of Next Big Hit. I wasn’t paying too much attention when the song, “No Room In Your Bag”, started: a patter song over a drum backing. But then some chords on the piano came in, the instrumentation started getting richer (electric violin, yay), and I started realizing that I rather liked the lyrics. (Not to mention the singer’s sliding into falsetto.)

Quite a song; it’s stuck in my head since. I hesitate to link to a myspace page, but it seems to be the best place to listen to the song. (There’s also a live version available on the band’s web site, but the instrumentation is worse, so I won’t link to it here.) About marriage, gender structures, jobs, academia (in part), art, kids: all things that are dear to my heart.

And about making choices, choices with serious consequences, yet not being paralyzed by the consequences of those choices. The title of the song comes from the chorus:

You make a choice, you make a call.
You may rise, you may fall.
You will pay for what you get.
You’ve got no room in your bag for regret.

So: you make choices. They have consequences, potentially serious ones, and won’t always turn out the way you expect. But, if they don’t, wishing you’d chosen differently isn’t going to do squat for you.

I’m not sure why this is rattling around in my head so much right now. I don’t want to give my readers the impression that my life was full of bad choices, choices with unpleasant consequences, because that simply isn’t true: I’m quite happy with the way that basically all of my major life choices have turned out. (And I don’t spend time worrying about the minor ones, either!) But the meme does seem to be showing up in my environment a fair amount; one bit I may post about later, but I’m also thinking of a discussion on the XP mailing list about the prime directive for retrospectives.

Some people like the directive, some people don’t, and I’m not sure myself which side I come down on, but we can all agree that certain aspects are positive. It’s not that you don’t look at the effects of your past choices – if you’re not going to do that, then you’re not holding a retrospective! But that doesn’t mean that you should spend your time beating yourself up over bad consequences. (Or beating other people up, which seems to be more the thrust of the prime directive: don’t waste your energy on blame.) Make a good effort to learn what you can from the past, see if you can come up with a strategy to do better in some way next time, and leave it at that.

Anyways, enough on regret. I got GrooveLily’s album Are We There Yet? on the strength of that song. The album doesn’t live up to its promise, but there are several nice moments. One of my favorites, on the first track: the lyric “I’m feeling paranoid” coming up in a context where you think we’re going to get a Freud rhyme, but no: “Hanging like Harold Lloyd”. They seem to be turning to the stage more these days (or maybe they have a long stage history – I should look into their back catalog); I just finished listening to Striking 12, a charming musical based on “The Little Match Girl”. (I was amused by this Anime Music Video based on the song “Screwed-up People Make Great Art” from the album.)

Good stuff; I plan to listen to more of their music.

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