Supertramp for Thanksgiving

By Renee Marchol

Sometimes an apple cider cake donut with orange and brown sprinkles just calls to you. You can’t justify its consumption by its nutritional value. It’s sweet. It’s fluffy. It’s deep fried. Much like the excessive clarinet solos, raunchy saxophone and Wurlitzer electric piano art rock of Supertramp’s Breakfast in America album, its consumption is for fun.

Let “The Logical Song”, “Take the Long Way Home” and the title track entertain your holiday guests this upcoming turkey day.

This means setting aside the anxiety that the one-night stand lyrics in “Goodbye Stranger” aren’t vague enough to be ignored by your five-year-old nephew. For my mom and aunt, my junior high cousin and I lip-synced to “Physical” by Olivia Newton John. Keep in mind my aunt sent my cousin to an all-girls, private parochial school and my mother kept me in kitten sweatshirts at age 11. These immigrant parents burst out laughing when they heard: “There’s nothing left to talk about unless it’s horizontally”. This was my experience as an American child of immigrants.

We Americans can laugh at ourselves because we know our girlfriends are the hottest in the world (i.e. California women). That’s probably why we awarded these British musicians with Grammys, in 1980, for this album that lampooned us. True, “Child of Vision,” Coca Cola may be closer to poison than Taco Bell beef is to meat. Oil rich Texans don’t eat kippers. So?

Host a sing-along to Supertramp’s Breakfast in America album with your assembly of misfits that make up everyone’s family. In no time, if PBS’s It’s Ok to Be Smart “Why Music Moves Us” is correct, then this upbeat music will inspire even the stodgiest to dance.

Remember the apple cider donut? Supertramp is the cheesecake filling to your audio donut.

Here are 5 Ways to Serve Supertramp:

  1. Redirect.  Your uncle, your dad’s older brother is mad at your dad. Uncle wasn’t invited to The Troubadour to watch Kevin Devine perform “Brother’s Blood” though he was the one to show your dad who Kevin Devine was through a Facebook post. You fear the brothers will take turn carving the the turkey if distracted by resentment. Save that bird with Supertramp’s soothing falsetto.
  2. Limit choices. Insist that the poltergeist in the house only allows Adam Sandler’s “Thanksgiving Song” on repeat or Supertramp’s album via streaming subscription, online radio or device.
  3. Listen politely. Lean forward with great respect as grandpa’s new partner talks about his Lasik surgery like a religious experience. In turn, it’s likely he will return the same courtesy when Supertramp makes animal sounds.
  4. Contrast. The next morning no-one will be fooled by reinventions of french toast with sweet potato or shredded turkey brunch casserole. Serve up fresh kippers with sour cream, golden beets and scrambled eggs as an option with American coffee. Why? Because Coca cola and Taco Bell is for college not home holidays.
  5. Duct tape. “Take a look at my girlfriend” is not the cue for SOs to gesture to their lovers in this case. If it happens and someone gets offended, hand over a roll of duct tape for them to sort it out in private. 


Spice with Salt-N-Pepa, simmer in psychedelic rock, and sweat in big band. That’s one recipe for Renee’s eclectic playlist. Where is she? Likely hovering over a freshly-made Raspberry Pi of electronic ecstasy or keeping honey lozenge-makers in business at kpop karaoke. Follow:  @rmarchol, Blog.

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