I'm not sure if you've ever noticed, dear reader, but certainly I have. Something truly bizarre and oddly wonderful happens when white girls hear this Journey mega-hit power ballad. Next time you're in a public drinking establishment populated by white girls and a jukebox, I encourage you to run your own little experiment. Because for less than $1, you can observe white girls as they react to the unofficial white girl anthem-"Don't Stop Believin."
For white girls, the phenomenon begins within vaguely hearing the first few bars of the keyboard intro. While the song begins, there's a brief moment--no longer than a few a nano-seconds--where everything goes completely silent (except for the song of course). As Steve Perry sings the opening lyrics "Just a small town girl," the level of excitement and energy in the room will grow to near palpable levels. Gleeful smiles will appear on white girls' faces. Beer bottles become microphones. And they'll give their nearby friends an ecstatic look that basically says "OMG, girlfriend! They're playing MY/OUR song!!"
And if by some strange reason, 99% of the white girls in the bar haven't joined in unison, loudly singing along by the time Mr. Perry gets to the line "living in a lonely world," those girls are likely foreign. And by foreign, I mean they probably grew up in some iron-curtain communist nation which admonished and banned anything resembling American pop culture influence and by some sheer miracle they recently escaped the tyranny, are currently living as a refugee in our fine nation and this is their first night out ever in an American bar.
I can also state, with absolute certainty, if you ever frequent karaoke nights you will inevitably hear a white girl perform "Don't Stop Believin." And it may not be terribly good or bad, but I promise she will sing the ever-loving hell out of it. (On a side-note, I believe karaoke is definitely the worst part of Asian culture Americans have adopted. I loathe this form of entertainment. And I would love to travel back in time and encourage America to adopt high-speed rail instead of karaoke, as I am sure at some point in time the leaders of our nation had to choose implementing one or the other to the masses. And they chose poorly).
A few months ago at the wedding of a close friend's older sister, I witnessed the undeniable and uncommon grip this song has on white girls firsthand. I was in mid-conversation with a white girl, a longtime friend of my older brother, when that familiar keyboard intro filled the room. Mr. Perry hadn't even sung the entire first verse of "just a small town girl" before she disappeared in a blur to join a group of her white girlfriends dancing and shouting the lyrics to the ceiling. I cite this example not to illicit pity or to demonstrate my uncanny ability to be uninteresting to white girls, but to show off the sheer force of Journey's mega-hit on Caucasian females. Because even in the midst of catching up with someone they haven't seen in well over a decade, a white girl is physically unable to pass up the opportunity to revel in "Don't Stop Believin." There are religions all over the world based upon worshiping a central figure with far, far less power.
At the risk of straying away from my face-value, hardly-scientific research and probing deeper, I will pose a hypothesis as to why white girls and "Don't Stop Believin" have such an impenetrable bond: White girls simply love the idea of romance. And is there anything more romantic than leaving behind a small town life for the dreams, hope and promise of something new, something different? On a midnight train going anywhere, no less? I think that's the appeal; the romantic dream of the hustle and bustle of big city life and the off-chance of finding true love amongst all the strangers up and down the boulevard. Streetlights. People.
Or maybe it's just fun as hell to be drunk with your girlfriends screaming "smell of wine and cheap and perfume" at the top of your lungs into a beer-bottle, pretend microphone.
Maybe I'm right on both occasions.
Or perhaps I'll never really know. Because I think Journey sucks.
This one goes out to all the white girls out there: