“Masterpieces Serving Maximum Sentences…”

In the days of yore (aka, grad school), a friend and I made a list of museum references and representations in popular culture. The movie list was pretty large (and frustratingly stereotypical – we all don’t wear tweed, you know): Indiana Jones, Night at the Museum, Bringing Up Baby, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The DaVinci Code, but songs were scarce. At the time, I could only think of one.

But now we have Regina Spektor’s “All The Rowboats.”

It’s a beautiful song, but a sad one. Lyrics such as,

But the most special are the most lonely
God, I pity the violins
In glass coffins they keep coughing
They’ve forgotten, forgotten how to sing

All the galleries, the museums
Here’s your ticket, welcome to the tombs
They’re just public mausoleums
The living dead fill every room

make me more melancholy about museums than usual. But I’ll take a gorgeous, thoughtful and mournful song about museums any day over the trite and tired representations of museums I’m used to seeing.

Of course, a close second for fantastic museum songs would have to be Eric Idle’s “The Getty.”

They’ve got pictures fresh from France
Of girls without their pants
In The Getty (In The Getty)

There’s a Greek boy there whose ass
Is made of solid brass
In The Getty (In The Getty)

And the air conditioning
Has shrunk his little thing
In The Getty (In The Getty)

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