News from the front

Miranda leans over me and digs through the mess of cassettes in her glovebox. She smiles.
"I was going to get an iPod until I found out the Queen has one. Now tapes don't look so bad any more."
"My sister has three. She found out how to get music on them, but can't figure out how to get them off, so she just fills them up and buys a new one."
Miranda regards two tapes with intense concentration, flicking her eyes back and forth.
"What are you in the mood for?" she says.
"I don't know."
Eventually she grunts with a resigned satisfaction and crams one into the deck and cranks up the volume Battling a tremendous hiss, the sound of a single acoustic guitar fills the car. It plods through a minor arpeggio in  time, before collapsing into a flattened and diminished progression. A mumbling voice sets a sad melody to lyrics about love and loss. His scratchy delivery is almost perfectly offset by the sound of a theremin attempting to tug the whole song into a weirdo space movie.
I've never heard anything quite like this. Where"s the chorus? Where are the beats? Where"s the kind of sunniness I always hear in Texas's CDs?
But then suddenly things change. The song shifts to major and a string quartet fills out the sound with lush satisfying flourishes.
"Is this still the same song?" I shout.
"Yeah," she says in a well duh tone and turns it down a little. "Haven't you heard much Martin Orville Elliott?"
"I haven't any. What's this song called?"
"Morbid Fascination."
"Is it old?"
"Yeah. It sounds like it's from the nineteen forties or something."
"No, this is his new record. Came out last year."
Miranda coaxes the car's engine into starting and Morbid Fascination fades out. I wonder why anyone would make a record that sounds fifty years old? The next song is a piano and guitar stomp, still sounds kind of old world, but very catchy. That same mumbling vocalist now sings about birds and guns (can you sing about birds and guns?) but it doesn't seem to matter.
"You obviously like this one," laughs Miranda.
"What do you mean?"
"You're bobbing your head like one of those dashboard dolls!"