..”tell me about a moment,
a song and what it meant to you“..
thankyou to these always inspiring music writers
for sharing their meaningful contributions
and for being apart of this special blogger project series
Context: He tells me about his trips around our country, his travelling ambition and all the distance he wants to go through. He wants adventures. He’s a wild bird and I can’t tame him. We’ve been together for one year and a half but seeing him talk and actually paying attention to every detail in the way his eyes glow and the things he says makes me understand that his way of thinking has become dramatically different from the way he used to think and that we’ve slowly become bored with this pointless relationship. We’ve been drinking whiskey and rum all night. He’s cheating on me. He never told me. You just know these kinds of things. We get in his car and he plays an album I gave him for his birthday. The prophetically called “how it ends” by Devotchka.
Result: He’s still talking about something but I’m not listening anymore. I’m looking at him and I’m paying attention to the lead-off track, “you love me”. There’s violence, doubt, lack, regret and end inside the song. It’s sad and it’s beautiful. I’m crying silently while looking at him but he’s too drunk to notice. He takes me to my house and when we get there I hug him as strong as I can until I notice I’ve been hugging him for too long and he’s feeling uncomfortable. I tell him I love him and he answers back “me too” unconvincingly. There’s an awkward silence and I get out of his car. The next day he takes a spontaneous 2 month trip and when he comes back, he never called me or came to my house. It’s been 2 years since that night. I found through a friend that he’s been in a serious relationship with some hippie girl I knew in primary school. Sometimes when the phone rings I realize that I miss him, I miss the way we made love (the only thing we could agree on) and that I’m still waiting for him. I rarely play Devotchka anymore.
Context: Many years ago, riding home alone on the red line in Chicago, just after dawn, strung out from a long evening doing acid and tending to a friend whose own acid trip had gone severely dark.
Result: The song lyrics seemed to encapsulate what I thought I’d seen my friend go through… “digging in the dirt/stay with me I need support”… except that I eventually couldn’t take it and had to leave. “Digging in the dirt/to find the places I got hurt, to open up the places I got hurt”… well, he was on his own at that point; he seemed to find all those places, but I couldn’t stick around to help him close them all up again. Listening to that song on my headphones, trying to shut out the world, I just felt relief.
Context: The summer of 1985. I’m only 7 years old but I already know that my parents are well on their way to separating. I heard this song many times on my father’s boat that summer where my mother was noticeably absent. I can smell the combination of sunscreen, water, and sand. I can feel the warmth of the setting sun and see its red-orange glow. I can’t remember a time when my parents were happy together.
Result: I’ve blocked out a lot of childhood memories. I don’t want my daughter to have to do the same.
Context: Driving down the coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara with a car full of friends, after a perfect weekend up north, rain hitting the windshield and everyone but me asleep.
Result: Wishing someone would play this song to the war mongers in Washington, and wondering why I get to enjoy my life while others are sent to die.
Context: As a freshman in high school in 1995, I decided it would be a grand idea to join the school’s Ski Race team, even with wobbly newborn giraffe knees. On the way home each night, tired from the cold/ the exertion/ the trail mix, we would sit silently on the bus in the dark and relax.
Result: One particular night, a fellow skier playfully congregated with another friend and informed her -inaccurately I still protest- that I had a crush on her. My complaints failing to convince either of them, I sunk into the corner of the seat and drowned in the darkness with this song. It wasn’t until many years later that I understood the irony of this particular selection.
Context: The first track on the first album I ever bought, it cost me £1.99 from Ramsgate (UK) Woolworths on tape. It’s late 1986 and the album is already in the bargain bin. I was 14 years old. Prior to that I’d been listening to copies of albums done for me by friends or taped shows off the radio (top forty, Janice long, John Peel). I was in the throes of the testosterone frenzy and wild hormonal flux that magnifies all emotions to giddy heights and desperate depths. All love is unrequited, and even when it’s not, there is always an imbalance in want and need. So what I wanted was a love song of desperation, of abandonment, of high drama. A self-flagellating, flailing cry, and I fell for it.
Result: It made me feel justified in my anger, my impotence, it made me feel grown-up.
artwork by c86