So they’re playing your song, eh? What if, if fact, they, are playing your LIFE? NEXT on Channel 7 News!
But for realsies, there have always been, as long as I can remember, not only songs, but entire albums and even entire artist repertoires that I’ve associated with the ghosts of relationships past. Some of them have, unfortunately, been totally ruined for me, others them lend themselves to a good old fashioned sit-down-and-reflect on lessons learned. Mostly, though, they serve as a particularly ridiculous time capsule, causing hilarity to ensue upon the muddy banks of the ol’ Anna G noggin.
Anything by The Misfits or Danzig
I think I spent the majority of my teen years fantasizing that I was a modern day rebel with/out a cause (I was angry/angsty, but wasn’t exactly sure why), living on the edge while driving around suburban Southern California with my various boyfriends who fancied themselves as “punk”. During these sojourns to, I dunno, 7-11, or some guy’s house who’s parents had a laissez faire approach to parenting and therefore allowed us to, on an almost a nightly basis, take over their pool house with drugs and alcohol (So EDGY!), probably about 98% of the time, the default music on the car stereo would be the Misfits, Samhain, or Danzig. It was almost like our elevator music. So many of my primary experiences with sex and “relationship talk” were tied to songs like “Last Caress” and “Where Eagles Dare”– the sad part being that not all of the people in my friend group had a firm grasp on the irony/hyperbole, though I guess that’s a whole other post altogether– that no matter how many times I hear those crazy tunez, as ridiculous as it was/is, I can’t help but feel a little twinge of the wonderment/nervousness/excitement/sense of limitless possibilities in trying out things new to me, having a real boyfriend for the first time, and the sense of total carefree-ness when your life’s biggest worry is what kind of slurpee to get and not even care about how many empty calories it is.
Flogging Molly, Drunken Lullabies
I guess this was sort of a graduation from the Danzig days, as for most of the time I listened to this album, I was in college and in one of my first long term monogamous relationships that didn’t seem like a ridiculous and impulsive mistake. I was still angsty, but this time, I had a better idea as to why that was. Demon alcohol, as we all know, factors largely in the average college student’s daily life, though sadly, way more for some than others. It can already be pretty rough to be on your own for the first time, left to your own devices and the consequences thereof. So basically, the entirety of this album kinda reminds me of realizing that I was, for the first time, not making directly reactionary decisions based on what my parents imposed on me. However, my boyfriend at the time seemed to be going through a crisis of a totally different kind– the harsh reality of not even having the luxury to fall back on one’s parents or going on and on and on about theories and ideas that were so far removed from practical day-to-day survival that it was almost offensive. Though there was a genuine bond between the two of us, our radically different preoccupations, concerns, and subsequent coping mechanisms are what really drove us apart. This was the first time I realized that mutual love between people, no matter how intense or genuine, does not or should not necessarily dictate the relationship between two people. I’ll drink to that.
Interpol, Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics
Though I guess Antics was more of a current album of my very early post-collegiate years, I was still totally listening to Turn On The Bright Lights a lot and pondering the possibilities of studying abroad and moving to New York. Probably because I knew this would be a “very important time” in my life, the romantic associations I had seemed to always take on a sheen of having some essential and existential meaning. I did get into a pretty serious relationship that lasted for a while, and with him, I went through some of the most major transitions of my life– including but not limited to moving from Southern California to the entirely different planet of New York City. It all boiled down to this: I was afraid I wasn’t gonna make it after all in the “big city”, and ended up clinging a bit to this guy because I was sure he must have known the secret answer all along. For better or worse, Paul Bank’s sometimes histrionic shaky low voice (along with the also about-to-burst-into-tears-y voice of Conor Oberst, come to think of it) will forever serve as the definitive story arc for all the now-overblown seeming tragedies of dating someone who I thought was way more of an adult than me at the time. The funny thing is, I think that he was just either way better of a bullshitter than me, or just very convinced that he was nearly infallible.
Joanna Newsom, Ys
Where does one go after you admit to yourself that you’re not half the wo/man you think you should be? Head-on into unexpected sexual exploration of course! Ok, maybe it wasn’t that cut and dry. Maybe it was also about trying different things on for size– which honestly, isn’t such a bad thing, even if it might have been spurned a little by insecurity or just the shock that things didn’t exactly pan out the way you thought they would or should. Anywho, being the star of your own hedonistic sexual show with reckless abandon could really have no other soundtrack for me but the other-worldly elf voice of Joanna Newsom. Ys is and always will be as close as I can get to frolicking about naked in a forest with others– and I know this will sound kind of gross and creepy– but in an almost child-like way. As is the case with pretty much everything ever, other people can have radically different experiences and interpretations of the same event/series of events. So, yeah shit kinda hit the fan eventually, but goddamn if I didn’t have fun! Somehow, I feel like Tim Riggins could totally be a Joanna fan.