SONIC MUSICAL MEMORIES 🎧
@nathanveshecco requested a list called "What I Love About Music" ages ago but the thing I love most is the memories it invokes. Play a certain song/album and I am immediately transported to a time in my life. So Nathan, I give you this list instead. I'd love to read other folks musical memories! Tag me if you make a similar list.
- •The Sundays - Reading, Writing, and ArithmaticSenior Year High School, Spring Break. Road tripping up to Chicago with my friends Karen Levine, Michelle Schneider and some guy named Ryan (who's last name escapes me). We played this CD all the way up and back. I asked Michelle to the Sr. Prom on the trip after playing a rousing game of Taboo (where she kept on hinting she wanted me to ask her with clues about prom dresses). I bought a lot of flannel shirts at thrift stores as well (it was the early 90s).
- •The Smith - Strangeways, Here I ComeThe summer between freshman and sophomore year of college had me taking psychology and astronomy sciences at a local community college to try and get my science credits out of the way. I had decided to go for double degree in four years time. Both classes were weirdly easy and I had somehow rediscovered The Smiths and listened to this album on my sisters pink cassette player filled with D-sized batteries as my car, a Delta 88 gas guzzler didn't have a cassette player.
- •Cyndi Lauper - She's So UnusualOne of the very first cassettes I ever bought. I was 10 years old. I listened to this album while reading The Westing Game and The Mysteries of Leon (I Mean Noel) both by Ellen Raskins in my parent's 70s style brown and blue velour covered sofa. I'm still a fan of both the author and of Ms. Lauper. I hear she had a country album coming out soon. I can't wait.
- •Lush - Mad Love e.p.Lying bruised and hurt on the lawn at Lollapalooza. I had gone with my friend Natika Soward and Jen Schepp and kids were grabbing blankets and holding them in the air, tossing kids up and down in them. Foolishly I jumped in one and some airhead bimbo let go as I fell to the ground. I wasn't even high or drunk, just stupid. I had actually bought tickets to the show to see Lush and ran into Miki after her set. I told her she was awesome. She laughed and said Americans always used the word awesome.
- •The B-52s - Cosmic ThingStanding on the lawn outside a cabin at Christian summer camp where a girl was playing it and flirting with me. I was in Switzerland and the air smelled of light rain and tiny white flowers. My cabin mates later made fun of me for flirting with her. I was more interested in the songs than her. Something about Kate and Cindy's voices intermingling in harmony made my heart ache when they sang about being in the deadbeat club.
- •The Cure - DisintegrationThe shattering of glass intro reminds me of junior year of college when my friend Mike broke up with his boyfriend. He played this album over and over again. It was a bad scene. Poor guy. It's still an amazing album though.
- •Willie Nelson - On the Road AgainEvery roadtrip I take with AJ. Other than the song above, this is the one song we play to get us in the mood for a roadtrip. The jangly guitar and the lines "seeing things I've never seen before and may never see again..." Speaks to us. Gray asphalt road, painted cracked yellow lines, endless skies with fluffy clouds and distance green landscape await.
- •Liz Phair - Girlysound demosI somehow tracked down a bootleg copy of these demos (pre-Napster) over the Internet and listened to it constantly, wearing out the cassette. I made my friends Stephanie Recht & Peter Nguyen listen to it as road tripped from St. Louis to Nashville to visit Graceland during our Junior spring break in college. We stayed at a motel with a 24-hour Elvis channel across the street from Elvis' home. It had a guitar shaped pool and went to a gay bar called "Amnesia".
- •Lisa Germano - HappinessPainting in my studio, Senior year of college. I did a thesis project on childhood trauma painting tiny little illustrations of stuffed animals. It was very Mike Kelly derivative. But I listened to this album on repeat while making the 2 x 3 inch paintings. If you know this album you know it's insanely intense. I slowly went crazy that year.
- •Tori Amos - Little EarthquakesJunior year of college I became the insufferable sensitive poet that everyone hated. Basically I was college Ted from How I Met Your Mother, but in the early 90s. Nobody understood me except for Tori. Now when I listen to her I feel comfort and pain from that era.
- •Alanis Morissette - UninvitedRoadtripping with my partner in 2013 across the US I had made a giant playlist and set it to shuffle. Somehow this song always came on. No matter where we were. We even started to make genius playlists from our iPhones. No matter what song or genre we picked (dance, pop, alt rock, indie, electronic) this song would appear. Now we hear it and it reminds us of being on the road. We joke it's "our song" and we plan on playing it at our wedding. Probably as the last song though...
- •Kate Bush - anything pre-Sensual WorldHolland circa 1989. The air felt fresh and old, full of history and layers of ancient dust. I was just discovering myself and I discovered Kate as well. She twirled around in her gauzy dress and sang in that high pitched voice. I had never heard anything like her and I had never been outside the US before. I remember listening to hear in my giant clunky Walkman, discovering the Netherlands and all it's quirky cobblestones streets and canals. I was young and lost and alive.
- •Cher - BelieveCrowded in an impossibly small gay bar in Tokyo, one of only two or three gay bars that welcomed foreigners. I felt strangely lost and comfortably at home. I flirted with a local only to find out he was a Cantonese British ex-pat with no interest in me. Then an actual Japanese local hit on me with his broken English. He was super cute and made me promise to call him on his cell the next day. If I didn't, I would have swallow 1000 needles he said. I lost his number and never called.
- •Belly - Feed the TreesAt a Belly concert an older drunk woman flirted with me as I danced in the back of the venue. She didn't get the clues I was gay and instead told me how she loved drummers because they understood rhythm and were awesome in bed. I just nodded and my friend Karen Roessler rescued me.
- •Bizarre Inc. ft Angie Brown - I'm Gonna Get YouAs Angie Brown wails against the house beats I dance by myself in the black painted plywood gay dance club simultaneously happy and sad. I had just come out of the closet and hadn't a clue how to pick up men (TBH - still not sure how to do that, I'm still baffled as to how I landed AJ). I was too scared to leave the dance floor to mingle so I just lost myself to the music and never ending beat.
- •Stacey Q - Two of HeartsIn my childhood bedroom, with the walls painted a pastel baby blue and my bookshelves lined with old Babysitters Club books that I couldn't bring myself to throw away even though I hadn't read them in ages. Making mix tapes for my friends, excruciatingly detailed mix tapes where I tried to figure out exactly how to get each side completely filled with music with no dead space. Yeah those mix tapes. Stacey Q played an integral part on those tapes.
- •Sinéad O'Connor - MandikaDreary and rainy, just as the sun was setting. My friend Floorje was handing me a metal bracelet she had made (or bought?) for me and was saying goodbye. We bonded over our love of Sinead. I was 16 and moving back home to St. Louis, after a glorious year of living in Holland. I moved there kicking and screaming but fell in love with the country and didn't want to leave. I stood outside my tiny apartment door and hugged her tight. She walked away slowly in the rain and I haven't seen her since.