old new guestbook dland GLINT



i like vivaldi too 3.5.04

Youth may be wasted on the young. Sex, drugs, and rock n’roll, however, are appropriately doled out to this demographic.

That being said, I leave you with no misconceptions as to the manner in which I passed my salad years. Nor, do I leave much of a grey area concerning the here and now. In fact, you may well be able to predict how I will be spending the next several years. But we’re talking about the past, not the future.

They tell me that smell is the strongest trigger of memory. Perhaps. Maybe that's true for nice, baby-powdery memories. Yet given the snapshot of my latter youth that I just shared, I should hope this is not universally true. While drugs and sex don’t (shouldn’t!) smell badly, I won’t be writing a drug and sex scratch n’sniff memoir anytime soon. No. Thankfully smell is not what does it for me and my magic teen memories. In reflecting on years past, it is accurate to say that I’ve had sex that’s easy to forget, taken drugs that make things hard to remember, yet through it all, listened to music that can years later bring an entire year or a single moment rushing back with disarming (or is that disturbing?) force and clarity. Yes, this is not uncommon among people who love their music. It is total "High Fidelity" fodder.

Anyway, forget loving your music. You should definitely know your music, because music knows everything about you. Sometimes on road trips in the Midwest, I’ve flipped along a radio dial and heard a familiar riff or lyric and thought, “Gee, I haven’t heard John Waite in quite a while. Alright, I’ll give it a listen.” Five miles down the road, I’m wiping my eyes with the back of my hand thinking, “That was inevitable. Spend enough time out here, and sooner or later I’d develop a corn allergy. Silly tears!” (Who am I kidding? That 7th grade subtext to “I ‘Aint Missing You At All” gets me every time.)

Happily, my musical tastes matured faster then my emotions and common sense. That means that while John Waite morphed into Tom Waits, I was still young and stupid enough to tear into every song I loved and suck out what I like to call its “umph power.” I’ve talked to my mom about this. Caught on the oldies station on the way to work now, a listen to “I Want To Hold Your Hand” might do very little for you. But spun endlessly on your turntable in your room every single day after school while you stare at yourself in the mirror like you’re about to get kissed or lie on your bed wondering with adolescent fervor when something, anything, was going to happen—that’s when that song did it for her. The “umph power” it generated then was so strong, that even now, enough residual spark is left in John’s cute little cockney twang to stir something faintly within her when she catches it on the air—a little quick beat of ‘umph,’ a flicker of that zing you feel in the pit of your stomach or sometimes somewhere deep inside your ribcage when you are truly struck by a feeling.

According to a recent article in the NYT, punk—the music, the fashion, the curled lip of self-righteous scorn—is staging a come-back. One might wonder, when did it ever leave? Perhaps it became a little reclusive in the 1980’s, unsure how to question authority in a world where suddenly all authority was questionable outright. In a “wahdya got” kind of rebelliousness, punk perhaps dulled slightly, and left more of a razor burn, than a scar on our glossy societal facade. But it was certainly in evidence in the 1990’s—bands still unabashedly ripped off their idols and a mainstream, watered-down punk became commonplace stuff. And today? Stooges songs sell SUV’s, The Ramones hawk cell phones, Green Day covers The Clash. In a strange way, it’s comforting. It means the basics have remained intact. Punk may remanifest every decade in some new iteration of itself but the song remains the same.

Hopefully, you were lucky enough to hear music like that when it innately, instinctively, made immediate sense. I'm sorry, but this must have occured before a certain age, before most of your passionate naivety burned off. And, certain songs may have sunk in particularly deep, injecting them today with some serious “umph”. This is what I think: In the running for best all-around rock n’roll song ever is “Teenage Kicks” by The Undertones. It has it all—the urgent punk whine that gives me goosebumps, lyrics lush with longing, and the “umph factor” for me on this one? Off the charts. Which is why I will be seeing The Undertones this Saturday night.

You should too.

reflect - reinvent ....rayclaire@gmail.com... what i used to think... what i hear... what i see... where i'd like to be...

the black apple... the girl who... sarah brown... thunderpie... evany... jenny b harris... posie... claude le monde... artsy... fartsy... jeff... random person in texas... another rachel... smitten kitchen... more of me... still more of me... even more of me...and yet still more of me...more of me but not for free...

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