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Tuesday , March 2, 2010
Stories About Songs: "California Shake" & "Yes I Am" by Margo Guryan
(L to R: 25 Demos by Margo Guryan is required listening for everybody everywhere; Laura "Jughead Jones" Jane Faulds in her Haircut Hat; I told you Astrology Granitas were real!!!)
The entire world has been the colour peach for days on end and I am in love with everything.
I think this is a very funny and sweet trait in me. I fall deeply in love with music nobody else cares about, and then passionately self-identify as "the person in the world who loves it most." I do wonder why. I think it's as simple as I am attempting to compensate for how I'll never smoke hash and share a butterscotch sundae with John Lennon. I'll never get to ask him his Village Green opinions. It kills me, but I've accepted it. One day, I swear it, Sir Paul McCartney's home phone number will make its way in here. I'll Twitpic my address book and tell you I told you so. Start small, Laura Jane.
Adelaide is the patron saint of everything cool. Every day I shower and sleep. Contemplate the Beatles, consider converting to Roman-Catholicism so I can take on Adelaide as my Saint's name. I have "Everything Synaesthesia." Every single day, I wear my hat. My hat is my haircut. I'm Mike Nesmith. I'm Jughead Jones.
Every single day, I listen to "California Shake" and "Yes I Am" by Margo Guryan dozens upon dozens of times. Her sweethearted genius flavours the entire world, and if I am to be a part of it (the world), which I am, it will flavour me too. It does, so that explains the "peach" thread. Life is on an upswing and I'm happy. Listen to the psychic; ignore your therapist. I am writing this sentence as a memo to my future self, the one scowling her way through the downturn. Upswings happen! Obviously upswings happen; the happening of upswings explains itself within the actual word it is. It's why they invented pendulums. If you want to argue about physics:
Your money's no good here.
I. CALIFORNIA SHAKE
You feel like this song is going to be about dancing, but it's not. It's about earthquakes. This song is so cool and perfect, I don't know how I ever lived without it. I love it more than all but thirteen Beatles songs.
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Wednesday , December 9, 2009
Stories About Songs: "Long, Long, Long" by The Beatles (Baby Bears & Hot Chocolate Hearts)
For Thanksgiving I flew from California to New England, left L.A. at midnight and landed a little after dawn the next day. In Boston everything was grey and it wasn't the orangey autumn morning I'd hoped for; it was not a day for kicking apples. The girl in the seat next to me chewed tropical-flavored gum and I pulled the fake-leather hood of my fake-leather jacket down over my face, played the same Beatles song over and over on my new orange iPod, antsily waited to deplane and buy myself a cinnamon coffee and drink it too fast, go home and write some words, fall asleep in a big luxurious bed with marshmallowy cotton bedding. At my feet were an empty baby wine bottle, a wine-stained plastic cup, a scrunched-up cellophane bag that was full of penny candy the night before. I cleaned it all up, watched out the window and wrote in my tiniest notebook: The apples are dead, long live the apples!
(It's not entirely true but it sounds so good.)
Once upon a time, winter always made a bear of me. I'd hibernate the whole season, but instead of sleeping for five months I'd hide in my room in the attic with a rattly space heater and so many blankets. I wrote a novel in my diary, ran out of room and kept going in a hot-pink three-subject notebook I graffitied up with bitchy/life-saving lyrics by bands full of good-looking drug addicts. After school I'd climb the stairs with a bag of candy or a sleeve of cookies or a bowl of instant rice and stay until suppertime, playing CDs on the shitty stereo I kept in my bed. I made up stories about gorgeous boys on drugs and non-gorgeous girls not on drugs, living in a wild city I'd only ever visited on field trips. Their kisses tasted like butter and strawberries and the sex was "floaty," they were sweet-faced runaways and baby alcoholics who jumped off cliffs together to prove the pureness of their hearts. Their houses were full of guitars and records and lovely drugs, they never ever had to go to school. I was in love with them all and I was so happy, in the world inside my head.
Tags: airplanes, Barker loves the Beatles, bears, blankets, boys, coffee, fairy tales, Fixing A Hole, George Harrison, goofball-serene, hot chocolate, Long Long Long, Mary Timony, notebooks, Ouija boards, Paul McCartney, swimming, wine, winter, writing
Monday , October 12, 2009
Stories About Songs: "Acid Tongue" by Jenny Lewis (Perfume, Bad Habits, The Beatles & Carrie Bradshaw)
(L to R: Jenny Lewis in Bust; this photo; a perfume bottle at the Barcelona Perfume Museum))
"Acid Tongue" is the fifth song on Acid Tongue by Jenny Lewis, which is my favorite album this autumn. It goes like this:
On the first night of October there was a party at a perfume store in Venice. I brought my friend and we drank coconut water with vodka, and women sprayed perfume on our wrists and the inside of our elbows and on little paper wands we waved around in the air before bringing them to our noses. My friend is very thoughtful about perfume; she says things like "This smells like a leather booth" or "This smells like a head shop" or "This smells like a redhead." I think about whether it makes me smell pretty, and whether it reminds me of fruit and/or exciting flowers. Sometimes I think about boys.
And, with this one bottle, I think about the words in the name. It's the perfume I loved most, it's called Fire & Cream. It's vetiver and sandalwood and patchouli, white lavender and tuberose and orange and orange blossom; its character is "Sinuous, Elegant, Ablaze."
For me fire is:
-the bushes on fire on the side of the freeway when I drove to the beach two Saturdays ago
-wildfires that make the sky orange and red every autumn in L.A.
-Fire of Love by The Gun Club, which has the song "Sex Beat"
-the fireplace on Christmas
-Prometheus stealing fire from the gods, and then having his liver eaten by eagles for all eternity
-candles I light to make the house smell like rose petals or blackberries
-burning leaves, beside pumpkins
-when Jenny Lewis sings "We built ourselves a fire" and "Let's build ourselves a fire" in the second and third verses of "Acid Tongue"
-when Jenny Lewis sings "picked apart like Prometheus" on "Fernando," the song after "Acid Tongue"
-Jenny Lewis's hair
-danger, of course
Cream is the cream of a cream puff and not much more.
Tags: apples, autumn of 2009, Boring Bad, Colorado, cream puffs, fall, fire, Jenny Lewis, Joan Didion, lavender soda, letters, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Paul McCartney, perfume, pink wine, Sex & The City, spring of 2006, Strange Invisible, The Beatles
Thursday , September 17, 2009
Stories About Songs: Belly & Boys & My New Blue High-Tops
On a Thursday night the second to last week of summer I made myself drive home from The Valley listening to all of King by Belly, which is a record my stepdad bought for me the night it came out, Valentine's Day when I was 17. The point was to sing along the whole way through, but I was sorta sick and my voice kept failing and I drank warm Diet Coke to get the scratch out but of course that didn't help. It was a little after nightfall and the mushiest moment was when I drove through the intersection of the 101 freeway and 405 freeway and got all whooshed up in some weird nostalgia for last summer, when there was a boy who lived in Sherman Oaks and I used to go see him sometimes.
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Tags: bacon-wrapped hot dogs, bedrooms, Belly, Black Beauty, boys, chocolate, diaries, diners, donuts, drunks, Echo Park, freeways, hearts, honey, imaginary books, Jenny Lewis, Kime Buzzelli for Vans, love, monkeys, nostalgia, sex, sitting on the floor, skateboards, songs, stuffed animals, Sunset Boulevard, Tanya Donelly, The Valley, Valentine's Day, wine
Tuesday , June 23, 2009
The Most Romantic Summer Song (Or: Why Bedroom Dancing Is Better Than Time Machines)
I've never not known "Spirit in the Night," the third track on side two of Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I was born three days after Christmas sometime in the late 1970s, and then my parents brought me home from the hospital and started playing Bruce Springsteen records over and over and over till I grew up and moved out and had to go buy all my own copies of Bruce Springsteen records - kind of like having to buy your own frying pan or bath mat for the first time, except that Bruce Springsteen records are so much better than frying pans and bath mats. This is the song:
When I was a little girl, I was always scared of "Spirit in the Night." Mostly it had to do with the part when it slows down toward the end and it's just piano and Bruce singing: "Hazy Davey got really hurt, he ran into the lake in just his socks and a shirt. Me and Crazy Janey was makin' love in the dirt, singin' our birthday songs." That first part creeped me out like nothing else - like, why was Davey wearing just socks and a shirt? He must've been insane, or on drugs - probably drugs, and really bad ones too. Drugs terrified me when I was a kid; they still do now. I didn't know what kind of stuff the "Spirit in the Night" kids would be into, but it had to be something evil as whatever it was in Go Ask Alice that made the narrator-girl think she was being eaten alive by worms. (Listening today, I guess "Spirit in the Night" is about angel dust. I will probably never understand anything about angel dust, or why anyone would ever want to do it. This is narrow-minded of me, possibly.)
But the "makin' love in the dirt" lyric got to me more than the drugs - something about how Bruce's voice was so tired and heartsick, or the fact that they were in the dirt, singing, sounded so much more like real sex than any of sex I'd ever seen on cable TV or read about in my mom's issues of Cosmo. More than anything it sounded desperate, and that's what I couldn't understand at all: You don't know what "desperate" means when you're a kid, and you certainly don't know how it figures into sex.
Tags: 1973, bedroom dancing, boys, Bruce Springsteen, cars, confused brain vs. bored heart, Go Ask Alice, grown-ups, illegal swimming, love, music, phenylcyclohexylpiperidine, pink wine, radio, sex, summer, time travel