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Picasso Museum windows, Paris

Okay, here goes. This is how it works. I list the songs in order, coming from my shuffled iTunes library. I write as I hear. I will pause to finish before moving on to the next song. I’ll try not to peek. But I probably will. I’m only human. Hold on to your hats folks.

1. Tiger in my Tank–The Eels

2. Paint it Black–The Rolling Stones

3. Hang Fire–The Rolling Stones

4. I Saw Three Ships–Mr. Hanky’s Christmas (South Park)

5. In the Garage–Weezer

6. Again–Lenny Kravitz

7. Sister Christian–Night Ranger

1.

I came across The Eels my first summer living in Vermont. I was in grad school. I think it was one of those, “If you like The Shins, you’ll love The Eels” iTunes suggestions, way before the genius thing was created. Well, lucky me, because I now love The Eels. I downloaded two albums that summer. They come across very upbeat, but I love how dark and skewed their lyrics are.

The melody of this song is somewhat haunting. It’s a fairly quiet, medium-toned song with nothing necessarily striking about it, excluding the haunting refrain “I think I’m on the brink of disaster”. Beautiful line.

My second summer in Vermont, I actually drove the long 9 miles from Bread Loaf Mountain into Middlebury daily because my Gram was dying and I vowed to myself that I would call her every morning. There was no cell service (or privacy for that matter) on the mountain, and the switchback road was often washed out with rain, hail, or large trees. I composed myself daily before each of those phone calls while listening to The Eels on my iPod.  Sometimes she knew me, sometimes she didn’t. We both pretended well for each of those five minutes each day. But I wouldn’t trade those phone calls for anything.

Looking back on it, I was on the brink of disaster, but only underneath. You wouldn’t know it to look at me. Like everything, I hid my emotion well that summer. And so do The Eels. Calm, cool and collected on the surface, but disastrous nonetheless.

2.

It’s nice that the Stones are lumped together into two songs next. One I love, one I loathe. I love Paint it Black. It reminds me of college. I was more Team Beatles in high school–probably because my parents were–but my friends in the dorms in Colorado were definitely Team Stones. Ski trips to Vail with subwoofers blasting every variety of music were always tense–late nights and beers, and icy roads. But when Paint it Black came on, I could rest. A good day on the slopes, a cold beer, a warm drive down the mountain.

3.

Unfortunately, I have little to say about Hang Fire, which means I will stop. Now.

4.

I cannot stop laughing. I forgot about this song. I downloaded various Christmas songs for my annual White Elephant and Debauchery party. This was no exception. I love the lisping and Cartman’s ridiculous laughter in the background. I will stop there. Because, anyone who went to Colorado should own this album because it’s straight up, ridiculously funny. And so are Cartman’s farting noises in the background.

5.

Oh god does this song bring me back. I found Weezer right before my senior year of high school. It was playing in my best friend’s brother’s car. He was in college, and he knew music. In 1994, I listened to Live 105, the local modern rock station in San Francisco. I liked this song before the Sweater Song, which that fall, topped every chart. It was new, it was fresh, it was so strange. Not grunge. Not pop. Not indie. What on earth was it?

I had a cassette tape dubbed from the cd just to play in my Geo Prism, and driving to and from school, to football games, to work, this album was always present. I still love Weezer. Their first album smells like my old kitchen, carving pumpkins with my brothers and rain coming down outside. My first experience with El Niño. Stuck in a world between finishing high school and starting college. Fear and excitement. 1994 and 1995. I loved it. Still do.

6.

Oh. God. Bless. Lenny. I used to fall asleep to this album in high school. I was, and still am in love with Lenny Kravitz. He is gorgeous. I actually went to see the Hunger Games just to see him. Okay, that’s a lie. I still haven’t seen it. I did read the book, but when I heard he was in it, I decided to definitely go see it. Soon. Someday.

My first teaching job was at a boarding school in Connecticut and we took my dorm to see Zoolander for one of the boy’s birthdays. There were 30 full, glorious seconds of Lenny shirtless. I actually said “Goddamn”. In front of my students. And co-dorm staff. Everyone laughed at me, and I didn’t care. Classy, Ms. Mo. He is beautiful. “My love forever”. I used to shout this in my car driving to school, drumming the beat on my steering wheel. Thank you, Mr. Kravitz for bringing me back to when we were all young and beautiful and still untouched.

7.

Yes, I fell for the Boogie Nights soundtrack. Because. It’s. So. Damned. Good. And I have no shame admitting that this song is on my Ralk list. I should explain. I walk/run, but mostly walk, so I call it Ralking. When Sister Christian comes on, it’s all Run. I still remember finally having to pull my eyes away from Dirk Diggler in the final scene when he and his Best Friend flash on the screen for way too many seconds. I was with my roommate–we were seniors in college. It was one of the most uncomfortable silences I have ever heard in a movie theater. Ever. Priceless, just like Night Ranger’s classic.

So part of me wishes that perhaps I should slow down and write more on one song that really grabs my attention. I may do just that. But I thought I should at least get it going. Let me know what you think.

Ms. Mo

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