Sunday, August 31, 2008


Many people have come in and out of my life and I’ve gotten a lot of music out of these passing “moments”. As brief as the interpersonal relationships may be, my relationship with their music is forever. Funny that my Ipod and cd cases have become audio-photo albums, maybe even more profound than that, they’ve become autobiographical. I’m trying hard not to channel John Cusak’s character from High Fidelity right now- it after all, is one of my favorite movies of all time. Top five for sure. There I go, channeling.

1. Mariah Carey’s “Someday”, first best friend in the 1st grade. We used to hum this while playing on Astroturf. Actually, she would hum, I would do the Roger Rabbit.

2. Kris Kross “Jump”, heavy influence from the older cousins who going through their gangster days of junior high were rocking big hooped earrings, matte brown lipstick, flannel, and backwards pants.

3. 4 Non Blondes “What’s Going On”, when my dad’s friend hooked up the black box aka illegal cable for us, I had my first glimpse of MTV and my first visual of a dykey singer. Yes, and I mean Linda Perry. I swear I thought it was Val Kilmer in drag.

4. Aerosmith “Crazy”, shortly thereafter, my dad and I caught this video on TV and he immediately said “isn’t that Mick Jagger? What’s wrong with his hair?” in Mandarin of course…

5. Simon and Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, piano lesson with the mum- she has great taste in music, very surprising for a fobby Chinese lady with big curly hair.

6. Green Day “When I Come Around”, a cute boy in my class liked this song and instead of saying “earth” he said “uth”.

7. Proclaimers “I Would Walk 500 Miles”, same boy. Benny & Joon was big back then. Even though I caught him picking his nose, I still liked him. I wrote his name on my shoe.

8. Pink Floyd “The Wall”, Beatles “Hide Your Love Away”, Procol Harum “Whiter Shade of Pale”, Ben E. King “Stand By Me”, Eagles “Hotel California”…(list goes on), thanks Jeff, my guitar instructor from 6th grade – 8th grade who I totally did not appreciate at the time, who played with the Stones, who was anemic, who opened my world to classic rock and soul that I would have never even known, who I’ve lost touch with and who I miss dearly.

9. Mary J. Blige “Not Gon’ Cry”, a boy who hurt my feelings by asking out my friend at the fair. This song was on repeat for weeks.

10. Nsync “Tearin’ Up My Heart”, four very special ladies, two of who are still in my life. I didn’t want to bring this one up but we’ve all had our moments, don’t we?

11. Tupac “I Get Around”, a boy who I thought I loved. He was a little bit of thug, a little bit of a Romeo.

12. Random trance songs that I don’t remember and that all sound the same to me, same boy. He started raving and I was in student council and the stars weren’t aligned.

13. The Gossip “Swing Low”, not so much a person or even a living, breathing organism. But Napster was more than a friend; Napster was the gatekeeper to music that a former suburbanite like me would never know. Remember The Hives’ “Black Mask”? Definitely didn’t make sense with the whole Applebee’s strip mall thing. Remember waiting a day to download one song?

14. Dr. Dre “Next Episode”, A boy. His friends. The “Up In Smoke Tour” dvd. Coronas. C-walking. Wow- was this really my first year of college?

15. Death Cab for Cutie “Photobooth”, while suffering through a breakup with said boy, I realized that my Mary J. Blige cd was scratched so I had to find a substitution.

16. Craig David/Linkin Park JAMS, this is an all-time low. While the two bands definitely did not end up on my Winamp (remember Winamp, kids?), the boy (a new one) whom I had nothing in common with loved them. So I suffered through the cacophony. I call it “finding myself” or my “blue” period.

17. Wutang Clan “Killer Bees”, my dear friend Drew who I’ve shared many fun times with especially SAT prep class, would RAP to the instrumental of this song. Sorry to call you out Drew- but it’s way more acceptable than your now defunct electric scooter.

18. MIA’s “Arular”-Diplo remix, the beginning of the “Paul”-years, some of the happiest years I have had (still have), and to think it all began with a bootlegged remix.

19 through 451, a continuum of life before and life after Paul.

452. The Gossip remix of “Are You That Somebody”, if you can sing this on your car out loud with a gal pal, you know you guys are thicker than thighs that touch. Especially if she’s singing with you.

453. Jodeci “Talk to Me”, if you’re reading- thanks for reinstating 90’s R/B in my life again. If that’s all our friendship comes down to, then I’m glad we’re friends.

454. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Maps”, I always thought I was just good at playing this song on Rock Band, but who knew I could sing too? Even if only in my mind…

455. Neil Young “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”, a song that that’s sort of been there for you through both euphoric and traumatic moments. And when you can share it with people you trust, the music and melody are amplified and you feel like you’re hearing it for the first time. I love that- the feeling that a song that’s been played to death gets a chance to live again. But importantly, if we’re friends and you don’t like this song, consider yourself one friend less.

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