I am a fickle lover. My affections rev from zero to infinity in no time at all and occasionally at top speed I hit the ejector seat. I know, it is cruel, it is unusual, but I am not the US court system. I am a music lover.
My collection is rife with flings, all out love affairs, obsessions where I drop all other suitors and focus all my attention on one artist. I spend too much money on them, I imagine a future with no other possible options, in short, I freak out.
Some of these mad crushes slowly morph into long deep friendships. Some are like that person you hook up with repeatedly over the years, never quite letting go of the romance, but never diving all the way in. Some flame out and leave you wondering, "What the hell was I thinking?"
This post deals with the unfortunate latter category.
# 1: Lyle Lovett. Yep, he got me. I bought Lyle Lovett and His Big Band, I marveled at his quirkiness, I cheered when he snagged the most famous girl in town, and I stopped caring before she did.
# 2: Van Morrison. I had an album of Irish standards that he did with The Chieftains which I listened to non-stop for a semester in college while living in a house with a couple of classic-rock fans. At the end of the year we had a drunken CD swap where you could choose any CD from the other guys. One of them took the Van CD. I think I got 'Pink Houses' by Mellencamp. At the time I felt robbed. I never repurchased the Van. In fact, whenever he comes on the radio I cringe. To me, he is the sound of too much fat in purple tights.
# 3: Primus. I first heard Primus while driving home from one of my first shifts working in a group home for adults with developmental and behavioral disabilities. Perhaps the intense nature of the work made me open to silliness, but Primus got to me right off the bat. I remember seeing a hot air balloon festival taking off as I heard them blast out of my Karmann Ghia's hot Bose speakers. Their virtuosity is extreme and the vision is perfectly articulated. However, when I hear them come up on my random iTunes now, I immediately get annoyed...something akin to a neighbor's annoying kid wanting you to come over and look at his science project.
# 4: Wilco. This one will be controversial to a whole slew of well-meaning smart people out there. The only Wilco I can stand anymore is the Billy Bragg/Woody Guthrie collaboration they did. And that isn't really Wilco, now, is it? The music is always well done, but I hear Jeff Tweedy sing and I want to pop him in a cold shower. Wake up and sing, Jeff!!! Being tired is not a great basic stance for a front man.
# 5: Bob Mould. This one hurts deep. Like the girl you almost married and come to find out she was cheating on you all along. With women. And inviting other guys to participate but not you. It cuts right to the core. I've written in this blog about his band Husker Du. His first two solo records were more important to me than almost any other music for that couple of years. I saw his next band Sugar on their debut tour. I thought that they were going to catapult to superstardom. Then I heard the album and wondered where that band had gone. Cut to a decade later and he's writing scripts for the World Wide Wrestling Federation and being forced out of the closet. He ought to have been the gay Jimi Hendrix and instead he seems more like Trent Lott. Total disappointment.
# 6: Leonard Cohen. I'm sorry, I fell asleep while tyyping this entry.
# 7. Pearl Jam. Their debut came out while I lived in France and I wore the CD out. Thank god. Somehow Eddie Vedder seems to think that a horse whinnying in a water trough is the most emotional sound ever created. But, Eddie, even horses whinny on KEY.
# 8. Roxy Music. Yes, they showed naked girls on the cover of their album and they pretended to be all sexy, but honestly, is there anything sexy about this music? It's like a plumber put on a velvet suit.
# 9. Weezer. I still love 'Pinkerton'. But in keeping with the failed relationship theme, Weezer is like the great date you had with a chick who wound up being both boring and crazy. I once dated a girl who kept bread in her purse and her hands were somehow sweaty and dry at the same time. Sure, we did a pub crawl in Newport, RI that started in a mansion and wound up on a tall ship but, dude, I actually KISSED her at the end of it. Ewwwww!
# 10. The Arcade Fire. You go to a party. The people at the party are all super cool in that effortless/effortful way. Every piece of clothing is strangely cut, cool beyond belief. The girls look great in a singular fashion. The glass you drink from is thrift store chic and the beverage inside it tempting. A strange girl with funky glasses and an oddly shaped purse starts a conversation. You have everything in common. She leans in close. Her hand is on your arm. She asks if you'll take her home. So far, this is the greatest party you've ever been to. This girl could be THAT girl, the one you meet who changes everything. You slowly leave the party, making friends as you go. Everyone acknowledges that you two are already an item of sorts, it seemed inevitable. Hipster dudes are congratulating you in that non-jock hide-the-testosterone way hipsters have. You are about to score. You take her car, a 50's thing with fuzzy dice. She opens the door to her apartment, a cozy one-bedroom over a garage. Her ferret bites you before you cross the threshold. Too much quirk. And stop copying Bruce Springsteen and pretending you're all homespun and shit. God, this band gets on my nerves.
Grand Prize: REM. Wow. I had every album there for a while. Had 'Chronic Town'. Loved 'em before they were famous. Cheered for 'em when they broke through to mass appeal. Woke up one day and realized that his voice got inside my clavicle and scratched on a million blackboards. It's better now that he's bald but still...
Now, are the above proclamations final? God, no. Love is a bitch.