Tuesday, December 29, 2009

i'm feeling rough, i'm feeling raw, i'm in the prime of my life

i've heard that smell memory is the strongest of... memory stimulants, so to speak. but i was in the car yesterday, listening to the radio (as my dads car has no other form of music-playing), and a song came on that gave me such a feeling, a feeling that i think i will probably always associated with this song/artist. and the more i think about it, the more i realize how music, up there with the smell of an ex-lover or best friend or former home, is one of the hugest triggers for me. not necessarily in a bad way, but simply that not all, but a lot of the music i listen to have very specific memories associated with them, some so much that i again feel what i felt then. i remember, the last project for my senior year of high school english class was to make a time capsule of our high school experience. i, of course, made a mix cd, chronologically documenting the music that i had listened to in high school and memories that were associated with them (also in the time capsule included my in-patient hospital bracelet, letters i had written myself, ticket stubs, mementos, etc.). i still have the playlist, and as much as i know many of you didn't know me in high school, it may give you an idea of... my journey. all of these songs continue to give me a visceral reaction.

1. street to nowhere--camino lenada
they were a local band from oakland. in 8th grade, before i started doing drugs and drinking and being genuinely miserable, i used to love to go see live music, not simply to do drugs in the bathroom, but to enjoy the music. i still know all the words to this song. this represents a time when music perhaps meant the most than it ever had up to that point

2. the beatles--in my life
this song meant the end of childhood as i had known it. it was our 8th grade graduation song. the beatles were a huge part of my childhood, and definitely represent a time of innocence for me. the transition from middle school to high school was a pretty extreme one.

3. jets to brazil--sweet avenue
i got introduced to this song the summer after 8th grade. was one of my favorites for a long, long time, and went on most mix-cds that i made for people throughout high school.

4. elliott smith--say yes
i remember listening to this song with emma and joy on the bart train, high as all hell. this was my first elliott smith song, the very beginning of freshman year. this was before things got... ugly.

5. gravy train!!!--sippin' 40z
this was when things started to get... interesting. this reminds me of smoking cigarettes on the street corners before/during/after school with rockabilly mel and gay-coke-dealer jake. this is when life felt like one big party. a snippet of the lyrics: "for me the drink was made, and i won't ever trade"

6. elliott smith--needle in the hay
sweet, sweet depression overcomes me. elliott smith is obviously a big influence in my life, as i have this title tattooed on me.

7. the postal service--the district sleeps alone tonight
coke-dealer jake burned me their cd first semester of freshman year. i remember crying in my dark room at my dads apartment listening to this album, and this song especially. a very beautiful but sad song for me.

8. pedro the lion--rapture
jake also burned an mix cd with their music for me. this song brings me right back to the deep depression of freshman year of high school. i didn't realize at the time that this song was about cheating on his wife, but looking back, that is what doing drugs was like for me, and horrible love affair: "we've gone too far/we've done too much/we have to quit it//just one more kiss/just one more touch/please ten more minutes"

9. mirah--make it hot
this is my favorite mirah song. she toured spring of 2004, my freshman year, and it was the first show that i was allowed to go see since i had been grounded/busted/on house arrest. this is my favorite mirah song, and i remember her playing at the show, and i remember being sober and realizing how amazing it was to experience music not completely fucked up. arlene introduced me to her.

10. nick drake--place to be
this song brings me into sophomore year of high school, and brings me straight to the fall, when we had p.e. at the bowling alley for our bowling unit. we had to walk 7 blocks or so, and i was so shy and lonely that i would put on my headphones and read while i walked. i remember listening to this album on repeat while reading 'life of pi' in the foggy fall afternoon.

11. radiohead--creep
this was at one point, every 15 year old anorexics anthem. and i was no exception.

12. wilco--hummingbird
june, the end of my sophomore year of high school, my dad bought me and emma tickets to see them at the greek theatre in berkeley. i remember i wanted to go to gay prom, but it was on the same night. this song reminds me of that summer night, holding emma's hand and listening to them playing this song with my eyes closed. it is, to this day, the best live show i have ever seen.

13. harry and the potters--save ginny weasley
summer after sophomore year of high school, they played outside of the main library in san francisco. i remember being happy for the first time in awhile. harry potter has also been a big part of my life, throughout all of this. laugh all you want, but it was important.

14. le tigre--viz
this song is about being visibly out. i remember listening to this song and realizing what it was about, and being hella proud.

15. jesus christ superstar--superstar
one tradition that we had with my mom was watching this movie on easter. it is, to this day, the main educational source i've had about christianity. the end of my senior year, the original actor who played jesus in the 70's film was playing jesus again in the musical, and my mom got us tickets. it was one of the more positive memories i have of my mom.

16. van morrison--sweet thing
i don't remember why i put this song on the mix cd exactly... but i do remember when it was put on a mix cd for me senior year, and how wonderful it made me feel. certainly my favorite van morrison song, and perhaps one of my favorite songs.

17. david bowie--heroes
cheesy, but i ended the mix with this song because i remember being hopeful at the end of high school, hopeful that things were going to be okay and that i was going to be okay. this song still gives me a feeling like that.

at the end of this, i feel exhausted. it always is exhausting to remember. i usually try not to think about high school too much, because in many ways it was a miserable, miserable time. i spent the first two years of it trying to die and then the last two trying to get well, and was back at square one at the very end. it really is quite an odd idea, to think that the past 6/7 years or so i have spent either dying or recuperating. maybe that's a bit too morbid, but it's how it feels.

also, in case you were wondering, the song i heard on the radio was 'time to pretend' by mgmt. that song, as well as 'kids', makes me remember summer of 2008, isaac ronald rice, and the events surrounding him and my inevitable relapse. that was quite the summer.

and with that, goodnight!

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