If I could ask everyone I know two personal (verging on intrusive) questions, they would be: Do you connect specific songs with emotionally explosive periods of your life? and Which songs?
I went to a bar this week where they were playing a lot of Jawbreaker and Jets To Brazil—two bands that I listened to pretty compulsively when I was sixteenish. I’m having a major Nostalgia Fest and rediscovering all of my old Emo favorites from sophomore year of high school. Man, I sure did feel a lot of feelings in 2002…unlike now.
There are some songs that I’m just not ready to hear again. I may never be ready. Example: Elliott Smith – Waltz #2.
I’m never gonna know you now
but I’m gonna love you anyhow.
Ok, yes, this song is meant to stomp the listener’s heart to a pulpy mess. The album “XO” should be renamed “Background Music For Your Suicide Attempt.” Combine the inherently depressive aspects of Elliott Smith’s life and music with the inherently depressive aspects of being sixteen and you create a terrible Pavlovian effect; for the rest of my life, whenever I hear Waltz #2, it will trigger a tsunami of sad in my brain and I’ll feel small and insignificant as a fruit bat (not to hate on fruit bats) and I’ll start salivating…from my eyes.
But for real, sixteen wasn’t all existential alienation and unrequited love; there was joy too. That summer I went to France with my best friend and we both became obsessed with Bright Eyes' You Will. You? Will. You? Will. You? Will at the same time.
Now I write when I'm away,
letters that you'll never read.
You said go explore those other women,
the geography of their bodies,
but there's just one map you'll need.
You're a boomerang you'll see.
You will return to me.
(wait for 2:32. Just wait for it. It gets me every time)
Dear Everyone I Know: if you don’t want to tell me about the song you were listening to when grandma passed away or whatever, can you at least tell me what you were into when you were sixteen?
p.s. I have a mix tape (R.I.P mix tapes) from freshman year and there are not one, but TWO songs by Nelly on it. It also features Shaggy's It Wasn't Me.