08 July 2009

Sucker Punch

Today for a while I had my iPod shuffling. I pretty much never shuffle because even though I like a lot of different kinds of music, I'm hardly ever up for Lil Wayne as a follow up to Old Crow Medicine Show. I'm stodgy. I generally listen to albums right through in the official track order. I have to say that too many artists are not so good at arranging the songs on an album to be listened to straight through as a playlist, but what is an album now but a playlist? Mostly the cool people ignore those and make their own, but if you the artist and you are making that one playlist, shouldn't you try to make a good program out of it? And stay off my lawn you kids!

But anyway, today I did have a playlist of songwriters-who-sing going on shuffle: Michael Tolcher, Lee Mellor, Rodney Crowell, Tribute to Townes Van Zandt, Gordon Lightfoot, Tribute to Elliot Smith, Tim Acres, Lucinda Williams, ... thud. Once again, I got ambushed by that one song of hers, "Something About What Happens When We Talk". That song is so much a part of the soundtrack of a hard part of my life that I can't hear it without being pulled back into the emotions that made it hard.

It's clear from the words that she's telling a story of a voluntary parting. My story was a sudden falling-out. The first time I heard it was just at the peak of the crisis for me and it hit my feelings so exactly on the head. It was truer than the literal facts. (Does that make sense? I think so. Anyway...) Now I can't think of that bad time without the song playing in my head and I can't hear the song without feeling a little sick and sad.

I really like this song. I could avoid it, but I don't because it's such a splendid perfect song. I like the album it's on, too. When I do play it, I know it's coming and I can keep the feelings a bit detached, sort of at the level of strong nostalgia. When it hits me unexpectedly, though, it is a hard blow.

I need to put together a playlist of songs that remind me of happy times, don't I? I'm going to take that as an exercise.

(Tangential note: if you wonder why I use YouTube to embed songs when I'm not particuarly referring to the video, let me show you. I like Imeem and they have an "embed" feature. Here it is:

Something About What Happens When We Talk - Lucinda Williams

All those little ads and buttons (you should see the page of code), and you just get a 30-second sample. You can click through to hear the whole song, but you have to be a registered Imeem user for that. That is a PITA for you and spoils the whole point of including the example for me. So I'm sticking to YouTube and sorry about the bandwidth.)

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