If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably heard of the “30 Day Music Challenge”. Basically, you post a link to a song or YouTube clip every day for a month. Some versions of the challenge have silly guides, like “Day 1 – A song that makes you think of your best friend”. While I have accepted the challenge, I’m not following those rules. I’m just making it up as I go.
Day 11: “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes
I went to the skating rink a lot in my grade school years… only I never really skated all that much. I’d take the $4 my mom would give me for skate rental and play pinball and video games instead. However, there was one time when a bunch of kids from my school were there, and they convinced me to get out on the rink. I was wobbling around out there, like you do, when suddenly “Bette Davis Eyes” came over the speakers. All the kids from my school who weren’t skating let out a squeal and rushed to the rink. But, more importantly, the older folks rolled their eyes and skated off. I did a couple of laps around the rink, staring at the reflected disco lights on the ceiling and surrounded by my friends. Although I was only 10 at the time, I had just discovered the generation gap, and realized that there was much as thing as “my” music versus “their” music. And for some reason this made me deliriously happy. This song, this moment in time and space were mine, not theirs. I wobbled around the rink throughout the song in a daze with a giant grin on my face. Although I was unaware of it at the time, it was the same feeling people at Woodstock or people who saw Blondie’s first shows at CBGB must have felt, albeit on a much smaller scale.
Day 12: “Pump Up The Volume” by M\A\A\R\S
Shortly after I got a car, I got a job delivering flowers for Flowerama at Gwinnett Place. My high school sweetheart Jodi worked there too, and so it was nauseatingly sweet all around. But then Valentine’s Day came. My boss bought an entire (tractor) trailer full of roses and rented a vacant storefront as a staging area. He also hired Cindy Bollegar as a temp. I had been working for 18 hours straight when my boss asked me to get some roses from the trailer and take them to the staging area. I got the flowers and took them to the room, where Cindy worked alone. We made some small talk for several minutes, and then I signaled my intention to leave by letting out a deep sigh and unenthusiastically singing “Pump up the volume, pump up the volume, pump up the volume…” To my complete shock, Cindy looked at me with one of the most come hither looks I’ve ever seen and sexily said “Dance! Dance!”. I leaned in to kiss her. She leaned in to me. And just then the door opened, and Jodi walked in. I don’t think she saw anything, and if she did she certainly never mentioned it. A small part of my mind was FURIOUS with me for almost cheating on my girlfriend. Another small part was FURIOUS that I wasn’t able to seal the deal with Cindy. The other 80% of my brain, the part that hadn’t been to sleep in 30+ hours by this point, just wanted the other parts to shut up and leave it alone. To this day, every time I hear this song, I think of Cindy’s blue eyes, and that devilish smirk of hers saying “Dance! Dance!”
Day 13: “Caro mio ben” by Cecilia Bartoli
I saw Cecilia Bartoli at Emory in 1995 and she did this song for her third or forth encore. Every single neuron in my mind was intently concentrated on her persona and her voice, and every hair on my neck and arms stood at attention. I knew enough Latin to roughly translate it on the fly (it’s the saddest song ever written), but I was just BLOWN AWAY by her voice. It’s sometimes hard to believe that so much beauty can exist in this world.
Day 14: “My Way” by Nina Hagen
Another high school story: Laura Woods came to pick me up for school one morning. Jason Bolden was in the front seat, and Laura was cranking Nina Hagen’s “My Way” on the stereo. I thought “Man, I’m alternative as fuck, but even I think 7:15 in the morning is too early for this Nina Hagen shit”.
Day 15: “Thursday” by Asobi Seksu
It’s one of my most favoritest songs ever… and I got to seem them live last weekend! Why post this today? Because it’s Thursday, duh!
Day 16: “1998” by Binary Finary
I was sitting at my desk at Pathfire one day, and my boss came in and said “We need you in Somerset, Kentucky by morning”. I got on enterprise.com to rent a car, then got on kozmo.com to arrange delivery of a book, a coupla magazines, some snacks, drinks and a couple of CDs. One of the discs was Paul Oakenfold’s Tranceport. I got about halfway through Tennessee and was on an ancient, curvy road like “Highway 27” when it started to pour down rain. This song came on, and I jacked up the volume, punched the gas and enjoyed sliding into the curves. And why not? It’s what rental cars are for, and since Pathfire was footing the bill, I got full coverage on the rental.
Day 17: “Unbelievable” by EMF
Back in the mid 90s, when the Braves pitching rotation was as its best, MLB had a commercial that was nothing but clips of Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz throwing strikes to this song. I loved baseball as a kid, but had moved on to football by then. But I loved that commercial… mostly because I could watch Greg Maddux pitch all day long.
Day 18: “Masquerade” by Clan of Xymox
My crowd of post-high school friends included Alissa, Oliver, Leslie, Pepe, Terry Moseley and several other folks on my friends list. And we (well, most of us) were HUGE music snobs, of the “if it’s not on 4AD I don’t care” variety. I even remember talking to Alissa one time about how some album sounded good, but had hideous cover art, and that just wouldn’t do. I don’t know it as fact, but I’d bet money that all those folks have moped around to this song… at least once.
Day 19: “I Burn for You” by The Police
No long story here, just one of the most underappreciated Police songs ever. Here’s a link to the original demo Sting did with his first band, Last Exit.
Day 20: “Gigantic” by The Pixies
There was a time when Lisa and I would end up at Jeff’s Bucket Shop almost every single weekend. And, before the night was over, it was almost a certainty that I, tipsy on Bass or PBR, would scream “I WANNA HEAR SOME PIXIES, DAMMIT!” at the DJ.