Secret Pop

Sep 22, 2013

The Neverending Mixtape

I began writing this post on May 18, 2010. It was just a couple of song lyrics I never got around to explaining. But here's the story.

In 2010, my birthday fell on a Friday. I gathered my friends at the Seven Grand for an evening of making this face.
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Also this face.
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Also this face.
Glazed doughnut!
And of course this one.
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And this one.
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I had fun that night. Even when we had to drive all around Downtown trying to find the forgotten spot where Jessie had parked her car. I had fun even though the weeks leading up to that night had been filled with confusion and consternation. And the night before had been filled with being broken up with by phone over a problem that wasn't actually the problem. In such cases, the problem at issue is seldom the actual problem. Even then, I knew that. Instinctively. Anyway, that night, I put all of that out of my head and had my birthday, because it was my birthday and fuck all that other nonsense. And I was wearing that vintage dress I had bought at Shake Rag, and Beulah even had fun running the pool table for a while.

The rest of that weekend, Beulah stuck around and kept me company. We went to see Iron Man 2. We went to some of our favorite places. One of which is Happy Six in West L.A. And while we were shopping for the cute there, I heard an Owl City song for the first time. And even though it sounded kind of stupid and poppy, there was a line that stuck out to me and made me want to sit by myself somewhere where no one would see how ashamed I was of being sad over the stupid loss of something that never was.

I spend my coldest nights alone, awake and thinking of the weekend we were in love.

Later that summer, I put that song on a mixtape. That day, I bought a silver jacket. Here is a picture of half of it.

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I took this picture on another day that ended in sadness and shame. This time involving a meet-up at Swingers that should never have happened. I did get my Breaking Bad DVDs back that night, though. So.

Around that time, I came across a Psapp song that also ended up on a mixtape, on account of this:

Don't make me a chapter. I want to be the whole of your book.

And then I heard Orange Shirt by Discovery, and it was these lyrics that mattered:

Sleep on the train to Tokyo. Google yourself when you get home.
All this love that you're keeping. And me I've got a crush.


I put that song on a mixtape, too. Jessie was in my car when we were driving to the City Attorney's office the week after my birthday to deal with other nonsense, and when it started playing, she said, "What's this?" And it sounded like what she meant to say was, "What the fuck is this?" But I don't know. I sometimes think some of my friends think I'm so square, they don't believe it if I mention any singer outside of Fred Waring.

And then there's the Gomez song that came about as close to being one of those "this is our song" songs as it could have. And then there's that Yeah Yeah Yeahs song. The playlist is long. And now that playlists are no longer limited by the amount of tape on the spools, I just append and append. The songs keep getting written. And the lyrics keep making me want to make ill-advised phone calls and just play songs into people's voice mails in a very postmodern-Say Anything kind of way. There's that Shiny Toy Guns song. And that Salem Al Fakir song. And that Manchester Orchestra/Grouplove song that Beulah got me hooked on. There are all of these songs that I really like but prefer to skip when they come up in the mix. Because it's all well and good to feel something, but I'd like to be just a tiny bit in control, please, okay?

Anyway, if I can admit to once having my heart broken by an Owl City lyric, well, there's a lot more you can do is all I'm saying. On our deathbeds, we will curse the many things we were ruled by. I guarantee it.

It's very, very late in New York City, where I am sitting up very, very awake in my hotel room, allowing this old iPod to play playlists from years ago. If you need an explanation, that is why.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I guess sometimes I still read you... with a wistful kind of smile.
Greg