March 2, 2009

Playlist for a Lifetime

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I’m sitting in Libe Café, my column is due in two hours and, to be totally honest, I have absolutely no idea what to write about. There’s a new Andrew Bird album out that’s most definitely worth a listen or three, and a soon-to-be released Neko Case recording that my sources tell me is quite stupendous. (Does talking about “my sources” make me seem mysterious and “in-the-know?”) But in general, I try to leave new albums to those who write the handy-dandy Arts “Test Spins.” Someone pick those up, eh?
So, what to write? I scroll through my music library for inspiration (which, by the way, I have finally regained access to, after three months of technical difficulties). I have a lot. Despite my love of lists, I will resist naming everything I have though, because my column would probably exceed its allotted word count before I got to the end, and because the point is not to bore you excessively. I hope you’re not bored.
Next, I turn to Facebook. Not for inspiration — simply because, when in doubt (or bored, or lazy or whatevs), turn to Facebook. What I found here was one of those annoying chain notes that I love to hate, hate to love, but always surrender to nevertheless. This particular one asked the Facebook junkie to put their iTunes on shuffle and write the title of each consecutive song as the answer to each consecutive question. Except they weren’t actually questions, they were “life moments,” as if “your life were a movie,” — e.g. birth, first kiss, graduation, marriage, etc. For your amusement, I suffered through this foolishness and the results were as follows:
Opening Credits: “Great Escape” by Guster
Waking Up: “Samurai Sword” by the Microphones
First Day at School: “Run, Christian, Run by Super Furry Animals
Fall in Love: “For Me This is Heaven” by Jimmy Eat World
Fight Song: “Home Life” by John Mayer
Breaking Up: “California” by Phantom Planet
Prom: “Tongue-Tied” by Eve 6
Sex: “Song for the Dumped” by Ben Folds Five
Life: “Stellar” by Incubus
Mental Breakdown: “Asterisk” by Orange Range
Driving: “Our Live is Not a Movie or Maybe” by Okkervil River
Flashback: “All You Can Eat” by Ben Folds
Getting Back Together: “Winning a Battle, Losing the War” by Kings of Convenience
Wedding: “You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket” by White Stripes
Birth of Child: “Matador at the Door” by Hot Hot Heat
Final Battle: “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson
Death Scene: “Need to Shout” by Architecture in Helsinki
Funeral: “Daughters of the Soho Riots” by The National
End Credits: “Rising Tide” by Hammock
Now, for your further amusement, I’m going to write y’all a mini story. (In effect, I’m going to the create the movie of this hypothetical life). That’s artsy, right? And it’s based on this Facebook note that’s based on music, so … we’re all set.
One day, a girl is born who is destined to live a fairly normal life, but ultimately to dislike her life, her society. This story ends with the girl running, trying to escape the confines of her everyday life. It begins on the morning of her first day at high school. Catholic high school. She wakes up determined to take high school in stride, but intimated at the same time. Feels like she’s facing a bear with a sword. Catholic school is a little too Catholic for her and, at the end of the day, she literally runs screaming from the building.
Eventually meets a guy named Jonas with a spiky Mohawk and a tattoo. Feels like love. Turns out he’s a womanizer, expects her in the kitchen. They fight. They break up. She meets Kirk. Skinny, indie kid with skinny, indie jeans. Likes him better. They break up too. Shit happens, you know. Girl is forced to go to prom with Andre, from the photography club. Andre chews with his mouth open. They have little to nothing to say to each other. Get it on, anyway. At this point, she figures, why not? Feels like a rebound.
Montage of life. Goes to college (Architecture, Cornell). Graduates. Can’t get a job. Gets high and flips out while driving to Baltimore, imagines her life as an anime movie. Still thinks so 12 hours later in a sobering-up epiphany. Next morning, thinks maybe not. Gets high and flashes back to childhood diner, filled with corpulent old men stuffing their faces. Hates society. Runs into Kirk, accidentally, at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Back together. Ultimately, they break up. Girl forced to marry cheesy guy from work, Aaron. Turns out she loves him.
Aaron and girl are expecting. Take a vacation. Baby boy born a month early in an airplane over Spanish airspace. Officially a Spanish citizen. Runs away to Spain at 17. Aaron and girl yell at each other. She hits him. He loves her. They break up. It’s human nature to argue. Human nature to fight. Human nature to be alone. Marriage? Unnatural.
Girl dies at 86 years old, living by herself in a lean-to in New Zealand. Yelling. Always yelling.
Funeral filled with people. Girl forced to admit she likes most of them. It’s sad. Flash back to 1997 — girl drives alone down deserted highway. Music plays as she runs away. Sad music. Not sad enough to keep the rising tide from rising. The end.
I hope you are sufficiently amused, and that you get how the songs come into this story. (Hint: it is in chronological order), and are not too depressed. My iTunes shuffle apparently wanted this to be a sad story. And I hope you got some good ideas for new music to listen to. (Daughters of the Soho Riots, for example is a stupendous song!) Go be artsy!