Lately, I've been waking up with this song in my head a lot. It's weird, because I haven't listened to this album since I was about 16 years old. And yet, there it is, each morning, almost perfectly formed in my memory. Even the words of the chorus, impeccably preserved as if in some kind of ancient teenage amber.
Maybe it's because the 90s (particularly the early 90s) are back in full force, and I'm not just talking about tiny floral print, vests, jean jackets, big floppy hats and Doc Martens (not being worn by only lesbians). Anika and I heard some pretty funny things on mainstream NY radio in the cab on our way to JFK at 4:30 AM. I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany's? You said I think I remember the film. Yes I recall I think we both kinda liked it. And I said, well, that's the one thing we got. . I love you always forever. Near and far. Closer together. Everywhere, I will be with you. Everything, I will do for you.
These particular mainstream pop hits are not shining examples of lyrical composition. But then again, which era's mainstream pop hits are really? OK, I can think of some. But they're not the majority by any means. Hey. You. Get offa my cloud.
That said, there's something about the pop music of the 90s that's so innocent and insular and sheltered. You can tell this is pre-9/11, but more than that, it's almost as if you can hear that soft, off-the-cuff, 90s way of working through distasteful, sad or emotional matters in these songs. It's like listening to the beginnings of the country trying to be PC or racially aware or maybe catching a faint hint of the dot com boom picking up. I close my eyes and see the "issues" as presented in My So-Called Life: fake edgy...which actually was real edgy in that time. Instead of actual homelessness, wouldn't it be better to just show Juliana Hatfield as a homessless angel? Great idea!
Aptly, this song actually references a number of mid-90s hits and at the same time manages to be just as earnest, retouched, saccharine and dated (not the Devil's Haircut was ever really any of these things, but Beck was always kind of an exception to that rule, probably on account of his Scientologist Fluxus roots).
Anyway, innocent and dated as it is, I still love this fucking song. It brings me back to a precise moment, sitting in the back seat of my parent's car listening to this album on my Discman. That's right, DISCMAN.
I also can't help but wonder if waking up every morning with this in my head is supposed to mean something. Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me to be more earnest? Or to embrace the trend and go back to the 90s? To feel entitled and stupid and pure? To dress in floral prints?
Or maybe I just have a brain tumor or something.
But there is a slide show
And it's so slow,
Flashing through my mind
Today was the day,
But only for the first time.
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