Wednesday, October 25, 2006


This is a really random thing to love because it is not easily quantifiable. I love looking at something old and familiar in a new way. I am having a relatively hard time remembering times when this has happened, but I know it does happen and I know I always like it. Luckily for my bad memory, and me it happened just yesterday so I can talk about it like a relatively sane and rational person.

Another thing I really like is books and I like people to give me good books to read. When I was in NYC recently, Shoshana gave me two books Tender Is The Night and Motherless Brooklyn. I read Tender Is The Night first and thought it was pretty ok. It certainly didn’t make me look at things in a different way though. I am now reading Motherless Brooklyn. The book is just hilarious. The main character is tourettic and the descriptions of his tics and the mental processes leading up to these tics are wonderfully written. One thing, however really struck me. This is not a spoiler so don’t worry.

Music had never made much of an impression on me until the day in 1986 when, sitting in the passenger seat of Minna’s Cadillac, I first heard the single “Kiss” squirting its manic way out of the car radio. To that point in my life I might have once or twice heard music that toyed with feelings of claustrophobic discomfort and expulsive release, and which in so doing passing charmed my Tourette’s gulled it with a sense of recognition, like Art Carney or Daffy Duck – but here was a song that lived entirely in that territory, guitar and voice twitching and throbbing within obsessively delineated bounds, alternately silent and plosive. It so pulsed with Tourettic energies that I could surrender to its tormented, squeaky beat and let my syndrome live outside my brain for once, live in the air instead.

Prince is another thing that I love, but that isn’t what is important. What is important is that I immediately began to think of “Kiss” and tried to put myself in that position, to hear the song the way this character heard it. My iPod was almost out of power but as soon as I got off the train I put in my headphones and promptly dialed up “Kiss”. The passage made so much sense. The staccato rhythms, the periodic Prince outbursts it all made me feel the way that reading the book made me feel. I listened to various Prince songs the whole way home (which meant like 2 songs) but I could see why Prince was this character’s favorite artist. Not every song was as obvious as “Kiss” but in everything I listened to the sporadic yet predictable nature of it was evident. I don’t know if I will ever listen to Prince in the same way again.

I don’t think this knowledge will either heighten or diminish my love of Prince in any way. I just think this passage was the beginning of a greater listening revolution. We all know that music evokes emotion, but can it also evoke condition? Can listening to a particular piece or style put us in a mind state similar to that of a person we would never think twice about trying to understand on that deep of a level. What does it say about how we all hear music differently? Even if two good friends love the same band do they love it for the same reasons? Do they even hear the same things behind the music? Anyway. As I love books, Prince, music, and revelations yesterday was a very good day for me. We have a few new songs today, as usual. Get guessin!

1. The morn the morn the morn that I was born my old man beat up the Dr. he clocked the Dr. because the Dr. said I looked like Chewbacca. Why Is Everybody Always Picking on Me, The Bloodhound Gang. Identified by CSMC

2. Standing on the corner of a civilization. There's a time there's a place for me.

3. Well you’re dirty and sweet clad in black don’t look back and I love you. Get It On, T-Rex. Identified by Shadow Falcon

4. I’m not your woman I’m not your man I am something that you’ll never understand. I Would Die 4 U, Prince. Identified by The Doc

5. You’re a white-collar boy and you gave into the law. White-Collar Boy, Belle and Sebastian. Identified by Monica


The Doc said...

Number 4 is "I Would Die 4 U" by, of all people, Prince. Man, I love Prince. Ruins a little of my cred, but I don't have much to begin with.

Mrs. Loquacious said...

I love looking at things in new ways, too! Just tonight I forced Hubbs down on the floor beside me (on our shaggy rug), so that we could lie on our backs and stare at our ceiling in the dark. It gave us a whole new feel and outlook on the living room (we had never done this before), and I much appreciated that change of perspective.

Monica said...

5 is Belle and Sebastian, White Collar Boy.

I love when people make me see books I've read differently from the way I saw them...unless it is revealed that I completely missed the point!

ShadowFalcon said...

3 is T -rex get it on.

'Tender is the Night' really grew on me, one of those thats better in retrospect.

I really tried to read Johnatan Letham but I just don't get him...oh well

Lizza said...

What an interesting thought, about music putting us in a condition and how it appeals in different ways even to people with similar tastes. I think each individual perceives a song differently and that songs impact each person in different ways, too, no matter how subtle.

janeylynne said...

Love Prince, too. I saw him in concert a few years ago. He was amazing! There's just something about him and his music that is so sexy and charged with energy. Love it!

BTW--The Muppets on my blog WAS all for you! ;p

csmc said...

1)"Why's everybody always picking on me?" By the Bloodhound Gang :)

I don't really like this song but I'm not one to judge. ;)

NATALIE said...

Doc- Price ruins no cred. Ever. He is a musical genius.

Mrs. L- That is very dead poet's of you. I like it.

mizzle- Word. I hate when i miss the point. Have you seen the video for white collar boy on demand it's kinda crappy :(

shadow- Tender is the night could get better with time. Who knows. I re-read most things and my perspective sometimes changes

Lizza- We all see things differently no matter what. My favorite is that whole "is what i see as blue the same thing as what you see as blue" question.

Janey- I saw Prince on that last tour also it was incredible! I went home to Minneapolis for it because I was sure he would really rock his hometown and i was right. I also got to attend a smaller post-concert at paisley park where he played until like 4am to a croud of about 500.

CSMC- Yeah not the greatest song but, like I always say, i have to put on whatever song shuffle tells me too. sometimes those songs are not so good.

Monica said...

I like the video for White Collar Boy (Which I saw on demand) because Stuart looks really cute and then at the end he stares at the camera and smiles. NICE. BUt other than that, yeah it isn't that good.

Justice~! said...

Dr. Teeth is dead wrong - Prince runs no one's cred. In fact, I *sang* "Kiss" while walking down the street on a date including that high-pitched Tourette's yadayada near the end. My date was amazed I could hit those notes and was suitably impressed but I was never able to duplicate again - not that I haven't tried for Mrs. L many times! =)

The Doc said...

Hey guys, I'm not saying that Prince isn't AWESOME. He's just not cool, by most peoples' standards. But, in defense of - and perhaps to apologize for - my earlier statements, "Kiss" is my song at the Kara-O-Ke. I rock the hello out of that song. I even won a prize one night with it. Damn, now this is making me want to sing Kara-O-Ke again...