• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post

    Just close your eyes, dear

    It was kind of weird to look at one of ASV Michele’s recent posts of downloadable songs. Among them, the last of the four, was “Possession” by Sarah McLachlan. Good grief–the flashbacks! I still listen to most of the stuff I liked in college occasionally, so it doesn’t feel frozen in 1991-95.

    But “Possession” was one of those songs you didn’t have to own. It was on college radio all the time. All your arty women friends had the album. (They loved that horrible flippin’ song near the end that went, “Your love is better than a butterscotch sundae with extra marshmallows,” or whatever, too. Girls can be such chicks sometimes.) Every a capella group that had women soloists performed it.

    Personally, I already had a favorite smart-folk-Canadian
    -woman-adds-hip-hop-rhythms-to-her-neuroses-circa-1993 album, so I wasn’t all that impressed. Anyway, I don’t know what I’d think of the whole album now, but hearing the single for the first time in 10 years…wow. What a beautifully-modulated song. Pretty and creepy in just the right proportions. Perfect for listening to at night in a darkened apartment. Well, assuming you’re not in the middle of an unrequited obsession in real life, in which case that’s probably not such a good idea. Personally, I find it strangely comforting, since when it was out, I still had no idea I was a repressed homosexual and was figuring I’d become one of those professors who never fall in love with anything but their books. I’m glad I ended up with books and an Atsushi, if not the professorship.

    10 Responses to “Just close your eyes, dear”

    1. Kris says:

      It’s somehow both comforting and disheartening how much overlap there is in our musical tastes. I had no idea anyone else ever listened to ‘When I Was A Boy’.

      She’s only gotten more etherial (and amazing) since. She even comes to Japan – I think last year?

      There’s also a crazy version of Possession on here. It’s not good, exactly, but definitely interesting.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I love When I Was a Boy! (I still think my very favorite song of hers is “Ingrid and the Footman” from The Walking, though.) The thing with Sarah McLachlan is, I’m afraid the rest of her music would be the expected Songs to Make Chintz Slipcovers by. Jane can get away with being borderline-precious because she’s a total freak.

    3. John says:

      I remember commenting previously that your pop song-based titles go whistling right over my head. You got me thinking about generational differences. Someone postulated that there are really half-decade generations, and I think that’s true. Your pop-culture references go right over my head because I belong to the half generation that started college within 5 years of 1985. Guns and Roses, Whitesnake and Fleetwood Mac (let’s not talk about Great White, Tiffany or Debbie Gibson) were blasting from MTV-tuned dorm TVs when I was in college. And I didn’t have any arty women friends: my college was one of the last 3 all-male schools in the country: RHIOT

      It doesn’t help that I went to the USSR in 1990 and didn’t resurface in the West until 1991, at which time I fell headlong into grad school – there is a 5 year gap in my pop culture awareness that pretty much exactly overlaps your formative years.

    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      Five-year generations? Hmmm. It probably seems that way to those of us who went to residential colleges, because we spent a four-year block of time there. I don’t know that in a general cultural sense I’d buy it. Maybe.

      It’s interesting you say that, though, because, of course, I’ve now been in Japan almost nine years, so my knowledge of American pop culture has reached vanishing point. In fact, when the Lillith Fair was still going, a song came on in a restaurant or something while I was visiting home, and I didn’t know who it was. My friend looked at me as if I’d just landed from Mars and said, “Uh, that would be Sarah McLachlan. You thought ‘Possession’ was inescapable a few years ago? You didn’t know from inescapable.” So I was already lost by 1999-ish.

      On the bright side, I don’t think I’ve seen a single episode of reality TV in my life. Most of what we get on Japanese cable is E/R and the cop shows: CSI, Third Watch, Homicide. And even they’re the episodes from five years ago.

    5. John says:

      I dunno if I buy the half-generation idea or not either, but high school and college do cut things into 4 year chunks. When I was teaching undergrads as a 22 year old, they seemed a world apart from me for reasons other than just maturity of mental outlook.

      From what I remember of the radio, Michael Jackson dominated the music scene in the early 80s, while heavy metal reigned later on. Very different feel to my cultural memories of 1982 versus 1988.

      Already lost by 1999ish – hah! I have another cultural gap from 1999 – 2001 from when I was in Japan. But I think every American should spend 10% of their adult life outside the US. So far I’m doing OK.

    6. Mark says:

      I haven’t listened to When I Was a Boy, but 10 years earlier (oh, God, that’s depressing) I was in love with Mimi On the Beach.

    7. Sean Kinsell says:

      We’ll just say you were ten then, darling.

    8. Toby says:

      Sean: off topic I realize…but are you much of a Ryu (not to be conused with Haruki) Murakami fan? If so, any recommendations on the novels?

      BTW…most recent e-mail to you was bounced back (or should I just take the hint?).

    9. Toby says:

      Oops…I see you have gmail now. I like gmail…it’s the wave of the future…the wave of the future…the wave of the future (OK I’ll stop now)

    10. Sean Kinsell says:

      Darn. I thought I’d managed to include everyone in my mass “I’m dropping the e-mail that goes to my domain” message. I must have missed you. Sorry–it may be because I’m still not used to associating your screen name with you, but you’re not blocked, or anything.

      As for Murakami, uh, no, not really a fan. I can ask around, though. It’s easy enough.

    Leave a Reply