Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude three: Memories, through a modern filter...

Friday was a singular day. I went to the gynocologist (whee! Nothing like wearing a sheet in front of other grown-ups who still have their clothes on) and then ran a few errands: I've needed to go to the scout store ever since Thomas became a Webelo, and since Tai Pan is right there a few blocks away, I headed over there as well. Just as I got into my car to immerse myself in autumn closeouts and early Christmas decorating spendor, I heard a familiar-yet-not song on the radio: U2's song So Cruel, sung by an unidentifiable-yet-familiar-sounding band. I called the radio station to find out that, in tribute to the 20 years (!) since Achtung Baby came out, the UK magazine Q released a CD full of the Achtung Baby songs sung by cover bands.

Be still my heart.

So Cruel, I found out, was being sung by Depeche Mode. There were other bands modern covers sung by popular modern bands included on the CD. I posted something on Facebook about hearing the song, and within hours I had access to the entire CD. I listened a bit on Friday, but today was my first chance to really listen to AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered .

Achtung Baby was my first ever CD. For reals. I remember buying it from the Shopko where I worked when I was a junior in high school. I listened to it incessantly for months, eventually adding Joshua Tree and Rattle and Hum to my collection. But my first love was Achtung Baby, my favorite song being So Cruel (a song I have only ever heard on the radio twice. Twice in 20 years, seriously?).  I listened to it at a time when I had an interesting group of friends. Most of the boys were a year older than me and most didn't go to my high school. One friend in particular (he was only ever a friend, but he was an awesome guy and we usually had a good time hanging out) always had really good music in his car. He frequently let me drive his car, and since I was in a U2 craze and he didn't mind, they were one of the bands we listened to, along with The Cure, Depeche Mode, Peter Murphy (furthermore, all of which were bands that were sort of inherited tastes thanks to my sister, who was on the forefront of alternative music in the 80's). I have very fond memories of these days; I sort of became myself that year, the personality and struggles and many personal demons were encounters I had during this time. Sort of bitter, but mostly sweet.

So, when I started listening to AHK-toong BAY-bi Covered today, it was a perfect mix of past and present. So Cruel sung by Depeche Mode is a mixture of my own favorite song with overtones of remembering DM's Somebody played at the end of every alternative night at the Ivy Tower mixed with Amy blaring DM's cassette tape of Music for the Masses for an entire winter the year I was in 8th grade.  Brandon Flowers belting out "Sometimes I feel like I don't know, sometimes I feel like checking out - I want to get it wrong!" is me and Amy exchanging emails while I was in Virginia of our favorite song lyrics mixed with my kids yelling "The song maker says it aint so bad; the dream maker's gonna make you mad, the space man says everybody look down - it's all in your mind!" while dancing in my kitchen.  I feel like the covered songs are more enjoyable almost than the originals, because I feel nostalgia of the lyrics and notes sung in voices that fill my ears during my present-day runs: The Killers, The Fray, Snow Patrol, Damien Rice. These are the bands I listen to when I run with my iPod, rather than my 1991 ghetto blaster with radio, double cassette and single CD player (which I still have, thankyouverymuch). But the music is right out of 1991; bringing my 16 year-old-self far closer than a listen to the original Achtung Baby could ever bring.

Today I'm grateful for memories viewed through a different lens; the music is still there, still part of my soul and it dredges up that person who I used to be and still am, allowing me to see her from the person I am today. I'm still her, but she isn't me.


Amy Sorensen said...

I don't have quite as strong of a connection to the original CD, but I still love what you wrote about it. That mix of current perspective and old memories...

it is good.