Somewhere around my sophomore/ junior year in high school, I discovered the band The Cure. They released the album in 1989, but it would take two years for any of it to reach my ears. That was the way of small towns. We were always behind. Movies hit the one-screen theater on Main street about a year after release. The latest fashion and trends hit us two or three years later than they did in big city areas. Music was no different. It didn’t help that I lived in a radio void. None of the local stations played the music I wanted to listen too. Late on Saturday nights, if the skies were clear and the wind was blowing at just the right speeds, I could pick up an hour or two of a college station that would play indie/alternative music. In those brief two hours, I learned about punk bands like the Police and the Ramones. I learned about another famous Elvis and the Flaming Lips. The Talking Heads and the Pixies and Echo and Bunnymen were frequently played and I soaked it all up.
A friend introduced me to the Cure. She handed me Disintegration and I took it home and copied it. God, remember coping tapes and CDs? Or recording radio stations? I did all of those things. I played that album over and over and over. I listened to that album so much that I was able to mimic a British accent. That new trick got me an important role in a short play we were doing that year. If you were to ask me now why on earth this was the only album I listened too for months and months, I could not really tell you why. Something about that music just hit a target with my teenage soul. The music alone just felt big to me, meaningful, important. It was that time in my life when I was young and ridiculous and believed I could be just like Molly Ringwald in any John Hughes movie. I wanted to be cool and wise and different, but I wanted to be just like everyone else too. If I’m honest? I still want all of those things. Pictures of You can still feel like tiny needles poking my heart, more so now then in my youth. Funny how the songs we love morph in meaning as we age.
Steven tagged me in a Facebook game to post a top ten album for ten days. When I posted my choice for Day 1, my friend Sarah commented on how she wished these games came with an explanation. Why this album, Cindy? This game isn’t easy for me. I don’t listen to music this way, albums at a time. Usually I listen to an artist, not a particular album. My current addictions are Lizzo, Yola, and Neko Case because we just saw her in concert and it was the best show I’ve seen in ages. I can’t get enough of her music right now. Andrew Bird has been playing frequently in my playlist, along with Father John Misty and Arcade Fire. The National. The soundtrack to Hamilton because I’m resigned to the fact that I will probably never get a chance to see this musical. Morrissey. Courtney Barnett. The First Aid Kit. My music is all over the place. My musical taste is undefinable. So when asked to pick my top ten albums, I struggle. I started choosing albums for their nostalgic value. Specific memories are tied to these albums and this album triggers memories of me driving along back roads to get to this or that. It reminds me of those times I felt lonely and isolated.
It was the album of my teenage angst.