A long February weekend in San Diego was all day-glow smoothies, hefty breakfast burritos, and Fleetwood Mac, maybe in that order. It’s not a beach vacation if you don’t listen to Rumours at least twice, preferably while accumulating sand in the tiny crevices of your toes, or chugging down the main drag with the windows down. And it’s not Rumours if it’s not stuck in your head for at least another three weeks, conjuring the smell of melting sunscreen and coconut surf wax as the wind cuts clean and cold against your cheeks. Summer is months away, but when it comes, listen to “Never Going Back Again” while tracing the edge of the ocean with your bare feet.
I wore my “Happy Songs” playlist down to the bone months ago, and I’ve needed a set of musical uppers ever since. “I’ll Come Running to Tie Your Shoes” by Brian Eno and “Swimming Pool” by Toy Love both do the trick, as does old favorite “Day Dreaming” by Aretha Franklin. My nerves have been fried and scattered like some strange delicacy lately; music puts them back on the mend. (Wasn’t it Frank Zappa, my spirit animal right now, who said “Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid”?)
Misheard lyrics abound—“Medicine Wheel” spun circles between my ears for a month at least, and I always thought the chorus was “Are you salmon, baby/under the bridge” instead of “Are you saddened baby/under the bridge.” “Dry the Rain” played a similar trick for years, when I turned it up and was convinced that they were saying, over and over again, “You will be all right” because I needed to hear that. “I will be your light” is still good though, maybe better. If we’re talking about the how and when of consuming songs, I recommend taking a long walk up big hills in San Francisco, and timing this six minute gem just right so that you reach the crescendo of your walk, peer out at the city, as the Beta Band chants “I will be your light.”
Remember when I made fun of Bob Dylan’s, well, Dylanyness this week? I felt bad. I contracted Bob Dylan guilt. Do you, Dylan, and I’ll promise to never see you in concert again and keep listening to you and half-heartedly defending you to haters. In the meantime, haters and non-haters, “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” is one of my favorite Dylan songs. It’s sunny and lovely and always reminds me to watch High Fidelity again if its been too long. It also pairs well with “Help Me Make It Through the Night” by Johnny Cash and June Carter.
Sometimes you’re sitting at your desk, rattled and riddled with racing thoughts, and the right song comes on. The right song, one you’ve never heard, one you absolutely needed. It’s a rare gift from the universe. Celebrate it. Cheers to The Belle Brigade’s “Loser” (which I had heard once or twice, but only paid a fraction of my attention to it each time), which appeared and filled my speakers when I needed it most.