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Loss Leaders (or, how songs remind me)

September 16, 2007

I’ve always associated songs with things that were going on in my life the first time I heard them.

I remember several years ago as M and I drove through Chapel Hill, he asked me if I did that. I guess at the time I was dealing with certain songs reminding me of HIM, so I didn’t want to admit that I did. I acted like I didn’t know what he was talking about as he explained that he can’t help but be reminded of a certain time in his life whenever he heard songs from a certain Fastball album (the one we happened to be listening to at that moment).

I admitted to him later that I knew exactly what he was talking about, and how it’s hard for me to hear anything off The Posies’ “Frosting on the Beater” without being reminded of Allen, specifically of the trip we took up to NYC (must’ve been 12 or 13 years ago now). I had barely heard of the band prior to that trip, but Alan forced us to listed to that record several times over. I quickly recognized its brilliance, and it’s still one of my favorite records.

Fast forward about 10 years later, and I’m introduced to the Matt Pond PA song “Closer.” The lyrics to that song are rather ambiguous, but I like to think the song refers to two people growing closer even though there’s clearly something separating them. At the time I first heard it, M and I were just starting to become closer, so now whenever I hear that song I’m reminded of several years ago, as we were spending more and more time together but at the same time trying to keep some distance from each other.

Now fast forward to today, and as I’m listening to my new obsession (Jango.com), Spoon‘s “Loss Leaders” comes on. The first time I heard that song was about five years ago. A certain someone was in the middle of band practice. One of his bandmates had brought that song to practice so they could learn and play it at their next show. I was just starting to become a big Spoon fan so I instantly liked the song anyway, but I was especially taken by the lyrics. Another one that’s largely open to interpretation, but something about that song just sounded dark to me, a lot darker than most Spoon songs I had heard. Lyrics like “… everything I knew, and loved about you,” “I’ll put them all away,” and “Now he tried to change their ways” made me think that this was a song about a failed relationship. As I heard it for the very first time, my own relationship with the bass player in the next room was failing. I still can’t listen to it without thinking of him.

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