Saturday, November 7, 2009

Exit Music and Mariah

As the second part in a continuing series, Dr. True's Soup and Read official music critic, J. Zachary Kessler, offers his top five songs of a particular decade. Today, the 1990s. Next month, the 1640s.

1. Exit Music (for a Film) - Radiohead
2. Goin’ Out West – Tom Waits
3. F.E.E.L.I.N.G. C.A.L.L.E.D. L.O.V.E. – Pulp
4. Halo –Depeche Mode
5. All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey


O.K. Computer, the album on which #1 appears, remains the one event album I listened to repeatedly with a group, as if it was an appointment. Dom Musacchio, my good friend from high school, played it constantly when we hung out in his dorm room.

While we listened, a group of us would scan through the school's face book (an actual book, not the web site) and rate all of the girls who we knew and wanted to know. It was literally sophomoric, but we kept it pretty respectful. I for one never gave below a 7.2, and it was during that time that I importantly fell in love with a particular angle of female head-tilt: precisely 18 degrees to the left.

On Tom Waits, I can only say that my favorite of his is Ol' 55, with San Diego Serenade a close, close second.

Pulp and Depeche Mode both sound like styles of juice to me and I will offer no comment on them.


Now for a mini-essay on Mariahs:

My first crush was on a Mariah. We were in Kindergarten and used to trudge underneath the abandoned swing-set during recess. She had a gray coat and perpetually visible breath. (I feel that memories which originate in February may have a longer life-expectancy than others). Even though we were five, our relationship was the most bad-ass I've ever had: we were always outside in the cold, always kicking at stones, just a pair of loners learning about like-liking, learning our letters.

(What am I rebelling against? Whaddya got?)

We talked about days of the week, weather, sharing, numbers (I told her 'eight' always made me think of the color green: she melted). We talked about getting out of that town, just hittin' the road. After nap-time maybe.

The name Mariah means 'bitter', but she was my sweetie.

Mariah and I never held hands or anything, but we were pretty serious nonetheless. One day, later in the school year, we spat on the same bug.

We went our separate ways after Kindergarten, though. I to first grade. She to Belgium to become a chanteuse. We wrote for awhile, but life and learning to read got in the way.

I saw her one more time, the day I went off to college. I'd stepped into the local store, Magical Child, to buy a memento, and there she was. It was funny to see someone from the earliest frontier of my childhood on the day that I was headed away from it for good. I told her as much (though I didn't say "frontier of my childhood;" she might have melted).

We smiled some about our short, shared history, which, of course, we'd completely forgotten.

In Kindergarten, we learned a lot about imagination together. We liked to make things up, and, sometimes, I still do. But there's a 22-year-old, silver-and-white, second-and-half clip on the bizarrely-edited newsreel of my memory that is pure and unimagined Mariah. I thought I should colorize and archive before it decayed.


Rob Strong said...

Synesthesia: the association of separate sensory or cognitive pathways (green eights and the like). Brain zeugma?

Joe said...

I, too, loved a Mariah, from about 4th to 8th grade. She was always at least 6 inches taller than me.

Thanks for bringing her back.

Zach said...


You might want to try "Big Black Mariah" by Tom Waits as a bridge between your two post topics. (despite the qualifiers, I suspect, being not all that accurate with respect to your first love)