In no particular order, five out of thousands, chosen from the recent rotation (even though many are serious throwbacks), I present the below. What song/book/screenplay do you wish you’d written first?
Matchbox 20 – You Won’t Be Mine
I first heard this in…sophomore year? of high school. I had downloaded it during a LimeWire spree in a pre-requisite computer class that was frankly beneath me. I spent most of my time emailing nonsense to my buddy/brother Ethan who was stuck in another computer class directly across the hall. It was our elegant solution to more efficient programs like AIM being blocked by the school. In between inbox refreshing, LimeWire and the stack of blank CDs I’d bring with me helped pass the time. I’ve always envied piano players. I took a class in junior high but the teacher was a heinous bitch and I learned more just watching my voice teacher play, so I mostly riffed. Maybe I’d be more disciplined nowadays but alas, no regular, solo access to a set of keys. YET!
I wish I had written the piano music, the orchestral arrangement that accompanies and the simple lyrics that so concisely put my feelings on a plate. After I heard it, I sketched a curving sidewalk with piano keys for a curb. I imagined a cityscape behind it and a busking musician with a hat out, but drawing isn’t my strong suit. Another item on the to-learn list.
Amanda Palmer – Leeds United
Ugh. I can’t tell you how often I’ve wished I had Amanda Palmer’s LIFE. I know I’m romanticizing and ignoring the subtleties of being another human but, jealousy. I’m currently attempting to curate a life in which I give no fucks and sing my goddamn heart out, look how I want instead of how I have to for work and be generally fabulous. And I’ve always wanted to belt into one those vintage mics. SOON.
I could point to countless facets of the music and lyrics (setting aside the music video performance that sets my eyes aflame with envy), but mostly I’m devastated I didn’t write,
“That never talking thing you do
Is effective, it’s effective
Your shoulder’s icy colder, oh
Than a death wish, than a death wish”
Modest Mouse – Spitting Venom
Picking just one Modest Mouse song was nearly impossible. I have regular fantasies of starting a MM cover band. At the very least, a cover band that has a metric fuckton of their songs in our repertoire. I have a fab group of ladyfriends who are currently humouring me that they’ll get on this train when I move back to MA. I remain cautiously optimistic, but our music tastes are…different, to put it mildly. I’m fairly certain Brittany weeps at my spotify selection on the daily. I don’t listen to much that was released after 2008. I KNOW, I KNOW. Blame my classic rock father and folksy/pop mother.
I love how hard this band rocks. I love the wordsmith lyrics of every fucking song. I wish I could plant myself inside their heads for a few days. Just camp out in Isaac Brock. Don’t worry, Isaac. I’ll clean up after myself and share my snacks.
“Hold on to what you need
We’ve got a knack for fucked up history
Hold on to what you need
We’ve got a knack for messed up history
Well we went downtown and we sat in the rain
Both looking one direction and waiting for a train of thought over
I didn’t know you kept track I didn’t know there was a score
Well it looks like you’re the winner and I ain’t gonna play no more
Cole Porter – Easy to Love
Oh, Cole. One day I will make my pilgrimage to significant sites of your history and the annual festival. There’s a reason his songs are recorded over and over and over in every different style – his incredible, timeless talent. I am just one of his many admirers. I mean, his vocabulary alone, guys. One day in the afterlife, I am going to sit at his knee and bask. Stephen Fry and Edgar Allan Poe will be there, too, FSM willing.
Counting Crows – Rain King
Adam Duritz has had my heart since forever. One of the only concerts I could ever convince my mom to take me to was Counting Crows. She bought me a sweatshirt in the musical afterglow and I wore. that. shit. OUT. By the end of college that was the rattiest navy sweatshirt you’ve ever seen. I’d even managed to shred the killer thumbholes I’d wiggled in the cuffs. I am actually just now learning this song on my guitar. I can’t account for the hold-up. But when I meet up with Porter & co, deliver me in a black-winged bird – I am the Rain King. Make me a crown of pens and feathers and heather.