Sunday, September 5, 2010

Chasing Beautiful

Friday came and went, a bizarre, high-noon filled with all manner of beautiful and horrible. Which is why I rarely go to my hairstylist anymore. Don't get me wrong-she is talented and amazing and I do love me some sleek-cut locks, but it's the forced conversation with subtitles missing, the small-talk that leaves me feeling like an Us Weekly celeb gossip follower, and vanity with a hefty-enough price tag to make me say, "Yeah, I think I'll go all Crystal Gayle next year." But let's start at the beginning: the beautiful.

Ever hear a song for that first time that makes you want to stay too long in a hot car when you're running late and you don't notice the seat belt cutting you or people passing by? The song was layered and sad and rich and powerful. It made me wish I was a better writer. In those four minutes, it knocked every other favorite off its pedestal. The song, you ask? You'll have to read on to find out.

So I sat in the hair stylist's chair, this orchestral/rock masterpiece in my head and laid out my wishes: Layered, resting on my shoulder. Not on the shoulder of the invisible fairy dangling from my earlobes. My shoulder. Yeah, this was the horrible part. That fairy? Apparently, she does exist. But then my horror at my own insignificant misfortune was underscored when the woman in the chair beside me had a stroke. She was smiling and peaceful and there one minute and not the next. They came and asked her questions she couldn't answer and carried her away. I felt blessed to be able to stay and make that small talk and have too-short hair. I paid too much and left.

Later that day, I searched the internet using the lyrics I remembered. Maybe I wanted to recapture the warmth in the car, those few fleeting moments when the day had been beautiful and everyone was smiling. I watched the video on YouTube, tried to align the lead singer's voice with his surprising Ozzy-esque appearance, mourned that my interpretation did not come through visually. Yes, music is more powerful when listeners take the meaning and make it theirs. But mine wasn't theirs, so I just close my eyes when I hear it and it stays on that pedestal.

If you're curious, it's here.

What was the last song that fell instantly into your favorite category?


Charles Gramlich said...

"No rest for the wicked," by some band whose name I don't know. Just loved the beat to that, and the lyrics were pretty cool too, for a change.

Pamela Cayne said...


This has been one of your most powerful posts in a long time.


Jen FitzGerald said...

Little Wonders by Rob Thomas from "Meet the Robinsons"

Crash Into Me by The Dave Matthews Band

All My Love by Led Zepplin

all on the current must-listen-to-over-and-over list

Marilyn Brant said...

This was a perfect post, L.A.
Thank you -- for your words and for sharing this song. There was another Shinedown song I heard and really liked, but I can't think of the title right now. I should look it up...

I've had similar car/song experiences, but the one I remember most vividly (for a number of reasons) was actually 20 years ago: Darden Smith "Listen to My Own Voice" :).

laughingwolf said...

not 'the last', but one stuck with me