You Might Wanna Turn Your Head

posted 8 Jan 2004, 10PM | 16 Comments

On Sunday night I realized how easy it would be to synch my iPod with my roomate's music collection, so I set it into his dock and went to sleep, as the FireWire cable performed its magic.

During my morning commute on Monday I scrolled through this new grab bag of tunes and settled on an album I hadn't listened to in about 7 years: Ani DiFranco's Not a Pretty Girl. It's an album I listened to rather obsessively for about 6 weeks, mostly during winter break of '95/'96, my freshman year of college. That original copy of the album had been sealed in a Case Logic tomb... until my roomate pulled it out and ripped it last month.

It was a surreal and emotional commute, my first day heading back to work following my recent winter break in the cold northeast. I didn't regret forgetting to bring a book. I relived those six weeks all over again, age 18: the hectic move home after finals; sleeping late and waking up depressed and sluggish; lingering discomfort in my own skin; cold days in an empty house; crystaline trees, snow-caked; laying awake in my dimly-lit dormroom; dark rooms in my parents' house; the composition of bad poetry; multiple girls and multiple confusions.

I can think of very few albums that I've immersed myself into for such an intense period and then put away for such a long time, never overwriting the memories with fresh listens. Now the album offers a tenuous wormhole back to that last incarnation of Me that seems, in my mind, significantly different from the person I am today. Back before everything became... easy. And before my body finally stopped growing. As years pass I have trouble remembering what made him tick, what was so difficult, what made him turn little things huge... where the dark moods in dark rooms came from. But the music helps, a sad sonic snapshot, even though the modern me hears new things in the music.

There are 16 Comments


8 Jan 04 at 01:57PM East Coast Adam said:

Music can do that for you... good or bad. For me The Shelia Devine's New Parade will always remind of breaking up with my long time girl and the countless number of walks I took around Slummaville listening to it... I don't listen to it much anymore.


8 Jan 04 at 03:30PM awol said:

seminal freshman college albums (which still transport me to the cold confines of Boston Common):

Tom Waits, Bone Machine
REM, New Adventures in Hi-Fi


8 Jan 04 at 03:51PM Dave said:

U2's POP really takes me back. Haven't given it a listen in years. Odelay, as well.

Car Button Cloth is freshman year in the honor dorms at UHA, chillin with Tom Yagielski.

I'll post more as they come to me.


8 Jan 04 at 03:53PM ryan said:

New Adventures in Hi-Fi was sophomore year, actually, and that's one that burns pretty bright nostalgic for me too.


9 Jan 04 at 09:55AM ryan said:

And POP smacks of sophomore year spring... time to bust that one out again.

There was this new agey tape called "Christiphori's Dream" that my parents used to play in the car on long trips to New Jersey and such. I gotta track that one down, because I bet its timeless ambience will take me back to the awkward back seat days of middle school.


9 Jan 04 at 10:46AM alison said:

my friend melissa and i, driving from fredericksburg to austin at night, screaming "i could be the million that you never made" at the top of our lungs. sunroof open.


9 Jan 04 at 10:52AM ryan said:

While I'm all for screaming out through a sun roof "Million" one of the few songs on the album that I'm jsut not sold on. I think the ending turns me off, because I somehow jsut can't relate.


9 Jan 04 at 01:39PM amy said:

i know it's basically her most famous song (maybe...thanks to alana davis), but i vividly remember the first time i really *listened to* "32 flavors." wow.


9 Jan 04 at 01:52PM ryan said:

I still think that's the best song on the album, and I loved it the moment I first heard it. It's funny - my musical tastes have changed so much since 1995 (and my ears have evolved) so the extended drum solo ending sounded completely different to me this week.


9 Jan 04 at 11:49PM alison said:

i never liked "million" before that, and i've never really been able to listen to it since. you're right about that song--usually it seems a bit much. i think it was just something about that particular night.

i got into ani after hearing "shameless" on the radio (which seems amazing to me now, that they played ani difranco on a houston alternative station), and two friends and i went to one of her shows a few weeks later. the venue was so small; much smaller than anyplace she'd be able to play now. i'm glad i got to see her back then, when people yelled out requests and she played them.


10 Jan 04 at 11:53PM Bobo said:

Hello Nasty will forevor be the one album that brings me back to trouble. For 2 years I listened to that 9and anything on WBCN at the time) religiously. All i gotta hear is one chord or base drop and I'm back to crying and commander keen.


11 Jan 04 at 12:01PM Mark said:

Freshman year was a mix of Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Klebanow's Pink Floyd, and of course the music of Battle Arena Toshinden.
Sophmore year was REM Adventures in Hi-Fi and some Beck for good measure.

Nothing like music brings back nostalgia flashbacks. Hearing Right Now by Van Halen still brings me right back to studying for 9th grade Biology class. Although I hate that Van Halen song much more than I ever hated biology.


19 Jan 04 at 12:19PM girlwonder said:

ahh! the joys of music. i have quite a few albums that carry me places like that and there is nothing quite like memories when they're accompanied by music.


22 Jan 04 at 12:09AM ~ JON ~ said:

Music is strange like that.. I still have flashbacks to The Smashing Pumpkins "1979".. first day of my junior year of high school blasting that song with my friends in the car singing along... and Weezer, gotta love the blue album..."MY NAME IS JONAS"... good times good times.


22 Jan 04 at 02:45PM ryan said:

Ah, 1979. A song so brilliant it built the nostalgia right into the rhythm, lyrics and video.


27 Jan 04 at 03:08AM Emma said:

Dire Straits' album Best of is the one I'll never get tired of. Reminds me when I lived in London staring out on the dirty streets all day long from work..

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