I don’t know why I haven’t ever done this before, but better late than never, as the old saying goes.
An internet friend clued me into a thing I’ve seen floating around for a long time, and every time I saw it, I’d think to myself, “gosh, Erin, you should do that,” but the thought was fleeting and I’d forget about it until I’d see it pop up again months later.
Well, this time, I’m going to do it, dagnab it.
I present to you The iPod Challenge. One hundred songs, one hundred posts. Seriously, I’m ticked at myself I haven’t done this before given my mutual love and adoration for both writing and music and now, by the power of Grayskull, I’m combining the two.
For my first post, I have carefully selected the song “Last Goodbye” by the late Jeff Buckley, may he rest in peace.
I didn’t discover Jeff Buckley until late in the game, probably 2004 or so, a good seven years after his death. I remember the exact moment I heard his voice and was instantly stricken by it. I was working for the large retail store that rhymes with Bold Gravy and it was around Christmas time. I was working hard placing merchandise that had just come in on the shipment truck out on the sales floor for all the greedy consumers to snag up as gifts for the impending holiday. Fleece. Lots and lots and lots and lots of fleece. This was back in the day when employees were required to wear the walkie-talkies with headsets and I learned quickly to loathe wearing the contraption on my head as the static charge that would build from handling the stacks of fleece would discharge and I swear to Christ, I could hear myself getting shocked through the earpiece of the headset. And it was a pretty potent jolt, too.
I was in the stock room, climbing over stacks of boxes to find the right sizes to place out on the floor, and a fellow employee was still opening boxes. He was listening to the radio, saving himself from the music playing out on the floor. You know what I’m talking about–this corporation plays loud, obnoxious music on repeat over the sound system from open until close. In a given work day, I heard The Go Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” ten times. So to come back and find this guy was playing decent music was a much welcomed reprieve.
He had chosen the local college station because he is a meta hipster and was hipster even before anyone knew what the fuck a hipster was. The song playing was Buckley’s version of “Hallelujah,” and I don’t care what sort of controversy this ignites, I stand by my claim that his version is one of the best out there. Fuck Leonard Cohen and his droll, monotone version. Eff it in the A. I don’t care if it was the first. It sucks. I hate it.
I digress. That was my first taste of Buckley and like all things that I discover, I become obsessed with finding out more, and I did. I went out and bought the “Grace” album, and it remains one of my all-time favorite albums and I’m on my second–soon to be third copy of the disc because I play it often and with great fervor.
The entire album is liquid gold pouring into my ears. Each song is gorgeous, beautifully composed and sung with such passion that I feel that any person wanting to be a musician should be forced to listen to this album so they know how it’s supposed to be done. So you wanna be a rock star? Listen to this. If you can’t come close to singing even a fraction as well and with such conviction as Jeff Buckley, take your hot pants and guy eyeliner and hit the fuckin’ road, Jack. We don’t need your auto-tuned schlock here.
It’s hard to pinpoint a favorite song, but for the sake of this post, I did and it’s “Last Goodbye.”
It’s about an ending love and it’s a goddamn tearjerker.
“This is our last goodbye
I hate to feel the love between us die
But it’s over
Just hear this and then I’ll go
You gave me more to live for
More than you’ll ever know
This is our last embrace
Must I dream and always see your face?
Why can’t we overcome this wall?
Baby, maybe its just because you didn’t know you at all
Kiss me, please kiss me
But kiss me out of desire, babe, not consolation
Oh, you know it makes me so angry
‘Cause I know that in time, I’ll only make you cry
This is our last goodbye
Did you say, “No, this can’t happen to me”
Did you rush to the phone to call
Was there a voice unkind in the back of your mind
Saying maybe you didn’t know him at all
You didn’t know him at all, oh oh, ya didn’t know
Ooo didn’t know”
Well, the bells out in the church tower chime
Burning clues into this heart of mine
Thinking so hard on her soft eyes
And the memories, offer signs that it’s over
At the time, I was happily married, but because I’m sick and twisted, I remember thinking to myself, “man, if we ever get divorced, I’m so listening to this song on repeat forever because holy shit.”
Flash forward five years! D-i-v-o-r-c-e!
The line that has always resonated with me, even back when the marriage was hunky doory and there were stars in our eyes whenever we looked at each other is “kiss me out of desire, not consolation.” Oh god.
And I stayed true to my word. I listened to this goddamn song constantly when at the thick of the separation. I didn’t know him, or rather, it had gotten to the point where I didn’t know my own husband. We had let ourselves become too independent of each other. I’d want to go out as a couple and do couple things, like mundane errand running or out to a movie or just anything so we could be together. It didn’t matter what we did, I just wanted to be with him. He, on the other hand, didn’t want to go. He was content where he was, thanks, but could you bring me back a pop, please? Maybe a bag of chips, too. Thanks. Love you.
Perhaps I should have put up more of a fight. I should have insisted he come along with me, but ever the confrontation avoider, I didn’t make a fuss. Besides, as time wore on, I didn’t want him to come along with me anymore. I liked being alone, doing things I wanted to do without him complaining about it, or acting like being with me was such a horrible disservice to him and he was doing me a favor by tagging along.
This song resonates with me. Cliche? Sure it is. But the weird thing about this song is that whenever I hear it, I don’t find myself in a downward spiral of depression or guilt or shame or any other feelings I normally associate with my divorce. On the contrary. I, in a weird turn of optimism, remind myself to try like hell to not let a situation like this happen again. In reality, it will, it always will, but goddamn it, I’m going to try my goddamnedest to not even though I just said I will…but you get my drift. Or do you? This is probably one of those instances where it makes perfect sense to me and all y’all are just like, “what.”
There you have it. That’s my song for the day. Have a listen, won’t you? And join me again next time for my next post.