Sometimes a song doesn’t stick right away, or even a whole album. You’re there to get into it because I’m/you’re a Fangirl and that requires patience and sustained interest, at the very least. Tonight I was on a walk in the freezing cold with my pug, who wore two sweaters, and listening to it on headphones I suddenly got Charli XCX’s “Body of My Own”– GOT IT in capital letters: the sped-up ‘80s English ska beat, the shouty punch of the melody, the lyrics “’Cause I can make it feel just like I’m hangin’ on/Yeah I can do it better when I’m all alone,” which by the way I initially thought went “Sometimes sex just feels like you are all alone/Yeah I can do it better when I’m all alone.” That same chorus sounds like a bratty girl version of Oingo Boingo’s most urgent songs, my favorite ones, all dork-circus with a blend of styles ranging from the American songbook to Broadway to cabaret to new wave rave-up.
When Marina & the Diamonds toured her Electra Heart album I showed up after Charli XCX had already opened because I hadn’t really cared for or about her. I only recently fell wildly in love with Charli’s first album, Nuclear Seasons, while working an office job I hated where Spotify was my main source of Good Life Feelings and emotional engagement. I had eight hours a day to listen to music I’d never taken the time to give a fair shake; it was during this exploration that I also fell hard for Dum Dum Girls. I’d somehow forgotten to note how much I loved “Coming Down” when that song came out & it’d play on the satellite radio station while I stood around gossiping with the other shopgirls at my then-job; Too True is this shiny pop glut run through a punk/late ‘80s goth rock machine with strong, throaty vocals spread on top thickly. At this same job I’d listen to Sam Cooke for eight hours straight, the Harlem Club Live album’s version of “Bring it On Home to Me” over and over, the demo for “You Send Me” that is just Sam singing so sweetly with a light, heartbreaking acoustic guitar: perfect.
I saw Inherent Vice at noon today, the first showing of the film in my fair city of Athens. While I enjoy PT Anderson films, and would go so far as to say that I loved There Will Be Blood, I was there with such a quickness not out of some affinity for the filmmaker or lead actor or even book (which I’d just finished) but for Joanna Newsom, who plays a character named Sortilege who also acts as a narrator for the film and appears in about three scenes. Everything goes out the fucking window when Joanna is involved: it cannot be anything to me before it is a Thing with Joanna Newsom.” This all because her music sits right in the center of my body and has since I first heard it, though it’s set up house there more firmly as the years go by and the songs keep coming. If you’re a lucky person this happens with lots of art and there are thousands of good, strong homes inside you that you get to share with all kind of interesting strangers on this planet, makers of art and the fellow imbibers, too. It’s one of the best parts of being alive, next to dogs.