With Loss for Words and Bloodrush and Heartstop
Melissa is safe inside now. I just walked her home.
She is listening to musicMagnolia Electric Company, maybeand trying to teach her kitten not to scratch her while she sleeps.
We again met randomly. We do this at least five or so times a month. We make no appointments, but I see her more often than I see many of my closest friends. This time, it was as we were crossing Sixth Avenue at 14th Street. I was on my way into the PATH station, Melissa was on her way into Urban Outfitters.
When you run into a beautiful girl, follow her.
That’s my motto. And so, that’s what I did.
I won’t recount the ensuing trip to Taco Bell, but our stop at the Virgin Megastore proved productive. As Melissa now struggles with her kitten, I’m listening to Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise, which Melissa urged me to buy.
Honestly, I was going to buy it anyway. She had been telling me that it’s wonderfulfrom beginning to end, wonderful (!)and was never able to speak of it without sighing and smiling and shaking her head with loss for words and bloodrush and heartstop in that same way that I do about a certain girl. If I couldif I had the choiceI would do almost anything for that certain girl.
The CD, however, was selling for a whopping $16.99 at Virgin, which is about $6.99 more than I really like to spend on any new disc. Oh well. I whipped out my debit card and bought it anyway, despite a certain feeling that I could find it at Kim’s or Other Music for less; I wasn’t going to look like a cheap-o in front of Melissa.
Which reminds me: My friendly neighborhood EPA officer, Philip Ansel Ritz, tipped me off to an independent online record label called Magnatune, which allows its customers to decide how much they’d like to spend on their artists’ albums. You pay as little as $5 or as much as $18. In discussing his motivations, founder and owner, John Buckman writes:
I thought: why not make a record label that has a clue? That helps artists get exposure, make at least as much money as they would make with traditional labels, and help them get fans and concerts….
The goal is to find a way to run a record label in the internet reality: file trading, internet radio, musicians’ rights, the whole nine yards.
Sounds good to me. This is an idea I’ll be pushing on my bandeither in an attempt to get signed onto Magnatune, or simply to use the Magnatune sales model when we sell our own CDs at shows.
So, anyway, I paid the steep $16.99 for Illinoise, not knowing what to expect, but simply trusting a friend. And now, while Melissa sleeps and is being scratched by her thankless kitten, I am still up and listening to this truly magical album.
Unlike Clap Your Hands Say Yeahfamiliar and comfortableSufjan Stevens' latest stop along this cross-country trip is strange and fascinating and I really don’t know what kind of music this is, butgodit’s great, it’s great. It’s weird and wonderful and filled with twists. It’s like the beginning of something lovely and dangerous. It’s like running into a beautiful girl as you cross Sixth Avenue at 14th Street. And there are horns and there are strings and there are handclaps and shouts and cannons. There is so much going on within these compositions that I can’t help but think that I’m missing something important. The Magnavox AZ9345 just isn’t cutting it tonight. Knowing that our Michael Fremer has had Illinoise in his heavy rotation, I have to wonder what these songs sound like coming out of his Wilson Audios. And on vinyl!
Maybe I’ll soon know. Or, at least, maybe I’ll soon have a better idea of the possibilities.
And along with Sufjan and the singers in "The World’s Columbian Exposition," Melissa sings:
Oh great intentions
I’ve got the best of interventions
But when the ads come in
I think about it now
And along I sing:
I cried myself to sleep last night….
Even with the belated, everything is antiquated
Are you writing from the heart?
Are you writing from the heart?
And I only paid $16.99 for this? If I had the choice, I would have paid more. Now, I think, I would have paid almost anything.