Faces Down

“I think this song is about Jesus.”

“I wish it wasn’t.”

“Maybe it doesn’t have to be.”

She turns up the music and pretends the words mean more.

 

A spiky-haired woman stands at the bus stop. A teenage boy and girl walk next to her. The girl smokes a cigarette and walks up to the bench. She looks down the street to see if the bus is approaching.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” She apologizes to the two women sitting on the bench.

“I didn’t see the ‘No Smoking’ sign.”

“Sorry y’all,” the teenage boy says with a wave of his arm dismissing the smoke and the incident.

“It’s a surprise anyone can see it,” says the woman holding two bags of groceries.

“Next time, just tell us to walk away and get that shit away from you,” Spiky Hair offers. She discusses plans with the teenage girl who is going to work on finishing her schooling and getting her cosmetology degree at the same time.

“I can do both,” she asks. Spiky Hair affirms with a simple “yep.”

They all ride the bus for fifteen blocks. Spiky Hair finds a woman she knows from her days at a halfway house.

“Is Shelly still there?”

“Shelly Padalecki? She sure is.”

“I always liked her. Tell her I say hi if you see her.”

“I will.”

Spiky Hair and the teenagers arrive at their bus stop. The teenagers walk out first. As Spiky Hair walks out, she says goodbye to her bus seat confrere.

“Good to see you again. Don’t forget to tell Shelly.”

“I won’t. Ellen, right?”

“Elena.”

“Right!”

“And you keep going hon. You are worth it. You can do it. Do it for yourself.”

Spiky Hair disembarks and joins the teenagers in the public transit sprint to her connecting bus.

 

Jon Foreman exclaims, “There’s gotta be something more than what I’m living for.”

“You’re sure that’s about Jesus?”

“Yup.”

“Can’t it be about something more?”

“Than what he’s singing for?”

“Exactly.”

“I suppose.”

“Are we in the say anything safe space?”

“Go for it.”

“What if I don’t really want a TV or smart phone or laptop or car or nice clothes? What if that doesn’t make me happy? How can I be happy when other people barely get by? Should I spend my life grabbing and grabbing with no thought to anybody else? Who really gives a fuck if I only have two outfits? Who cares? And why don’t we care instead that some people have one or none or a minimal amount of food? Why should I buy new furniture for my apartment when people die every winter due to exposure? What the fuck?”

She sucks in the nicotine and makes a mental calculation of her possessions. Her mind drifts in the silence between songs just before The Mr. T Experience shout their love for Paula Pierce.

 

Music Recommendation #1: KRISTEENYOUNG

11 May 2011

Several weeks ago, my friend Marci told me I should start including music to listen to as a part of this blog. This one is for you Marci.

As a child and young adult (hell, even now), I was plagued by self-doubt, self-recrimination and all around low self-esteem. I sought comfort in the Christian god. I found comfort to an extent, but also saw my constant failings as a human brought out in front of fellow, judgmental Christians and an all-powerful, albeit fictional, deity.

I jumped into music, especially Metallica, and found emotional release in the blistering riffs of Kill ‘Em All. Then, I decided I wasn’t dedicated enough to god (after watching one of those Christian “documentaries” decrying the inherent Satanism of all rock music) and dove fully into Christian music. I did find some wonderful stuff, including Five Iron Frenzy and Switchfoot. However, I wasn’t quite satisfied. Eventually, I would step away from my evangelical Christianity and the “songs that made [me] smile and the songs that saved [my] life” would no longer be relevant to me. I needed something else.

Along came graduate school and, finally, the discovery of You Are The Quarry. I had never heard the sweet, melancholy croon of Morrissey before this time, but I was instantly ensorcelled. As soon as track three, “I Have Forgiven Jesus,” played, I knew I had met the musical love of my life. Since then I have devoured the music of Morrissey and The Smiths.

I was incredibly riled up and excited to see Morrissey in concert at Utah’s E Center Ford’s Theatre for the first time. As much as I loved Morrissey’s live performance, I was even more fascinated by that raucous opener KRISTEENYOUNG.

Prior to the concert, I picked up two of Ms. Young’s singles which included the tracks “Kill The Father,” “Life’s Not Short, It’s Sooooo Long,” “London Cry” and “The Dawn of My D-Day.” My musical life would never be the same.

[Kill The Father by KRISTEENYOUNG]

Kristeen Young’s lyrics and music spoke to my deep need to be bold, irreverent and simultaneously worship and disdain those who came before me. When I saw her perform, I knew the lyrics to most of her songs and belted them out as passionately as I could muster. The crowd seemed antsy for Morrissey to appear. But I hoped he never showed. I wished desperately for Kristeen and her drummer, “Baby” Jef, to play all night and for eternity.

[I’ll Get You Back by KRISTEENYOUNG]

Today, I urge you to listen to KRISTEENYOUNG and buy all of her music and see her any chance you get.

[The Devil Made Me by KRISTEENYOUNG]

[Fantastic Failure by KRISTEENYOUNG]

-Joey