The other night, I was watching the episode of Schitt’s Creek where Stevie has a Sarah McLachlan poster in her apartment and I was reminded of the fact that I have not listened to Sarah McLachlan (accidentally catching a few notes of one of those depressing animal commercials soundtracked by Eyes of an Angel doesn’t count – that song will never be the same again) on purpose since I was probably 19 or 20. I was home alone for a bit on Sunday and decided to remedy that while having COZY BOOK TIME. So I put on Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and immediately felt like some other, long-repressed Erin had resurfaced and suddenly I wanted to put on a flow-y skirt with sandals and tuck a daisy behind my ear.
(Fun fact: I used to wear long skirts all the time, even when just hanging out at home, but then some of the guys I worked with at the meat place made low key rapey comments and would ya look at that, I’ve only worn pants for the last 20 years. Huh.)
My Sarah McLachlan obsession started accidentally when I was in high school, scamming Columbia House and BMG – you remember those ads where you could choose 10 CDs for a penny or whatever? I think eventually they upped it to “for the price of one CD” but I took advantage of this SO MANY TIMES. And if they didn’t have anything I wanted, I would just choose random stuff that looked cool. That’s how I ended up with Fumbling Toward Ecstasy and whatever album she had that came out before that one.
What stands out the most to me is that F.T.E. was that rare album in the 90s where it was 100% listenable the whole way through. Oh man, I can’t tell you how many times I bought a CD back in the day only to realize that the only good song was the radio single. I guess that’s why cassingles were so popular back then! But F.T.E. was like a deep tissue massage for my brain. My bedroom senior year of high school in 1996 was super cozy and vibe-y – I had all kinds of strands of lights, lava lamps, neon, a deep purple carpet and foiled wallpaper. Those TicToc kids don’t have SHIT on my 1990s boudoir! And goddamn, that album got a lot of play time back then. I was super depressed most of the time so this shouldn’t be too shocking.
Anyway, all of that is fine and dandy, but the one thing that pushed its way to the forefront of my mind yesterday while floating down this aural memory lane was that Psycho Mike made fun of me SO HARD for liking Sarah McLachlan. It was “so gay.” I have this strong image of us standing in the basement of my parent’s house, next to a spare dining room table, while he mocked me about it and I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, Erin this is the second time in less than a month that music has made you write about Psycho Mike sounds like SOMEONE is still hung up” and you know what, you’re right! I am not over that toxic relationship. I still have nightmares, for Christ’s sake! He did a real number on me and I probably still require several years of therapy!
But then, and this is the part of my memory that’s hazy, it was either the cheerleader he met at the juvenile psychiatric facility he was sent to in 1997 and temporarily dumped me for, or the girl he starting dated two years later after we had officially broken for good, but one of them also really like Sarah McLachlan so then he suddenly did too. Fuck you, Psycho Mike.
[I also went through a brief Jewel phase back then which I forgot about (purposely blacked out?) until last week when Chooch and I walked to 802 Cafe and “Foolish Games” was playing. Wow, I had a physical response to that one, that’s for sure.]
Later on, I heard the tail end of Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” wafting down the steps from the radio in my bedroom so I was like OH SHIT MY JAM and hurriedly put the video on YouTube while assisting Henry in Valentine Land. As soon as that ended though, I had Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” queued up to play.
“What’s making you listen to Sade?” Henry asked, probably confused by the sudden deluge of music with English lyrics.
“Well, because I just listened to ‘Come Undone’ by Duran Duran and that will always be connected with ‘No Ordinary Love’ in my head because they were both popular around the same time and it reminds me of when my bedroom was arranged in a certain way that I loved.”
Henry gave me that “…ok” smirk so I continued to explain. “Actually I hated it at first because my mom waited until I was on vacation with my grandparents to rearrange it and then I came home from Europe, jet-lagged, to a strange room!” I cried incredulously.
“Yeah, that doesn’t make me feel sorry for you,” Henry sighed.
I need to learn to read the room.
And then I went back to my Sarah McLachlan loop which made Henry ponder about Lilith Fair.
“Didn’t you go to Lilith Fair?” he asked.
“Are you sure?” he pressed, looking so fucking sure of himself.
“Pretty sure I would remember attending Lilith Fair,” I said in that teenaged tone spiced with the perfect amount of derision and condescension that I reserve just for him.
“Hmm,” Henry sighed, staring into space. “….did I go to Lilith Fair…?”
And then we spent the next 35 minutes trying to remember Ani DiFranco’s name and had a huge fight because I put on “Uninvited” by Alanis Morrisette and HE DIDN’T KNOW WHO IT WAS.
“HOW DO YOU NOT RECOGNIZE HER VOICE,” I screamed, like this was a personal affront, equivalent to not knowing my middle name or Kpop bias.
“WELL IF I DIDN’T KNOW THIS SONG BEFORE, I SURE KNOW IT NOW!” he yelled after the 4th different live version of it played on YouTube.
I really wish I had more pictures of my old bedroom, is my main takeaway of the weekend’s music memories. Oh, and that I need therapy to work through the Psycho Mike stuff. (“I don’t think I’m over the stuff Psycho Mike did to me” I said to Henry and his response was a very dry, “wow, no shit.” LOLZ.)