Of Boys and Bands

Like a “normal” teenage girl, I was completely boy-crazed and would try to mold myself into whatever I thought my crush would like. Music was a huge factor in this because teenagers OBVIOUSLY have excellent taste in music, doi!

A licky boom boom down notwithstanding.

In my fickle teenage brain, it seemed easy to fake this. I’d buy an album by whatever artist my flavor of the month seemed to like, then I’d be in like Flynn, man! Why are adults so bad at this relationship stuff? It’s easy peasy!

Though this wasn’t the best long-term strategy for love, it was the perfect formula for rounding out my musical tastes and it continued well into college — and even my marriage.

Here are the greatest hits.

Wrapped Around Your Finger
Kris was my first boyfriend at a new school in eleventh grade. He was a swimmer (I had a thing for swimmers. WHO DIDN’T?), he played guitar, and he had two different colored eyes. Everyone thought this was the coolest shit ever, but it secretly freaked me out a little. He had a thing for Sting, so I got ahold of The Police’s Every Breath You Take: The ClassicsI’d like to say he gave me a copy, but that might just be my brain trying to remember myself as less pathetic. Regardless, I learned to really Fuck Tha dig The Police.

Crash Into Me
Scott was a swimmer, too — but he was older and wiser and in college and had a car and SWOOOON. Dave Matthews Band was in heavy rotation my senior year, and Scott was a fanboy before they hit it big. I became so obsessed with “Crash Into Me” that my then friend Ben gave me the Crash CD — which I later learned he had stolen for me in an effort to win my love. Ben eventually became my boyfriend and was somewhat less than thrilled to learn that another guy was the reason I liked the CD in the first place. Punishment of the Magi?

Hike up your skirt a little more, so I can hide a
CD in there and smuggle it out of this Sam Goody.

Wish You Were Here
Not unlike certain love affairs, some bands are just never meant to stick. Ben’s affection for Pink Floyd was something I couldn’t even pretend to match — but the song “Wish You Were Here” managed to sneak past my filters for good. It’s like the “we can still be friends” of songs.

The Distance
I was a sophomore in college and Steve was a freshman soccer player (I had a thing for soccer players. WHO DIDN’T?) with gorgeous, thick, curly brown hair. He and his pal Joe were musicians who both appreciated a good brass section. Enter CAKE, which quickly became one of my favorite bands of all time. Honorable mention: Violent Femmes.

Never My Love
In 2011, I married this guy named Joe who has a thing he calls The Dark Side Of the Moon Rule. With few exceptions, he does not listen to music that was released after 1973. The 90s are my favorite pop decade and he has never loathed anything more, so this was something for me to reconcile. Sure, I appreciate oldies — but Joe has helped me to truly indulge in 50s, 60s, and 70s pop. His very favorite artist is a woman named Laura Nyro whose tunes were typically made famous by other artists like Three Dog Night and Blood Sweat and Tears. The XM radio in the car sits on the 60s On 6 channel to appease him, and he has collected — no exaggeration here — tens of thousands of obscure songs with genres like “Brazilian Funk.”

Yet we somehow manage to meet in the middle at ELO — and that’s what I consider “Strange Magic.”