Matthew Sweet :: 100% Fun (1995)
The nineties were fraught with change and the kind of tough changes that forces a person to pull themselves up by the proverbial bootstraps and grow-up. For me, each year during the decade are marked by life-altering decisions and directions taken, and also by the music that played alongside and amongst me during this time. My soundtrack of the nineties still carries with it a punch, and is ever and always an emotional trigger of vast memory recall. The girl that I was in those years, and the woman she was becoming during that time, was vital to who I am today, and what my life consists of now.
Because of this impact, all the albums from the nineties hold a special place in my heart, and in my memories. Matthew Sweet’s album 100% Fun marks my time at Tower Records, my attempts at being a little bit reckless, the fear and insecurity that eventually took the wheel, and the initial interactions with a boy who was going through his own battles at growing-up, and who would become many things to me in my life. 1995, the year of this albums release, we would have our first break-up, our first make-up, and the first emotional push and pull that would later become a pattern between us; but that year, it was all new experiences and fresh starts, with no recognizable warnings in sight.
I would feel tremendously loved and wanted that year, and also enormously lost. I was well within the crux of not knowing who I was, or who I wanted to be, constantly clawing my way through days and challenges and disappointments. Music, as always, was my buoy, my lifeline, and my oxygen. This album, 100% Fun, was one of my life preservers that I hung on to, floating and flailing, as I kept trying to swim to an ever-moving shore.
Following are my three sentence reflections of each song from the album, most likely a collection of snapshots from that year:
Sick of Myself
“I’m all used up.
I’m out of luck.
I am starstruck,
by something in your eyes that is keeping my hope alive.”
You had this way about you that was like a bright explosion in the sky, showering light and color streaks all around me, and over me, lighting everything up. I had been kept in the dark for too long, shadows surrounding me and deconstructing me into ash, until you pulled me out into the sun. You seemed like a big, bright ray of hope to me.
Not When I Need It
“I can hang onto a dream,
but I can’t hold it.
Late at night I’m filled with fear,
that I can’t take for granted that you’ll always be near.
And it makes me hate myself.”
As I started to let go and ease into you, beginning to trust in you, and in us, you would raise doubts and throw accusations at me. Perhaps it was your own insecurities rearing their ugly head, but to me it felt like the stinging slap of rejection. I wanted to believe that I could rely on you, but you would let go when I needed you to hang on the most.
We’re the Same
“Baby we’re the same, when we shine in each other’s sky.”
We were so much the same, though, all scarred and stained with past hurts and rejections, and all starving and dying to be loved. We loved the same songs and laughed at the same jokes, stayed up late into the night taking turns reading chapters of loved books, together. We had such similar souls, you and I.
Giving it Back – click to listen (no video available)
“It takes a lot to keep you going,
wearing me down without you knowing.”
You wore me out completely with your bottomless well of need. My love and all I had to give never, ever seemed enough for you. I turned myself inside out, and gave and gave and gave, until I felt empty and starving myself.
“So you look for the answer,
then pull it apart,
tear it up ’til there’s nothing there,
’cause it hurts your heart.”
Every word seemed to have a double meaning. On the good days you took the words and made them into something beautiful and full of love, but on the dark days they were veiled goodbyes and see you never again. You fell at my feet begging for me to stay when I was there all along.
Lost My Mind
“You can’t stomach the truth,
and I only tell lies.
You don’t care if you live,
I don’t care if I die.
So we follow the same sound.”
Damaged and dishonest, we both had such a powerful self-destructive side. Sometimes I think it was that part of us that had the strongest magnetic pull. We were hoping to save each other, but perhaps it was inevitable that we would destroy each other, instead.
Come to Love
“When will you discover who you really are inside?”
We were both searching for ourselves. We were both so terribly lost in that search. So, we clung to each other, looking for answers in each other, even though we both had so little to give.
“And when you leave it all behind what will the past remember?
What will the future bring when you walk out?
You walk out.”
I did not want to walk out, I did not want to be the one to leave. But, at a certain point you gave me no choice. This would mark the first time I walked out on us, but not the last.
I Almost Forgot
“Did you say you loved me? I almost forgot, I almost forgot.”
I turned around, though, and came right back to you. I loved you, and you loved me, a love that would continuously richochet our hearts back to each other. This is my favorite song on the album, but it is also the most bittersweet and sad to me now.
Super Baby – click to listen (no video available)
“Promise you won’t go far,
I want you right where you are.”
You asked me to stay the first time we kissed. The next time we spoke you asked me to marry you. I would laugh it off, but eventually, all your words would stick, as would I.
“You may be sad, when you get older,
you might be happy just to stay.”
Back then, I would have never guessed that you would never get old. Some days I wonder if you would still stayed around on this earth if I had stayed. Some days I feel like I was the only one who gave up, even though I know we both did, completely.
“They’re not your words, but you’re reciting the lines.
You don’t mean a thing, but you exist in their minds.
How does it feel, when they have turned out the lights?”
We lay in bed with the shades open wide in that second story apartment you were borrowing a room from. The moon was high in the sky and you sang this song to me, softly. I fell harder then I had ever fallen before, or ever would again, with you, that night.