“I still can’t guess what you’re after.”

History lesson:
Catherine Wheel’s debut album, 1991/92’s Ferment, made an immediate impression on the music press and introduced the band’s biggest U.S. hit, Black Metallic. There seems to be multiple theories, from fans, as to what the song means. Some say the song was written about Rob Dickinson’s car, others say it is about a person he knew in his life. While, still others claim it is about insecurity, and allowing others to define who they are.

– The thought of it being about Rob’s car makes me smile, and think of the song Red, in the short-lived 90’s TV show, My So-Called Life; how Angela thought it to be about her, but how later Jordan told Rickie he wrote it about his car.

Personal recollection:
The first time I heard this song I was lying on the floor of an ex-boyfriend’s room. We were staring up at the glow-in-the-dark stars that we had stuck up on the ceiling together, the year before, when things were better between us. He was there beside me, staring up in the same lost sort of way that I was, and right at the starting chords to this song he reached over and grabbed hold of my hand. We did not say much, just held on tight and closed our eyes, letting the music wash over us. I remember a tear sliding slowly down my cheek, getting caught between the fabric of my sweatshirt and the curve of my neck. I remember the way it felt, and that I did not move to wipe it away; I just could not let go of his hand. There was no way we could get it together between us any longer, even though during the seven minutes of this song we were still us, and hid in it, if only briefly.

I can still smell that slight odor of tobacco and cologne that his clothes always gave off; the scent that stayed held within his jacket, the one I never did give back. I can vividly recall the way one of my shoes was dangling half off my right foot, and how his thumb had a slight callous on it from his nervous habit of chewing on it when he thought no one could see. He was the first boy I ever loved with every part of my being, enough so that I felt literally gutted when we parted ways, and enough that I know a part of me will always love him; and, I am pretty sure that I will always love this song, as well.

Black Metallic :: Catherine Wheel

90’s

Leave a Reply