You smoked with the ghost in the back of my head :: AOTW


Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories :: Tails (1995)
Album of the Week

The 90’s was a decade of change, of tumultuous chaos, of falling hard in love, and breaking hard in heartbreak. It was the Wild West in my heart, my guns were sometimes drawn but usually out of bullets, sometimes I masked myself as I rode off in the distance, sometimes I stood in the middle of a dust cloud ghost town in a face off of feelings, and sometimes I fell into the arms of a saloon boy, or girl. I rode off into the sunset once or twice. I became someone’s ex, someone’s wife, someone’s true love, someone’s heartache, and someone’s mother. In it all, though, I never could quite figure out who I was.

Every album I owned during that decade is welded onto my soul. The songs, even with years between last listens, have left such a mark on me that playing them again can leave me breathless, and at times, bring me to tears. They play like musical tattoos, permanent pieces of who I once was, and who I am still. They are the part of my life soundtrack that would fill volumes of a book series, and require a seven season television contact. Most days I feel so far away from the girl I was then, other days though, and on nights like tonight, it seems like just yesterday. It is then, in that fueled up look back, that I long to slip on my crushed velvet leggings, throw on a baby doll dress and a flannel, tie up a pair of docks, and dance around my living room.

Tails is on the running roster of look back and let the emotions hit me hard list. There is no song that does not pull a punch or bring back a memory, or a string of them. Albums like this one are more powerful to me then photograph albums, but then again, I have always been moved more by things heard than seen.

Most people know Lisa’s big hit Stay, featured in 90’s favorite film Reality Bites, and accompanied by a hard to forget video of Lisa in an empty New York apartment, wearing a black baby doll dress that looks just like the one I have hanging in my closet still, the one I have had since this album was new. Stay was never my favorite on the album, though I still have affection for the song, and I will admit it is one hell of a memorable last album track.


 Do You Sleep? holds the title of my favorite on the album, a song that expresses the whirling dervish confusion of being in love, and falling out (or being pushed) out of love. There is sadness there, there is loss, and there is anger, too. I felt like this song at certain times in the mid-90’s, so much so that listening now I feel the hair on my arms stand up and my eyes sting with the threat of tears, and the weight of memories.

Do You Sleep?

My first husband always smelled like Sandalwood. He used to buy it from this vendor that would drag her wares out on the weekends, lay them out on a blanket in the back alley behind our apartment. She wore her hair in long and winding braids and smelled of Sandalwood, too. She was one of the many who slept with him when I was off at work, but they both smelled so similar that I did not recognize it as quickly as I did the others. All the others added scents to our bed sheets and his clothing that were unfamiliar, and unwanted. When I first met him I loved the smell of him. It would linger on my own clothes for hours after we had been with each other and I would often breathe it in before I let my eyes flutter and fall into sleep. Sandalwood, the song, will always remind me of him, and consequently, of her, and all the others.


Do you have a favorite song off of Tails, or a memory that one of the songs off of Tails helps to unwind?

Leave a Reply