“Chrissie Hynde” by Butch Walker

“Chrissie Hynde” was my first favorite song off of Butch Walker’s 2015 album, Afraid of Ghosts. It grabbed me immediately. It is full of nostalgia and looking back, tempered softly by hope for now, and almost now’s. It feels like a long drive alone, maybe its twilight, maybe midnight, a favorite song playing on the radio through a blown speaker. It reminds me immediately of my first car. The cassette player would stick unless I shoved a pack of matches in with my favorite mixtapes. The passenger side speaker was blown, and crackled when the music was turned up. Usually, though I just sang over it.

Song of the Day Lyriquediscorde Header

When I finally got a new car I have to admit I missed the crackle and the matchbox cassettes. Isn’t that how it so often is? Sometimes the tiny imperfections are what stick, are what we hang on to.

“Chrissie Hynde” by Butch Walker
from the album, Afraid of Ghosts (2015)
Song of the Day

“All I got right now,
is all I want,
Chrissie Hynde singing through a blown dash speaker,
about Ohio.
All she wants right now,
is to be the way it was,
the same as when you and me were one.”

When I first heard “Chrissie Hynde” I saw a story in my head and had to write it down. I jotted something in a grey journal with blank, unlined pages inside. Later I posted it here. Honestly, I’d forgotten all about it. That happens so often. I’ll stumble on something I once wrote and wonder if its mine. Sometimes it takes the song that was its muse to play to remember where I was, or what I was feeling when it came out of me. Writing, like music, is some kind of magic, the tangible kind, that you can take in, grab hold of if you let yourself.

Here is what I wrote:

Janie Lee

She sits cross-legged on an old passenger seat
yanked out before they let the junk man take the rest away
a hundred and that old seat to show for it
and enough memories to write a book on

He asked her what one thing she’d want to keep
besides the memories
and it was the damn seat she asked for
ripped back seam
a slinky-shaped spring popping out of the right hand side
and a dark red stain from a long-ago barbecued disaster

He kneels on the pavement in front of her
not much left to say and really
he’d rather just look at her skin
pale with the slight suggestion of a blush
juxtaposing against ruby lips

he wants to memorize her face
to write an album worth of songs on

She asked him if he ever thought to leave this town
before he’d sold the car
taking away their one and only means to escape
but he had no answer for her
holding up a hand-me-down ring in conciliation

he was down on his knees already anyway

Her eyes were far off and away though
wondering how far the crumpled up tips in her pocked could take her
he knows her answer already

maybe she’ll leave the passenger seat
when she goes

“Chrissie Hynde” (live, The Pursuit of Tone) by Butch Walker

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