Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! Are you ready for it? Do you partake in New Year’s Resolutions? Do you have any big plans or intentions? I have a few, most of them involving creative endeavors (writing, blogging, and art projects), health (continuing with my fitness regime, and challenging myself with some 5k runs), and personal engagement (more time offline, more time with friends, family, loved ones). None of these seem like resolutions, per se, no they seem more like extensions of things I started in 2019 – with some extra “extras” to them. A little more push, a little more gumption, a little more challenge. And, to try to keep myself from going overboard with stress and anxiety and too much rigidity, I’m going to try to remember to practice grace with myself. I’m going to try to allow myself to fail, to fall, and to fuck up. We all do anyway, right? Might as well give ourselves permission.
I’m giving myself permission to get back up, brush myself off, and start all over again, too. That bit is the most important, I do believe.
So, let’s do this. Let’s start this New Year, this New Decade, and start all over again whenever we need to. And let’s talk about (and listen to) some music I’m obsessing over today.
I’d love to hear about/hear what you are obsessing over on this New Year’s Day, too. Please share in the comments.
Top 5 Music Obsessions – January 1, 2020
Follow along for the month of January on Spotify and YouTube
1. “Walk Like Me” by Blondie
from the album, Autoamerican (1980)
“Walking like a millionaire.
Walking on imported air.
Change the way you comb your hair,
and watch what you walk under.
Why don’t you walk like me?”
Debbie Harry is one of my heroes. She is still beyond cool and will be, at any and all ages. I discovered her in the late 70s on an episode of Saturday Night Live – the first episode I ever saw. The first music I ever bought on my own was two Blondie 45’s. I’ve been loving Debbie and Blondie ever since. Who better to ring in this New Year, and New Decade’s first 5 Music Obsessions than Debbie?
I never paid much attention to this track until recently. It tended to get lost in the music when I listened to Autoamerican. But then my middle daughter discovered it after I recommended she listen to “Rapture”. She added “Walk Like Me” to a car playlist she plays in my car and I started to pay attention, and then I started to obsess over it.
That’s how it ended up here.
My recommendation? Turn this one way, way up!
2. “Getting Nowhere Fast” by Girls At Our Best!
from the album, Pleasure (1981)
“We’re not looking forward,
and we are not looking back.
We’ve lost the warranty,
we’ll never get our money back.”
Part of my makeup, part of my issues, and part of what has made me me is looking back and looking forward too much. It is a place of stuck anxiety for me. The loop of things I should have said/said wrong/should have done/done wrong that plays like a bad rerun, especially when I can’t sleep. Or the echoing fear of the future, of things I feel unprepared for, unqualified. Or sometimes the opposite, the inebriation of a tomorrow, a goal to reach, a “when I get there everything will be better”..”when I get there my real life will begin.
I’ve been stuck in the middle of the back and forward for as long as I can remember. A forever-feeling limbo that I am tired of. I want to step into this New Year, this New Decade, and try as hard as I can to be here now. To be present. To be awake. To realize this is always my real life, right here, right now.
There’s no exchanges, no refunds, no be kind, rewind. There’s just now. And that is what I want to strive for. Right now.
Have you ever heard Girls At Our Best! before? I hadn’t until very recently. A Blondie song led me to this song, “Getting Nowhere Fast”, and after replaying it about five times I found myself wondering, how have I never heard of them before? How have I never heard this song before?
This came out in 1981. It was right up my 1981 lane, musically speaking. Oh well, I’m glad I found it now.
This is another one I suggest you turn up loud!
3. “Hong Kong Garden” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
from the album, The Scream (1978)
“Would you like number twenty-three?
Leave your yens on the counter please.”
As I listen to this song, a long-time favorite of mine, and as I read the lyrics, I find that it sits a little funny with me. It comes off a bit inappropriate/a bit culture appropriation to me now, but since the mid-’80s, when I discovered Siouxsie and this song, its been a song that always makes me want to dance. From the moment the music starts, I just want to move.
My heart wraps around my memories, a smoky, dark dancefloor in Hollywood. Thursday nights. Helter Skelter. This song would come on and I would immediately hit the dancefloor. It was full of all that Goth-splendor, people dancing in what could be seen as slow-motion, taking turns and bows, and what my best friend always described as a “walk like a chicken” move.
That description always makes me smile.
I love that “Hong Kong Garden” was used in Sofia Coppola’s film, Marie Antoinette.
4. “Defense” by Sarah Jaffe
from the album, Don’t Disconnect (2017)
“Lookin’ for a reason,
to provoke my inner demons.
Lately, they’ve been fueling my fire.
Fueling my fire.”
I’ve always had issues with anger. All my life I’ve been afraid of it, afraid of feeling it, afraid of letting it out, afraid of letting go of it. I dealt with so much of it as a child, both in loud, quick-tempered spurts and in quieter, more subtler resentments. I hated how small it made me feel. How all the words said in anger still rang in my ears – days, weeks, months, sometimes years later. I swore to myself, from a very young age, to never get angry.
But that’s impossible. Anger is human. We all get angry.
For me, I swallowed it up. I shoved it as deep as it would go. I took it out on myself in a myriad of ways. I still do. But lately, it has bypassed the cage of my insides and is tapping just at the surface. There are reasons for it, I know. Things that have risen to the surface through therapy and all the self-work I’ve been doing. Some of it is from the far past, and some of it from the nearer past.
I don’t know what to do with it. It still scares me. I’m still terrified of letting it go. Of letting it out. But, I may not be able to hold it back forever. I don’t know. All I know is I have a lot of big decisions to make this year, most of them very difficult. But, I am getting stronger, I am getting better, I’m healing. And I can’t be afraid of my own anger forever.
This song is full of a lot of these feelings – to me. Maybe its part of why I’m obsessing so much over it.
5. “Satellite of Love” by Lou Reed
from the album, Transformer (1972)
“Satellite’s gone up to the skies.
Things like that drive me out of my mind.
I watched it for a little while,
I love to watch things on TV.
Satellite of love.”
Definitely on my list of all-time favorite songs. Definitely my favorite Lou Reed song (solo – my favorite VU song is “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'”)
My oldest daughter introduced it to me. I think she was in the throes of a second David Bowie bio-book (he’s her forever favorite) and came to a part talking about Bowie and Lou working on this song together. We played it together in my car and waited, half holding our breath, for Bowie’s voice to come in. It was a shared magical musical moment. I’ll never forget it.
Every time I listen to the song and hear Bowie’s “ahh oooh” I think of that moment, of that memory, and it brings me so much joy.