“Halah” was not my first Mazzy-song and She Hangs Brightly was not my first Mazzy-album, but as soon as I discovered Hope Sandoval’s gorgeous, haunting voice and the brilliant duo that makes up Mazzy Star – Hope and the late David Roback. I was quick to grab up any and all music of theirs I could find.
It was the 1993 album So Tonight That I Might See, and the tracks “Fade Into You” and “Into Dust” that were my gateway drugs to Mazzy’s music. I’ve been feeding my addiction ever since – diving in to Hope’s solo work, as well as her previous endeavor with Opal.
But today is not about any of that. Today is about “Halah”.
“Halah” by Mazzy Star
365 Days of Music – Day 4 – January 4, 2023
“I guess that you believe you are a woman,
and that I am someone else’s man.”
The first time I really listened to “Halah” I was in the midst of a tangly and painful break-up. We had lists of grievances, hurt feelings, resentments, and a baby daughter to somehow still be there for – together – even if we were no longer together. Some days all of it was just too hard on me and I’d want to say “hey, I changed my mind. Will you change yours, too?” But, it would have been a mistake if we had. It would have never worked because it was never right to begin with.
The best thing that came out of us being together was our daughter.
Even though I knew we needed to part ways, and even though I knew how unhappy I was, and how my only real chance at happiness was on the other side of leaving, it was still so rough. I feel like this song captures those rough bits, the emotional weight and wear, and the hopelessness that sometimes takes you over, threatening to drown you.
I wrote this in a composition book right around the time we finally split. “Halah” reminds me of my words from back then:
You asked me to leave the ring behind. I left it folded up in the note you had propped up by the door. Funny, you were the one who did the physical leaving, though you would forever pin the finality to me. By then we had forgotten what we ever had seen in the two of us together, all that was left was crinkled papers, bitter words, and a returned ring. You would tell all our friends that I had led you astray and then left you in the ruins to run off with someone else, but it was you who grabbed my hand and ran us straight into an oncoming train. I had warned you that my heart would not be able to withstand the impact, but you chose not to believe me. You thought my heart was made of icicles, but I have always been made of much softer stuff.
1990 was my twenty-first year, and though I hadn’t discovered Mazzy Star yet, when I listen to “Halah” part of me feels transported to that first year of the 90’s, while another part of me is brought right back to that break up, a few years later.
I close my eyes and let the song rush over me, bringing with it a slideshow of memories. Our first apartment on Truslow, before our daughter. My short hair. The feel of crushed velvet leggings under a baby doll dress. Color-stains on my fingers from helping a friend paint flowers on her living room window panes. The smell, and taste, of clove cigarettes smoked out the window of my first car – my red Honda Civic. Mixtapes and sleepless nights. The lights over the city seen from parking atop the Hollywood Hills, just above Sunset Blvd.
“Halah” was released as a single and reached # 19 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. (from Wikipedia)