Saturday, August 22, 2009

How it Makes You a Weapon

I love Matt Good's music.

I like Matt Good - I've met him, talked to him, made him laugh. He's a brilliant, talented guy; a personal inspiration and artistic hero. I respect him immensely. But I don't love him. I love his music, as a body of work almost totally separate from the performer. I listen to it and I'm transported, transformed, mezmerized. The melodies and lyrics hit something in me that only these words and chords seemingly can. He wrote it, he performs it, but these songs are actually a part of me. They come from inside and are channeled through someone else. A lot like love.

I visited Strauss in Chicago recently, and we bonded over Matthew Good. He said 'You're the only one who gets me." He was joking, but there was truth there too. When you find someone else who understands like no one a specific piece of art, who has a shared emotional experience lived totally separately, that music is a part of both people's souls.
You get it.

In high school, a friend and I would sit talking to each other in bible class, whispering and passing notes. He had never had a real relationship, and even though he was all but dating a girl at one point, he refused the label. He told me one day "I won't date a girl unless she has Andy Warhol boxers."

Months later, in that same class, he was telling me about a first date he had with a girl he had just discovered. It was a perfect date for him - they talked literature and philosophy, went to the zoo and stared at animals, held hands. He was happy. And as he was finishing his story, he leaned in to me and whispered "and she has Andy Warhol boxers."
He fell in love.

I was in love once. But before I was in love, when I was just falling, I made her a mix. We had just had our first date and it would be months until we first kissed, a week after that before we got together. She was visiting her grandmother in Pennsylvania for the weekend and I didn't want her to forget me. So at her former best friend's birthday party we stood outside my car and I gave her my 'December Falls' mix, a mix of winter, autumn, and 'I like you.' She looked at the CD and said -
"Oh, Matthew Good. I love Weapon."

I knew right then I had to date that girl.

I've never gotten over that feeling.

My friend's girlfriend cheated on him, several times, each time with the same guy - a friend of his, and the boyfriend of the drummer of his band. He took her back, more than once. When she broke up with him, she immediately began dating the other guy.

I like to believe my ex loved me. She says she did. But she was also never over her ex, and he was with us every step of the way. When we were over, she eventually went back to him, and he hurt her worse than than he had before.
He was a cheater too.

I'm sitting here, listening to Weapon, and the lyrics go -
"Here by my side - an angel
here by my side - a devil
never turn your back on me, never turn your back on me again -
here by my side it's heaven..

...Be careful.
Be careful"


Ozkirbas said...

Very heartfelt, Mr. Schlafstein.

ali d said...

I sometimes worry about the opposite of this effect with my significant other. He'll be talking passionately about some song (usually 80s rock) that shaped his opinions of art and music and life in general, and I have to cringe a bit and slowly shake my head to let him know that "I'm sorry, I've never heard this song you love so much, but I'm sure I'd like it too if you'd care to share it with me!" I feel like I'm a disappointing girlfriend.

This is not to say that we don't have musical taste in common, because we do. But I'm The Beatles where he's The Stones, and I wonder what runs through his head when I get a Jefferson Starship song confused with Journey.

Then again, we did have a moment in the beginning of our relationship when he found a CD (that will not be named) on my couch, grinned, and admitted he owned the same one. And I've never had more fun singing through a Disney playlist with anyone else.

So maybe we'll be okay.