Aug. 26th, 2010

morrigirl: (TaraWillow)
I've been on a Singles kick for the last two weeks. Woke up with a hankering to listen to the soundtrack one morning and it hasn't left my discman since. A lot of good music on that album - Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, and the ever fantastic Paul Westerberg.

It brought back one of the three or so good memories I have of my trip to Seattle. There was one fleeting day right after we arrived during which I felt physically okay. Greg and I spent the afternoon visiting celebrity grave sites. First we went to see Bruce and Brandon Lee, then we paid a visit to Mr. Jimi Hendrix, and got caught in rush hour traffic on our way back into the city.

But that morning before we headed out, I went for a walk. I'd only brought three books on the trip with me, all of which I'd plowed through on the three day, cross country train ride so I needed something new to read. There was a Barnes a Noble about a mile away from our hotel so I decided to walk over.

I think I brought something like six or eight CDs with me to Seattle. One of the things I really wanted to do while I was there was take a walk through the city while listening to classic grunge rock on my discman. The obvious choice would have been Nevermind by Nirvana. Unfortunately, I do not own a copy of Nevermind on CD, so that was out. I didn't own any Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains albums at the time. All I had was the soundtrack to Singles, a soundtrack that I absolutely adore and listened to all the time when I was in high school. So that would be the emblematic grunge rock album I listened to as I walked the streets of Seattle.

It was a great day. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and there was a nice breeze blowing. I walked along the water until I reached the Pike Place Market. It was early and the place was still waking up. No fish were flying just yet, and I stopped in a used music shop to browse their cassette offerings. After leaving the Market I went a block over to Pine Street, then walked five or six blocks north to Barnes and Noble.

I don't remember which books I bought that day even though I still remember exactly how many books I read during the trip. (Nine, in case you're wondering. I could list them all alphabetically by author if you'd like.) All I remember is listening to "side" one of the Singles soundtrack on my way to the store, and "side" two on my way back.

And even though Google Maps says that was a two mile, round trip walk it didn't feel like it. It felt easy and pleasant. And I remember walking back on 2nd Avenue listening to "State of Love and Trust" by Pearl Jam, and thinking "Well, now I can say I have walked the streets of Seattle while listening to Singles." That seemed like a really important experience to have had. And considering that I fell ill the very next day and spent a week holed up in the hotel room feeling so terrible I was certain God had abandoned me, I guess it kind of was.

This week I've had "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns" by Mother Love Bone playing on repeat.

(Digression: I'm realizing that the music culture of 1990's was a lot like that of the 1960's in that all the seminal musicians of the day up and died. In fact, you can probably track the rise and fall of 90's alternative rock through the deaths of its key musicians. I think the story of grunge would go a little something like this: Andrew Wood, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley. The End.)

Anyway, I found a clip on YouTube of Pearl Jam doing "Crown of Thorns" live, and I am completely in love with it. I'm surprised at how little the emotional push of the song changes with Eddie Vedder on vocals. Kudos to him for being awesome like that. Here, have a listen.


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