i get her basically every moment, waking or slept, that i am not at my desk at work. our commute together in the mornings & evenings are precious times because they are, in my world, an extra hour. said another way, i get to drive across that incredible bridge in the mornings sitting next to the wife.
sometimes, we listen to KUSF or KALX as we must do to get away from bob edwards and his baritone bad news about FALLUJAH. now, there simply is no median genre on these college stations. so you what you hear is what you get. you can go from an accordian-playing coven to raw barfeating berkeley punk and back again all in the span of 4 miles. either way, i seem to always take note of the songs whilst driving across that great span. its all about the bridge, you see. must be that view and those cloud formations.
however, one morning last week, perhaps friday, on comes this most painfully beautiful song, with a voice like a haunted version of kate bush with a finish of karen peris (innocence mission). now, it has been one of my life-long goals to play music that makes anna soar and happy and most of all, offer comments of praise upon the songs that i have gathered and rewarmed for her.
“how pretty is THIS?” not surprisingly, i was thinking my version of the same phrase. before i knew any better, the song had ended and they were on to a particularly abrasive punk ballad “cigarettes & alcohol.” i made a mental note to locate the song from the playlists KALX or KUSF must surely post on their sites in the coming days. note the time of day, 8.13am. note the song that came after it, cigarettes & alcohol.
i would spend the next 3 or 4 days combing those 2 site looking for something resembling a playlist. as most student-run radio stations go, there was a lot left to be desired. there were playlists, but not in so far as what was played at a particular time of in the past. just a lot of the DJ’s personal pages. no shortage of listings for the cigarettes & alcohol track. but nothing that would come close in-name to the pretty song anna liked enough to comment on.
so this morning, we are ON that same bridge coming in, and we are listening to KUSF or KALX and its an ugly song by the barfeaters or the angry amputees or something and i’m thinking to myself, then i’m speaking out loud.
…and i’m paraphrasing here…
sean “so hey, i looked all over for the playlist from the other morning for that song and i couldnt find it.”
anna “well when i was pulling into the garage, the dj came on and listed all the previous songs.”
sean “aw! check out the farallons!”
anna “um, so yea, i listened for ‘cigarettes & alcohol’ but she was like 13 & kept fucking talking about the other fucking songs.”
sean “i ought to try on the search on the lyrics”
anna “yea, “right on” or “light on” or something like that”
and just then, one of the most all-inclusive case of the goosebumps was to wash over my body up my spine as we passed thru toll plaza. because right then, right at that very moment, the fucking song comes on, and there she is again with that haunting voice, harping on about “right on” or “light on” and “even when you touch my face, you know your place.”
the most precious moments in life are not coincedental. what makes them precious is when those coincidences occur in the midst of a bridge: a common thing linking the coincidence together. for if the song came on during a nissan or dockers commercial or some shit, there would simply be a comment. but it didnt, did it? it came on for the bridge. it’s all about the bridge, remember?
and we proceed to have the most pleasant 5-minute drive down into the great city of san francisco in wondering amazement at the perfect timing of it all.
oh, it was “The Book of Right-On” by JOANNA NEWSOM (‘alt-harpist’)
i heard it on student radio here in new zealand.
i’m trying to find the lyrics but am not finding them online. i can’t figure out what she is saying, can you?
Posted by: nadia at May 13, 2004 07:25 AM
what a lovely little story. situations i’m all too familiar with. fumbling at a stop light to find a pen and try to scribble some phrases from a song so i can search for it later. hence- tons of sticky notes all around my computer at work with names like ‘pepe deluxe’ ‘buttless chaps’ ‘n.e.r.d’.
monte and i will go see this haunting chick in tucson this sunday.
(beautiful when a song overheard on a bridge can inspire a night out many miles away.)
Posted by: Lisette Sacks at April 16, 2004 12:05 PM
(Originally Posted: 2004_0416)