My feelings have always been larger than my life. Music was one way I was able to let them out into the world.
My first car was this ticket to freedom and it came with a soundtrack which was loud and ever present. I would travel, at unfortunate speeds and with reckless derring do, the many highways that blanket Houston, projectile vomiting emotions through song. Depeche Mode, Erasure, Yaz. Typical fare for a young alt-ish girl of the times. The lyrics didn’t matter as much as the depth of the feels, the fervor which which it could be expelled.
For some reason, I moved to College Station. Kind of an odd move for left-wing fringer who preferred Doc Martens and black tights under shredded jean shorts. Kind of a pathetic move for a gloomy little fag hag trying to escape excess and debauchery by following her super fantastico gay ex-bf and his live-in actual boyfriend.
It was a weird period in a already weird life. There was a de-virgining, vague recollections of adventures on roofs of AG buildings, escapades with Samoans and KA’s and a fashion show at the bar inside the local Hilton, who played New Wave, alternative and grunge music on the weekends and provided fuel for the parties that unquestionably followed.
I remember meeting Henry Thomas at The Tap and not knowing who he was until later, but knowing that he was an epic douche pretty much instantly. I later thought I might also be an epic douche to strangers in a small town kicker bar if I had been besties with ET at such a young age and then ended up hanging out with strangers at a small town kicker bar. Plus, everybody gets a pass on douchery during their 20’s. Douchery pretty much defines that decade.
My favorite thing to do after the last partier was partied out and couldn’t be talked into another swig of vermouth, the only alcohol left in the coffers, was to drive, blisteringly drunk(please, really and truly, NEVER do this. I got so extremely lucky, but so many don’t) to some overpass over whatever freeway runs through College Station(pardon my memory loss, but that was 7 states and 20+ years ago. Also, drug are bad. M’kay?). It wasn’t much of a freeway and it wasn’t much of an exit. There were no businesses or even houses within sight, few cars passed below and even fewer took the exit.
I parked my bestie’s(the kindest, most generous and loving man known to man) car on the overpass, swung the doors wide and turned it up. I hurled the lyrics into the wind, a physical force pushing back. All my frustration, my impotence, my wist was whipped away and I felt electrified by possibility.
The tone or intent of the music didn’t matter, it was the feeling it elicited. Often it was John Denver I was shouting into the void. I freaking love John Denver. Probably because I’m a white-ass honky. Also because he is an emotion-stirring mountain man composed primarily of leftover pot seeds, sunshine(his shoulders) and pure, unadulterated awesome.
Jack Antonoff is the new John Denver. That’s right, I said it. It’s out there now. Deal with it.
I loved this song from the moment I heard it. It quickly became one of my son’s favorites and there are few things more dope that hearing your five year old balls out belting, I WANNA GET BETTER as you putter down the road in your 1998 Honda CR-V.
Then I got a peek through Insta into the weird beauty of the melding of two royal American families – the Dunhams and the Antonoffs – and I loved it even more.
It’s also my one New Year’s rezzie. Because when you boil it all down to brass tacks, that’s all anyone really wants, right?
Better mother, better therapist, better wife. Better citizen, better sized, better emotionally. Better life.
Sing it, Jack. I’ll hurl it into the void and we’ll see what happens.