Obsession 7

kathleen hanna

As I was deleting songs from iTunes, to further diminish my hipster street cred of Pitchfork-approved tunes to make way for as many Disney soundtracks as possible, I came across Le Tigre’s “Deceptacon,” which was a song I was singularly obsessed with for many months. How obsessed? Well, one time I took a four-hour road trip and only listened to that  song. It was Le Tigre, y’all! I was all, Women’s Studies! </patriarchy>! Who took the bomp from the bomp a lomp a lomp? It was Kathleen Hanna, riot grrrrls! Also, I had recently become very gay.

While it took me several more years to get the hang of monogamy, when it comes to music, I am always enthralled with the ONE (song) at a time. To the point of breaking whatever tape/CD/hard drive where it resided.

Some of these obsessions have included Jewel’s “Angel Standing By,” (stop judging me!) Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Oh Comely,” Rilo Kiley’s “Silver Lining,” Regina Spektor’s “Samson,” Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” and way more Evanescence songs than I would ever admit to listening to in public. Currently, it’s “Under your spell” from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical. I know. But the song is about witches! In love!

Tangent: I never know what to say to people who ask me what kind of music I like. I can’t tell the truth without then giving a speech about how pseudo-goth pop is really quite moving if you can just think of all the corpse references as “metaphors for life.” I also can’t lie about it because I’m a terrible liar. During jury duty last year, I accidentally said I was married and then tried to roll with it until they asked me what my husband’s name was and I said “Eleanor.” Another time, during my first and last guitar lesson, my teacher asked me what music I liked and I lied and said Pink Floyd for reasons that STILL aren’t clear to me. We spent the next hour playing Pink Floyd songs that I had never heard of, nor knew at all how they were supposed to sound. The experience was similar to how I imagine karaoke in hell would be like.

Any shitty music lovers have advice on what to say to people when they ask you about your “taste”?

Anyway. Obsession can be really motivating. It can also be really destructive, as my ruined mix tapes and friendcestuousness have demonstrated. But I can’t stop! It’s like an OCD form of meditation. I have to keep listening and obsessing over things like music and people who might want to sleep with me if only I can be clever enough on Twitter and CSS tutorials and how to make a meal out of celery, prunes and salsa.

Obsession gives us something to look forward to, an especially inviting premise when one is unemployed. And while spending hours looking for a rice cooker on Craigslist isn’t going to get me a job or anything (it’s just an example!), it is something I can pursue and feel a sense of accomplishment about while I am looking for the ONE (job).

I will leave you with Kathleen Hanna, who said,

“I’m outta time
I’m outta fucking time
I’m a gasoline gut
with a vaseline mind
but wanna disco? Wanna see me disco?
Let me see you de-politicize my rhymes!”


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7 thoughts on “Obsession

  • Zoe

    Because I am somewhat ashamed of my love for 90s British pop and cheesy-bop country music, when someone asks me about my music tastes I usually say that I listen to a wide variety of music (not even a lie, I’m sure you can’t classify musicals and Billie Piper and Dawn Landes in the same category), some of which is more mainstream than the rest.

    Or you could just lie and say someone else put it in and you have no idea how it got there.

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  • Jaime

    My taste in music ranges from super cool awesomeness to so embarrassingly bad I want inner ear headphones to make sure there’s absolutely no way people can ever hear the music I’m listening to – my response to the ‘taste’ question is to say pop & reference some of the non embarrassing bands, Le Tigre is definitely a good one, or throw in something they might not have heard of – after all they’ve asked loaded question designed solely to judge you on your taste so play them at their own game! 🙂

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  • Theresa Geary

    I love Bob Dylan because it doesn’t matter that I can’t hear the words but only the feeling. It makes music much less complicated, don’t you think? Or Native music that has no words, just gut wrenching sounds that speak clearly to the soul.

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  • Patrick Bader

    You’ve just got to own your bad music taste. No need to hide your shame. I love dorky campfire songs. Did you know that They Might Be Giants has a new kids album about science? It’s great.

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