Under The Milky Way–collab entry

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Under the Milky Way – The Church

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Under the Milky way tonight..
Under the Milky Way tonight…

I’ve been thinking about this song a lot lately. I can’t describe it. I don’t know why. I don’t know any other songs by The Church, I don’t even know what album this is on. I was reminded of it by renting Donnie Darko a couple of weeks ago and since then it’s been in my head pretty much non-stop.

This is a song for which I don’t have any specific recollections, unlike Smells Like Teen Spirit. I never lost someone I loved and then had to drive home while this song played. I never sat on the floor and listened to it over and over again, writing letters I’d never send. I never heard it at a party where there was someone I wanted and couldn’t have, right in the same room, or had to watch that someone walk away from me with another girl. Nothing like that. I don’t even remember the first time I heard this song. On the radio, probably. The eighties’ station, maybe?

It doesn’t matter though, because what this song does is make me remember all the times when I have done all those things. It’s effortlessly become the soundtrack to those memories. In real life I did those things with other songs in the background, but I’ve forgotten what those were, all the different times I heard them. For all I know I was weeping and crying over losing someone to “Sign Your Name Across My Heart” by Terence Trent D’Arby or They Might Be Giants or something totally inappropriate. But it’s Under The Milky Way that should have been playing, this song that’s in my head all the time now. It’s melty and insidious, this song. Dangerously so. The harmony on the “wish I knew what you were looking for” part catches me right under the sternum every time. Lately it’s been making me want to leave behind all the accoutrements of my ordinary life and forget about being a generally healthy and happy person and have wild and doomed adventures, makes me want a million dimly lit and smoky encounters with beautiful and damaged geniuses and then to walk away from them without looking back. Well, okay. The lyrics do kind of demand one last look, don’t they. Fine. One glance back then, every time, one glance that’s a perfect black and white photo (this song doesn’t truck with Kodacolor), that has its hair in its face. Slow wash of early morning light over deep liquid eyes, this song gives me, and then the pull of muscles and bone and skin walking away, away, every note and word another step out of the every day. That’s what this song is. It’s a sneaky chance, every time I hear it, in my blatantly quotidian life, to indulge that part of me that secretly believes that unrequited love is the best kind and that wants to be young and wild and free for my whole life, with no consequences and no memory, and hence no regrets. Cheesy and clich餬 right? I know. I know it is. I sound like my high school poems over here. I don’t care though. Such is this song’s power, I tell you, that I can believe all those fantasies during three verses and two choruses with no cognitive dissonance whatsoever…even if they’re only playing in my head.

JournalCon 2003

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