Thursday, January 20, 2005

I bought a ticket to the world, but now I've come back again.

I've never found covers of some of the songs that really remind me of my recently departed friend Sherie, such as the Thompson Twins' "Lies," whose chorus became a sort of nickname she had for me to the tune, "Lize, Lize, Lizaaa." Nor have I found a remake of ABC's "The Look of Love," a song whose words we'd once completely rewritten and left as a message on my dad's answering machine. But there are others out there, and during the godawful (pun not necessarily intended) contemporary Christian medleys that her family chose to play at her funeral service, I tried my best to imagine the following songs (the originals, of course) playing instead.

  • Will.I.Am. and Fergie "True" (Spandau Ballet cover)
    I don't think I ever really liked this song, but Sherie did. I found it terribly overblown and grandiose and would often mock the overdramatic melancholy of it all by loudly singing the "I bought a ticket to the wo-ooo-ooorld" line in my best foppish timbre directly in her ear ad nauseam. Good times. Similarly, I was pretty much over the Black Eyed Peas last album immediately, although the "Hey, Mama" iPod commercial did intrigue me for a second. That said, I do, however, find myself mesmerized by Fergie's hip-shaking, if for no other reason than I can't imagine that a human waist can actually be that small and still sustain life.

  • Jennifer Batten "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" (Michael Jackson cover)
    Everyone loved Thriller, didn't they? I remember one day Sherie and I must've been hopped up on sugar and played WBSS on repeat for about an hour, dancing around like maniacs and conga-ing around her house loudly chanting "Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa." God, being a total dork can feel so fun when you're 10.

    This track is by one of the few females in the guitar-shred realm who happened to also play in MJ's touring band and I don't really care for it, but I thought posting the Whitney/Mya/Usher version seemed too predictable.

  • Scorpions "Drive" (Cars cover)
    Sherie and her mom took me to what I consider to be the first "real" concert I attended—i.e. the first concert I attended that I actually wanted to go to rather than one I was dragged along to. (Beatlemania, Merle Haggard and Beach Boys sans Brian Wilson, I'm looking in your direction.) It was at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis in 1984 and featured The Cars with Wang Chung as openers. Pretty rad, no? anyhow, we attended with Sherie's mom and brother and a boy Sherie liked. I remember that, during "Drive," she gave me a look just before turning to her beau as coyly as an awkward 12-year-old girl could and serenading him with the question, "Who's gonna drive you home ... tonight?" It was totally cheesy (or "queer," as she would have said at the time) and it made me laugh really hard. I mean, come on, her mom was going to drive him home.

  • Speedbuggy "Pretty in Pink" (Psychedelic Furs cover)
    I remember Sherie thinking that the line "she gives him these clothes as cars collide" was "she gives him a clove as cars go by," which is actually a much better lyric, in my opinion. Seriously, why all the talk of coats and clothes in that song? I never got it then and I still don't. Man, I haven't smoked a clove in ages. (P.S. It was in the beginning of her dark adolescent years that Sherie taught me what cloves even were.)

  • Eve's Plum "Save a Prayer" (Duran Duran cover)
    Sherie and I were hardcore Durannies. The day I bought the clamshell VHS DD video collection, was one of our happiest days ever. We were ecstatic that my dad was cool enough not to care that it had some sort of "adult content" sticker on it thanks to all the hard-nipple action of the "Girls on Film" and "The Chauffeur" videos, but we did have to be careful that her mom not catch us watching it, which proved a challenge since we wore that damned thing out. (I'm talking to the point of memorizing all of the dialogue—particularly Simon's deranged Shakespearean ramblings—throughout the overwrought long version of "Waiting for the Nightboat.") But "Save a Prayer" held a special place in our hearts. We could just picture John slow dancing with us as it played. And, you know, that video was educational too. I didn't even know Sri Lanka existed until I saw them in the SAP video cavorting there on elephants. If I were in charge of the music at Sherie's funeral, this would have been the pinnacle tearjerker of the selection. I can't believe she's gone.
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