Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I'll be back some time, laughing at you.

  • Placebo "Jackie" (Sinead O'Connor cover)
    When I was about 8 years old, I attempted one summer to force myself to like mustard. All of my friends liked mustard and it was automatically added to hamburgers at McDonald's and Burger King and it just seemed it would be easier to just get used to it already. All summer, I asked for mustard on every hamburger and hot dog I ordered and pretended that it didn't make me want to retch. My parents and grandparents would say, "I thought you hated mustard." I'd reply, "No. I love it now." I was trying to trick myself into it. I was method living. By the end of hot dog season, I couldn't take it anymore and begrudgingly accepted my fate as a mustard hater, thus confusing the hell out of my family and, to a lesser extent, myself. When confronted with "I thought you said you loved mustard" accusations, I rolled my eyes as if to imply that the person asking was obviously crazy and didn't really know me at all. I figured that, if they really knew me, they'd understand that I was simply experimenting with something that everyone around me seemed to enjoy and that I didn't want to feel left out.

    In the late '90s, Placebo was my mustard. I snagged a few promos of their albums. Subsequently, I persuaded the Virgin reps to get me on the guest list at a couple of their shows, winding up backstage both times and awkwardly introducing myself to Brian Molko, afraid for the duration of each handshake that he could see right through to my experimentation. Thank God he was so damned pretentious and aloof, otherwise he might've actually started a conversation with me and learned that I could barely name one of their songs. ("Um, the one where you say 'a friend with weed is better'?") But I got those albums and went to those shows because I felt I should have liked them. Whiny, effeminate Brit poppers? That's right up my alley. It can't be possible that I was absolutely indifferent to them. But I was. And I am. Even though meeting Molko left me one degree of separation from Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale. Yum.

    As for the song, "Jackie" and I go way back. O'Connor's The Lion and the Cobra was pretty much the soundtrack to my depression throughout 1988. And "Jackie," as the intro track, began the ride by allowing waves of my pain crash into me like the waves crashing into the beach of the dolorous poltergeist protagonist. Heh. Or maybe not. But it was stark and pretty and ethereal and it intensified my loneliness in a good way. So, basically, I liked it and I listened to it constantly. This version, therefore, with its static-as-ocean effects and the aforementioned nasally, whiny vocals does kind of rub me the wrong way, but that's probably only because the original is so perfect as it is. But if I were 16 years old and bisexual and this were the only version I'd ever heard, I'd probably listen to it for a year or so as well, smoking clove cigarettes and wearing too much eyeliner all the while.
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