I’m still confused.

So back in 2000 in the spring I was visiting Champaign, IL (specifically U of I) to visit this girl I was kinda sorta seeing. We went to the mall and walked around and went into this candy store. While we were in there, looking at all the fun confections, I began to notice the music playing over the store’s speakers. The song sounded familiar, but not. I recognized the melody, and the words were lining up, but the instrumentation and vocalization was so different that I was having trouble placing it. Finally I realized what it was: “Zombie,” by The Cranberries, except it was done with soothing strings, a piano, and a female voice that was almost Dolores O’Riordan, but much much smoother and less chaotic.

Then the next song started. It was acoustic guitar. Again, the notes sounded familiar, but for some reason my mind was wanting to hear them more . . . aggravated – like the way I was hearing it being played was too uniform, correct, and spot-on, and the way I was remembering it was wilder, with more accidentals and bending notes. Then the vocals began, which was a very calm male tenor, “God damn you half Japanese girls, you do it to me every time,” and then I knew it: it was “El Scorcho” by Weezer, except this wasn’t Weezer. At least I didn’t think it was Weezer . . . that could have been Rivers Cuomo singing, but he was singing peacefully, along with the peaceful notes.

I looked at the girl I was kinda sorta seeing to see if she noticed, too, but she was focused on some Jelly Bellys or something. I still asked, “Are you hearing this?” and she looked at me, letting me know she wasn’t. So I turned and there was this other girl in the candy shop just a few feet away, and for some reason her facial expression made me think that perhaps she knew, too.

“Are you hearing this?” I asked. “It’s like all these songs but their done without accidents and not messing up the guitars!”

And the girl looks at me and said, “Yeah, it’s just candy, I guess. You’ve got to get excited about candy,” and then walked away.

I turned back to the girl I was kinda sorta seeing to see if she had just heard that, but she had moved on to candy ropes or something. I’ve been puzzled about that response, now, for 8 years.

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