1 year anniversary – and a dose of joyous, radiant pop

It turns out it was a year ago today that I typed the words “your heart is the big box of paints” into the subject heading of my first ever post. So … happy birthday to the old journal!

I’ve also been idle for over a month and aim to remedy this with more regular posting again.

Around the time of the last post I was driving from Vermont to Illinois to visit my mother, as I do twice a year. In the past I had a sound system which enabled me to connect up my iPod, so I would create a very large playlist and that would do me for both journeys. My new car has a nice sound system but no Aux jack. Instead it has a 6 disc CD-player, so I made a virtue of necessity and before leaving grabbed about 60-odd CDs from my collection of around 500-600, focusing on ones I hadn’t listened to in a long while. This ended up working really well. Each morning I’d put a new batch of 6 in there from all different genres, and it lasted the whole day.

Probably the single biggest (re)discovery was “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending,” from Tears for Fears. This was released in 2004 and represents their reunion. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith had parted acrimoniously after “The Seeds of Love” (1989), Roland then releasing two further CDs under the same name (ie, Tears for Fears) – “Elemental” (1993) and “Raoul and the Kings of Spain” (1995). I’d certainly listened to this several times before because I remembered loving several of the tracks, but I wasn’t prepared for how completely gorgeous practically the whole album is, or its sumptuous, impeccable production. It knocked me sidewise.

I’d just left Jamestown, NY where I’d stopped for lunch, and that happens to be around the place on the trip home where I feel the landscape really starts opening out and becoming beautiful again. It was such a joy to have this CD come on at that moment, and I’ve been listening to it ever since in fact.

I would say about 7 of the 12 tracks on it are pure bliss, to the point where they just recycle in my head throughout the day, one after another, then back again. Unquestionably their best album – and after “The Seeds of Love,” this is truly saying something. Big yay and big love to Roland and Curt.

Reminding me of the time I found myself sitting at a café table in Bath next to Roland and a friend of his. What does one do in a situation like that? His songs (he has always been the main songwriter) had been part of “the soundtrack of my life” as is said, growing up. I was alone reading and could hear bits of their conversation – but should I be listening?!

Then it turns out we get up at the same time and are standing round the till waiting to pay. Damn, there’s Roland Orzabal about a foot away from me: what do I do? I kind of want to, like, do a full prostration or something … you know?! But instead I content myself with turning to him and saying, as nonchalantly and non-embarrassingly as possible, something like: “hey man, I just wanna thank you for all the music – it’s meant so much.”

He kind of nodded, looked a little … embarrassed. I thought: oh god, oh well.

Getting my hair cut the next time, chatting away, I happened to mention the incident, and my hairdresser then says: “Roland? oh yeah, I cut his hair actually.” …

What do I choose to embed here from this CD? Well, how about these two – for now anyway…

And the other, well, I guess it’s gotta be my favorite of all from the album – “Secret World.” Way back when, talking music with my friend Tim, one of us would say of a really special song that it should be blasted from the tallest building in every town in England at midday, every day. These would always be the most heart-opening ones, and they don’t come around all that often, but about 40 minutes out of Jamestown, NY a month ago … I rediscovered another. May it put a big smile on your face –

and pay no attention
to the cradle or the grave