Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Music Flu

I had the musical equivalent of a flu last week. 

You know when you're sick, and your skin becomes so sensitive to the touch that things you usually like—blankets, hugs, whatever—feel painful? And you roll around in your bed, trying to find a position where your stomach doesn't hurt, and where your feet aren't too hot but your arms aren't too cold, and you know you should eat or drink something but nothing is appealing and you can't get it to stay down anyway? 

My ears get like that sometimes, and I don't know why. I'll open Spotify or stand in front of my CD collection and just think, I can't stand the silence, but none of this is working right now. The jazz is too trumpety and the emo is too dramatic and the rock is too loud and everyone's voices are grating on me for no good reason...

So, anyway, I was sitting in front of my computer racking my brain when I recalled a song I loved a long time ago called "Doctor Blind" from Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton's Knives Don't Have Your Back.

I have this bizarrely crystal clear memory of the first time I saw a physical copy of that album; I was in Saskatoon, killing a Thursday afternoon by myself. At that time, I lived on 9th and Lansdowne in a small, two-bedroom apartment with four other girls and we were all debt collectors who carpooled to work together—which is to say, I saw a lot of them. So, sometimes, we'd get home from work and I'd say See ya and walk up 9th to Broadway Ave. 

Sometimes I'd explore the little stores there, or go sit in a coffee shop with a book, or walk across Broadway Bridge to downtown, and it was on one of those outings that I found a second floor record store hidden at the top of a steep set of stairs. At first I remember not being sure if the record store was a record store or if it was someone's apartment, it was so poorly signed. And then I got in there and no one was around, not behind the counter or anywhere, and I thought maybe it was closed but the owner had forgotten to lock it. Nevertheless, I walked down one of the rows and began to flip through the records. 

And that was when I saw it. I pulled it out and looked at it; it was tan with black writing, no picture or any kind of artwork, but it stood out to me for some reason—enough, apparently, to remain in the front half of my mental picture catalogue.

I didn't buy it, though. I put it back and purchased Cake's Comfort Eagle instead (at some point in my good hour or so of music perusal, an employee materialized behind the counter). Good story, Suzy.

Why do brains hold on to this kind of thing? I don't have any recollection of the first time I actually heard the album, but I know I loved it and, subsequently, loved Emily Haine's Metric stuff too. It can't possibly be important for me to remember that day, or especially that moment, but I do. Vividly. 

Anyway. The point is not that. The point is, I remembered that song, the "Doctor Blind" one, and looked up Emily Haines on Spotify, only to find she put out new Soft Skeleton stuff in October, and it's the first Skeleton project she's done since Knives, since 2006, the year I lived in Saskatoon. What are the chances, even? I might have some kind of telepathic connection with Emily Haines, and maybe she wanted me to know about this new album. 


I'm glad, because it's pretty good. And my music flu is cured.