Kill The Messenger

24 Jan

I have listened to this song 14 times this evening. “Kill the Messenger” by Shawn Colvin. It’s old. I discovered it when I was 17 or something like that and it was old then, so it’s um…really old now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to decry an artist’s more current body of work…Shawn’s latest is one of my favorites (and that’s getting old now too). But I digress.

I kind of remember hearing this version of this song for the first time. Someone sent me a mixtape (WHAT?) with this on it, because I was in a group (an email group…right after message boards on AOL went out of style) online that traded that type of stuff. I’m not sure I ever was able to trade anything in return, people were just nice to the folkie kid in New Mexico where no one cool ever toured (except Lucy Kaplansky, thank you, Lucy). But I digress.

So I hear this song for the first time and I’m pretty sure my skull peeled apart and my brain absorbed it to the core. It amazed me. The rhythmic guitar, and the way the electric nuances over the rhythm, and THE WORDS that are essentially poetry that sing really, really well. Some songs you write out and you get sad because the words aren’t as cool on paper and away from melody. This one holds up.

I don’t know what this song is about, but I know it somehow seeped its way into my core consciousness. It lived with me through college where I overplayed it (sorry, roomies), and somewhere along the line I put it away. It was a bootleg…on a tape, and I don’t own one of those things that plays tapes anymore. I don’t use pencils either, so even if I did play tapes I wouldn’t have anything to wind up the ribbon stuff up when it all spewed out of the cassette.

I still have little moments of song epiphany – in that I’ll still play something 45 times when I discover it and now EVERYONE KNOWS how obsessive I can be because Spotify broadcasts to Facebook. I need to unlink that.

I hope that the songs I discover now stick with me like this one did, because I can associate it with my old neighborhood and certain weather and lighting and my old bedspread in my room and walking to class and pine tress and dictionaries and Sony boomboxes.

I still don’t know what it means but that’s plenty to keep me occupied for now.

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