Jason and I are doing this MixCD thing pretty hard. It’s a language we always spoke, a means of communicating what neither of us were very good at saying aloud. In the two months since we’ve been back in touch, we’ve made a total of seven albums, (four from me, three from him). It’s a tad obsessive.
But just because we didn’t speak for seven years didn’t mean that there weren’t songs that didn’t remind me of him that whole time; The Killers “Miss Atomic Bomb” and The Smiths “Rubber Ring” and The Cure’s “Cut Here” that made this Cold War almost slightly bearable. Because that’s what I do, that’s how I process emotion. Elton John was onto something when he sang “If someone else is suffering enough to write it down/When every single word makes sense’Then it’s easier to have those songs around”
But now Jason and I are back to being cool, there’s just one teensy little problem: What do I do with all these sad songs?
Any mix-tape enthusiast knows that you can’t just pretend a song doesn’t remind you of someone anymore. It’s not an emotional connection you can just flip on and off. After seven years of playing Go West’s “King of Wishful Thinking” and crying whenever I got nostalgic, I wasn’t going to not be able to think of him when I heard it. I don’t have any emotional use for these songs anymore, but they’re too good to just lock away. And I certainly can’t give them to him; we’re past the stage of past sorrows and regrets.
Ultimately, I gave him a few of my broken-hearted tunes as a way of illustrating “This is how much it sucked when you were gone.” I let Morrissey sing my apology on “Bigmouth Strikes Again” and Tom Waits lament “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.” I let Warren Zevon beg him back with “Reconsider Me” and, luckily, he did just that. And in time, I’m sure his memory will fall away from Nick Cave’s “Nobody’s Baby Now” and Stroke 9’s “Letters.”
But until then, well, sad songs say so much.