Tuesday, April 2, 2013

All But Four Words

This post is part of the Scintilla Project, a two-week storytelling extravaganza that encourages bloggers to share stories based on a shared set of prompts. Click the link to visit the site and find out more, or to sign up! Visit the blogroll to find other blogs that are participating and to read their stories, too.

[I'm picking up the pieces of this project and just grabbing random prompts and answering them as I am able. The project is technically over at this point and this was the prompt from Day 9 or something in the middle like that. I told myself I'd give it my best effort, though, so I'm going to try to crank out at least a few more prompts so I don't feel like a total failure.]

Prompt: What is the longest thing you know by heart (for example, a prayer, speech, commercial jingle, etc.)? Why did you learn it?


I have a knack for learning song lyrics - I like to sing along to the radio when no one else is around, and my perfectionist tendencies make sure that I am using the right words. It's rarely a conscious thing, absorbing the words set to a melody, but once they're in, they stay there for several years. The music helps - I don't memorize things as well as I once did, my brain is far too preoccupied these days to learn a speech or any sort of prose, but the rules don't apply once there's a tune I can follow.

The list is endless, I suppose. Things I could remember, things I used to know, little snippets of sonnets or songs we used to sing in elementary school music class. Christmas songs and nursery rhymes, the key sequence for playing a scale on my flute - something I haven't touched in ten years. I was on our flag corps for two years, I could probably still do the routine to our school song if you gave me a flag-like stick to wield. The first few lines of the Gettysburg Address or the US Constitution. All of the states in geographical order and all of their capitol cities. Bits of dialogue from movies. Things I remember without even knowing that I remember them. The sheer volume of stuff that's buried in my brain is impressive, if not bordering on ridiculous.

I'd probably be an ace at karaoke, if I could carry a tune. Song lyrics are one of those things I do well. I listen to them, try to wrench out their meaning, analyze them. My BF is the complete opposite, he tunes out the words and only listens to the music. I have never been able to listen to songs this way, because I've always been obsessed with words and how they work and how they can sound lovely or angry or any emotion in between. They give a voice to what's in your heart, what's on your mind. A song is oftentimes a poem set to music, but I guess that makes it easier to remember. Music always wins.


And I'd give up forever to touch you, 
'cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be, 
and I don't want to go home right now

All I can taste is this moment*, 
all I can breathe is your life
When sooner or later it's over, 
I just don't want to go home tonight

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

And you can't fight the tears that aren't coming, 
or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies, 
yeah you bleed just to know you're alive

And I don't want the world to see me
'Cause I don't think that they'd understand
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

I just want you to know who I am

[I sat and typed this out straight through the best I could remember. The asterisk denotes the bit that for some reason I was stuck on and couldn't remember and had to look up, but not bad for a song that's, what, fifteen years old? Forgetting only four words is still somewhat impressive, I think.]

I don't remember what it was about this song that struck me so much when it came out. I fell in love with it immediately, and despite the incredibly cheesy nature of it - being a late 90s rock ballad of sorts - I still consider it one of my favorites. There was something about it that stuck with me for years and years. It was beautiful, to me, full of the romantic angst that I longed for as a teenager, this soul-altering type of bond with another person, breathless, pleading, resigned. 

It was written for the movie City of Angels, which I finally saw some years later, and absolutely hated because the ending is so completely heart-shattering and awful and it was really mean of the writers to take such an otherwise lovely movie and leave me so depressed afterward. I was actually angry at the movie, and I am still stuck with my $5 Walmart-bin copy that I have refused to watch again. I don't know. Maybe I will. It's been a while. I doubt that I will ever forgive that movie for its ending, though.

Regardless of my feelings toward the movie, the song still stands alone. I mean, if you don't count the music video where Johnny Rzeznik is rolling around being all creepy with like six thousand telescopes spying on Meg Ryan. 

Man, I miss the 90s sometimes. I mean, for real. My two favorite Pandora stations are Florence + The Machine and 90s Alternative. NOSTALGIA.

Ten points to me for spelling "Rzeznik" right on the first try.

I always pass this song off as one of my guilty secrets, as one of those things I pretend to like ironically, when, truthfully, I just plain like it. I KNOW THE WORDS BY HEART, FOR GOD'S SAKE. I'm not fooling anybody. And that's probably okay.

What about you all? What songs do you know by heart? What's your favorite "guilty secret" song?

Might as well confess. Johnny's watching you.


Kelly L said...

funny story: mark's brother is really into johnny rzeznik.

and now that song is stuck in my head.

echoing your 90s sentiment, recently i realized all the songs that i knew from the 90s are actually incorrect in my memory. as in, when i was a little kid, i learned the lyrics to them in little kid language. i can't think of an example, but i do know that before the smashing pumpkins concert i had to look up all their lyrics because i had been singing them all wrong.

Kelly L said...

For real. My favorite moment was watching "Grease" as an adult - soooo not the same movie I remembered watching when I was twelve. SCANDAL!

Kelly L said...

I really hate the term "lady boner" but if i didn't, i'd definitely use it and Johnny Rzeznik's name in the same sentence. Even if he still has that dumb hair. Also? Old Goo Goo Dolls is actually still really really good. I'm talking Superstar Car Wash and A Boy Named Goo, specifically. Good, good stuff. Dizzy Up the Girl started to get really fluffy, but i still like it for nostalgia's sake.

Kelly L said...

P.S. The longest thing i know by heart is my own three-and-a-half-solid-minutes-of-talking poem Kind Of Beautiful. But it's getting rusty and crumbly up there in that increasingly dusty corner of my brain.

Kelly L said...

Oh man, yeah. I just recently figured out that it's "the cross i bear" and not "the cross-eyed bear" in You Oughta Know. :D

The Pumpkins' lyrics are often kind of nonsensical. You don't really have to know them to appreciate the songs. Thus, i don't know them very well, either.