Soundtrack of Our Lives...2002: "I Idolize You"
1: Heavy Metal Drummer – Wilco ~ “Heavy Metal Drummer” was not the first Wilco song I ever heard…but it did come from an album that changed my life and the way I heard music. The first time I listened to it, when I was 14, HMD seemed to click with me from the very first moment I listened to it. The catchy beat and simplistic yet meaningful lyrics really seemed to speak to me. Not only did it immediately become my favorite Wilco song, but it soon became a little bit real (Actually…each year the song keeps re-inventing itself for me, so each entry will have a “Heavy Metal Drummer” segment.) I developed a huge crush on Wilco’s drummer: Glenn Kotche. I became the girl in the song, or at least, at age 15, I thought I was her.
2: Can’t Keep From Talking/Radio King – The Golden Smog: 2002 was the year of the rock star for me. I began to idolize those in the bands I loved. I mean, this wasn’t anything new. From the time I was 5 I had idolized Tina Turner. “I know you don’t know me, but I know a lot about you/You’re the one who knows me better than I do,” sang the Golden Smog. Oh boy, were they right! I had come to identify with the lyrics and protagonists of the songs in a way that I never thought I could. And I thought that the musicians were actually these characters. “When I get back home, I’m gonna put your records on/I’ll play ‘em way too loud and I’ll sing along/I know all the words to every song/And I don’t really care tonight you sang one wrong.” Like all other diehard fans and wannabe fangirls, I thought I owned the songs, knew them better than the artists who wrote and performed them. “Your music fills my car and your voice breaks every time/I still wonder if I know who you are, I hang on every line.”
3: Big Brown Eyes – The Old 97’s: About a month after I turned 15, I got bored at work and decided to join ViaChicago.org, the Wilco fansite/message board. The place was slow, with a group of original members who didn’t have all that much to talk about. I posted 24 times in my first day and that impressed a lot of people. My screen name? Tweedy’s Gurl. Some didn’t believe that I was who I said I was. What would a 15 year old girl be doing posting 24 times a day on a Wilco message board with people twice her age? But I managed to charm the administrative staff so much that they dedicated a line of t-shirts to me declaring “I believe in Tweedy’s Girl!” (a prophetic typo.) I guess you could say, in the words of the Old 97’s, that I “made a big impression for a girl of [my] size.” (This song would become relevant again later, not that it ever truly lost its relevance, in January of 2004, when Rhett Miller would sing it to me at a solo show because I hadn’t been able to go to the Old 97’s show the night before and because he would be told about me at said 97’s show by my boss.) My friend Theresa said, at this time that I was “Wise behind my ears”. I’m still trying to figure out what exactly that meant.
4: New Madrid – Uncle Tupelo: The story behind this one is pretty simple. I was head over heels in a celebrity crush with rock stars in my eyes. Of course, I got over that within the year, but at the time, the song sounded so sweet and so perfect and so romantic. And there’s always the epic 50 page short story I wrote the next year based on the song called “Shake My Baby and Please Bring Her Back” which the world will never see. No more needs to be said about that song. On to the next song…
5: Sally Simpson– The Who: “She knew from the start right down in her heart/That she and Tommy were worlds apart…” Within this year of idolization, I wished to become closer to those artists I adored so much. I was willing to do anything to meet my idols, just like Sally Simpson, no matter what the consequences. “Maybe he’d see that she was pretty and talk to her this Sunday.” I was the cute one, wasn’t I? I was young and made a big impression for a girl of my size and I was so sure that if I just had the chance to talk to Jeff or Rhett or Neko that they would adore me. People found this charming, cute, childish, and probably a bit too ambitious, but it was what was important to me at the time.
6: The Lonely 1 – Wilco: “I understand that I’m just a fan…” I used to listen to this one when I felt like I was all alone in the world, destined to have a glass wall between me and the people I admired. What a lonely life it is to base yourself around a personal connection you don’t actually have…I wanted to be Penny Lane…I started telling people I was a “Band-Aid” without any actual notion of when the term meant. But, it must be remembered that at the time, I was still very young.
Next entry: 2003...the year everything began to happen.