Baby, Lay Down Your Arms

30 Aug

I grew up thumbing through my parents records, completely fascinated by which records had made the thousand (upon thousands) mile journey our family had taken in this life. Some Saturdays, my Dad would put on Papa John Creach and chain smoke. Those were long days.

I had a cassette Walkman that was constantly tuned to the oldies station in my town (Q101.5, in case you were wondering.) I listened to it even when I slept and tried to tell my fortune by which songs played as I drifted off.

I liked that the songs all told a story and that most of them were devastatingly sad. The Cavaliers had the most sad song – Last Kiss – which was about a teenager who killed his sweetheart in a car crash and now he had to be very good so he could see her in Heaven. I mean, oh my gosh. The tragedy!

When I was 17, Pearl Jam covered Last Kiss and I immediately got the single. I felt very, you know, smug about already knowing this song and recognizing it as a cover. It didn’t catch on as the fucking international hit I thought it would be but I kept the single. The best part about it ended up being this B side. I have been moved to listen to this song every year of my life since then. That seems special to me.

Use your arms to hold me tight.

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