An annoying child (aren’t they all?) squeals over the beauteousness of Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon.” It is a live version, always a bold choice in a public space. Most people can’t deal with the screaming and clapping of the crowd in the background–who really wants to hear such a deafening cacophony if they’re not actually at the show. The child’s screams at least calm down as “Rhiannon” segues into “You Make Loving Fun,” which no one ever does past a month. My pinot noir arrives as I think of how Christine McVie never gets enough credit. Just how I see myself, oft treated like a retard incapable of anything, least of all anything great. The child’s shrieks pick up again to “One of These Nights” by The Eagles, one of the ultimate cock rock bands of the 70s. At least it’s not “Hotel California,” a song that tends to follow me everywhere as I hate California.
My dining companion complains that their tacos “aren’t as good as they normally are” and I take momentary comfort that I’m only drinking until “Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers makes me bristle. Mainly because I still definitely have not learned to fly–though people have broken my heart and stolen my crown, as the lyrics say.
The gear shifts abruptly to “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. It feels as though I’ve been hearing The Beatles a lot more frequently of late, as recently as the other day when some subway buskers were singing “Help!” in an endearing enough way for me to give them a dollar in quarters. This song–“Hey Jude!”–without fail, makes me think of the story behind its creation, which I read from a Beatles biography while in high school. Paul McCartney, wheels turning artist that he was, couldn’t help but turn his pep talk to Julian Lennon post-Cynthia/John divorce from “Hey Jules, don’t make it bad” to “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad.” Poor Julian, never given his adequate royalties for spurring the song’s genesis. Just goes to show you can’t fucking trust artists with your emotions.
Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky,” too, reminds me of a pop culture element, specifically being featured in that not loved enough 1996 film, Michael, even though no one was begrudging John Travolta for being a scientologist yet. I ask my dining companion if they’ve ever seen it and they say no. I swear to Christ, no one ever knows what I’m talking about. But Steven Tyler kind of does in “Dream On” as he mentions all the lines in his face getting clearer. This is probably the only song from the Aerosmith library that exhibits any propensity toward depth. And speaking of, I need another refill for my glass, I tell the bartender, a girl too obsessed with caressing her ponytail to care enough to give me the time of day.
Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Southern Cross” takes the playlist motif too far, and honestly, what’s the point if it’s not Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young? This Southern rock genre has never resonated with me in any way and I think maybe I’ll just stick with watching Sweet Home Alabama for my fill of the region. Oh god, I spoke too soon in thanking the lord that “Hotel California” didn’t come on, but now it does and I really need a drink, especially to endure the live version. The ponytail bartender finally stops bothering with her hair long enough to give me one. I think this song playing on repeat in a confined space is my version of hell.
Our experience concludes, almost too full-circally (I know, that’s “not a word”), with Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy.” And these days, even though I technically live in one place, I feel more transient than ever.
“Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac
“You Make Loving Fun” by Fleetwood Mac
“One of These Nights” by The Eagles
“Learning to Fly” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
“Hey Jude” by The Beatles
“Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum
“Dream On” by Aerosmith
“Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills & Nash
“Hotel California” by The Eagles
“Gypsy” by Fleetwood Mac