A Singing In The Head

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Skunk_anansie_3

I caused a major war, just by talking
You flew into a rage, ’cause that’s everything you know
Childhood of violence, filled with heartache
I flew into a rage, ’cause that’s everything I know

I know 100 ways to be a good girl
100 ways, my willingness to please
I know 100 ways to be a good girl
Still I’m alone, I’m alone I’m alone,
I’m alone I’m alone, I’m alone I’m alone,
I’m alone

100 Ways To Be A Good Girl
Skunk Anansie
Album: Paranoid & Sunburnt 1995

 

This is a song once loved, then lost, and then happily, found again via LimeWire. 100 ways to be a good girl, how fun is that?

What is it about music that quickens the pulse, rouses the spirit, unfetters the mind?

I fell under the spell of music in the 2nd grade, amusingly enough, while deep in rehearsals for a folk dance. Yes, people, I did dabble very briefly in the debauchery of folk dancing, the obligatory scourge of elementary education in these islands. Anyway, in the midst of rehearsals, I remembered my best friend Teem, a wavy-haired mischief-maker, disclosed that she and a group are going to come up with a special number. They were going to dance to “Whip It” by Devo. I stayed behind that afternoon to watch them rehearse.

I remember, it was a strange sensation to me, listening to a beat that was insolently staccato, somewhat silly, yet strangely mesmerizing. That heady thub-thub-thub of a beat signaled a change in the rhythms programmed in my mind. I would not encounter punk until several years later. I would not yet be snagging bootleg tapes, not yet listening to snatches of a secret broadcast on some obscure channel on the radio, would not yet line my eyes in the eyeliner overload of Robert Smith, would not yet know euro new wave, or chick rock, or stay home to watch the first slew of pre-MTV music videos, would not yet bob my head to ska, or laugh at bossa nova, or recognize the end of love in a slow dance to Everything But The Girl’s seemingly insouciant “Cross My Heart.”

But that afternoon, in an empty chalk-strewn classroom, with Devo unlooping from a cassette tape, that was a eureka! moment for me. That was the moment I realized that out there exists music that can disquiet the senses. That knowledge became a sweet subversion, too potent to deny.

For most of my life, I would tend to plod through concepts until I beat them to a pulp. I listened to all sorts of music, especially those I did not like. I wanted, if nothing else, to understand the stirring that they caused, the visceral reaction, the twist to the gut.

Years later, Devo somehow led me to Skunk Anansie. That girl Skin, she sure can scream a singing in your head. How that singing resonates and trembles and pulses in your very bones. I want for that singing to never ever stop.

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