Thursday, December 17, 2009

For a Song - Air of December

Edie Brickell and New Bohemians: Air of December


One day, I took the woman who is now my wife to meet a friend of mine. He was the second-in-command at a small record store I frequented, and I often went in to talk music with him. Our musical tastes were almost completely opposite each other, but we strove to find common ground. So the visit went fairly normally, as I saw it. My friend and I got to talking about music, and we got louder and louder. My then girlfriend retreated to the farthest corner of the store in horrified silence. Later, she wanted to know why I frequented the place if I hared him so much. I had to explain that I didn’t hate him at all.

To this day, I count among my closest friends some guys with whom my relationship is largely based on passionate arguments. Often, the subject is politics, sometimes sports. But we don’t hate each other. We respect each other’s passion, even if we think it is misplaced. I guess it’s a form of male bonding.

What does all of this have to do with my song? Well, one day I walked into that record store, and my friend handed me a tape he had made. Nowadays, he might burn a CD or send me a link to a podcast, but this was 1988. He had made a compilation of his favorite songs of 1988. So, of course I had to reciprocate, and this song was on my compilation.

Edie Brickell and New Bohemians made their debut that year. What I Am was the hit, but I have always preferred Air of December. The song is about memory. The key line for me has always been “I swear I remember it that way.” Brickell hints at the possibility that her memory may be wrong. This is the time of year for reunions, and sharing of memories. This song is a useful reminder for those reunions. Maybe it can stop an argument in its tracks. Unless of course, it is an argument you want to have.

[The record store, now long gone, was Hot Trax, in New Brunswick, NJ. My friend’s name was Ray. Ray, if somehow you are reading this, please get in touch.]


FiL said...

I was more of a Cheap Thrills man myself, but I spent a fair a bit of time at Hot Trax, too. Ah, those were the days!

Amy said...

It's not male bonding! I am a woman and i love to argue. It's true that society teaches women to conciliate, avoid conflict and confrontation, etc., but it doesn't always succeed. And lots of men are very uncomfortable with disagreement.

Darius said...

Amy, I am obliged to start my reply with, "I beg to differ..."

Now that that's out of the way, I never meant to imply that there are no women who argue for pleasure. But most of the ones I know are very uncomfortable around us when we men get going. Next time it happens, you're invited.

nan said...

This post inspired me to muse on a memory - not only of a great song - but of a holiday musical memory, and the nature of memories themselves. Nicely done. You can check out my post at if you'd like.

Anonymous said...

Great description of an oh-so-male bonding ritual! W.