Sunday, April 06, 2014

Song of the Week: "Kiss Them for Me"

Songs for Becca #8. Here's another story about musical connection between me and her.

When this song came out in 1991, I had never heard of Siouxsie & the Banshees. I had no idea of their connection to punk rock and post-punk, and at that point (14 years old) I didn't even know what goth music was. I'd never heard of it; I was a square kid in a well-off suburb. It was still in the first year of having moved into a condo with my Mom and sister after my parents had finalized their divorce. It wasn't really a happy time period for me.

I guess my music taste back then was pretty square; the Downers Grove Library hadn't really gotten fully into music yet, and I didn't have much money, so it was hard for me to really explore music I liked on my own. Let's see... at that time, my Mom was into Basia and Lisa Stansfield and Enya and Seal and that's the kind of stuff I mainly heard. I was into film scores and Classical music pretty exclusively during that time. And I didn't watch MTV anymore. When I was a kid, my friends and I used to leave MTV on all day as a sort of background radio. But MTV was all house music and rap now, and I didn't care for a lot of it, so I would watch the still-relatively-new VH1.

This video was pretty popular for a good, long while on VH1, and I really dug it. (Actually, it's their most successful single in the US). I didn't know who Siouxsie & the Banshees were, but I thought she was gorgeous and the song was fantastic. I had no idea the song is about Jayne Mansfield. I just got caught up in the music. It really does sound like a song from 1991, but in a good way. I usually don't mean that in a good way. To this day, the early 90s are just not my favorite period of music.

Anyway, I dug this song, and they had a great song on the Batman Returns soundtrack, and then that seemed to be it for me. I never heard anything else by them.

Cut to 1994, when I met Becca. And in another of those stunning twists, Siouxsie & the Banshees were actually her favorite band. Her favorite ever. She loved goth music. She introduced me to goth, to industrial, to a lot of music genres I didn't even know existed. (Yes, she was still a goth kid when I met her.) I was being exposed to music that I had no experience with. Some of it I didn't like... some of it I flat-out hated. But it was always fascinating getting mix tapes from her and knowing I wouldn't have heard a great deal of it. The fact is, her being into music as much as I was--even though it was totally different from what I grew up listening to--was one of the things that drew us so close so quickly.

This is still my favorite Siouxsie song. It's one of the few really good things for me from that nightmare year of depression and anger. But it's a bridge between my past self and the self that was really born when I met Becca. It carries a happy and important expectation with it; a way I can look back at my past self watching this video on VH1 and actually smiling and say to him: "Hold on, guy. She's coming soon. It won't be much longer. Just get through this high school nightmare and the love of your life is going to be at the other end."

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