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Memories of Music

June 19, 2008

. . .

. . .

Alone . . . listless . . . breakfast table in an otherwise empty room
Young girl . . . violins . . . center of her own attention
The mother reads aloud; child tries to understand it
Tries to make her proud
The shades go down
It’s in her head . . . painted room . . .can’t deny there’s something wrong
Don’t call me daughter
Not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don’t call me daughter
Not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don’t call me . . .
She holds the hand that holds her down
She will . . . rise above!
Don’t call me daughter
Not fit to
The picture kept will remind me
Don’t call me daughter
Not fit to be
The picture kept will remind me
Don’t call me . . .
The shades go down
The shades go . . .

CuriousC asked her readers yesterday what was the first album they ever bought. When I was in high school, collecting CDs was fun and grunge was becoming mainstream. As I was telling CuriousC, the first CD I bought was with money that my 25 year old cousin gave me when he found out that I didn’t have a CD collection yet. He wanted me to be able to buy my first one. I was really excited! I bought an album by Pearl Jam, but I didn’t know what the name of it was since some of the editions were printed without titles. It was known to me as the one with the woolly fenced-in sheep. I am thankful that my cousin was so nice to me.

I love the song “Daughter” that is on this album (now I know that Vs. is its name). It is about parents who abuse their daughter because they misunderstand her gift. The girl has a learning disability and her parents hold her down instead of helping her. One of the best parts of this song (in my opinion) is that the word “violins” serves as a homophone having the same pronunciation as “violence”. If you are listening to the song and are an anxious person, you would hear it that way. I’m convinced that Eddie Vedder was conscious of the ambiguity when he wrote the lyrics.

Pearl Jam performed on Saturday Night Live very shortly after Kurt Cobain’s suicide. This video is a rehearsal for that performance, with a reference to “the day the music died” at the end. When I was a high school freshman in 1993-94, I was enamored with the men of the grunge scene. I still love the music today.

  1. June 19, 2008 10:07 am

    Oh lady… your speaking my music now. I was a total grunge girl. I loved the alternative scene. While my friends were all listening to Hootie &the Blowfish and Backstreet Boys, I was completely immersed in Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Temple of the Dog, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins & Green Day. Some of those might better be described as Alternative Rock at the time but I loved them none the less. Still love them actually.

    I don’t remember what was my first CD though. I would imagine that it was either Alice In Chains or Tori Amos. I love songs that make you think

  2. June 19, 2008 12:57 pm

    Rock on, Chris. πŸ™‚ You might enjoy the photos and concert review here:

  3. June 19, 2008 1:37 pm

    i definitely remember this song and the whole ‘violence’/’violins’ ambiguity. speaking of pearl jam, i think ‘ten’ was the first CD i purchased, along with ‘disintegration’ by the cure. good stuff!

  4. June 19, 2008 4:53 pm

    Indeed, indeed. Thanks for commenting, heatherdyan.

  5. June 20, 2008 12:39 am

    Gots to love the grunge….and Chris, you and I would have been hanging out together during that time. : )

    I don’t remember my first CD but I DO remember the first 45 I bought was “Devil Went Down to Georgia” and I was erm, prolly in grade school I think? I bought it at the Woolworths. I can still SMELL the Woolworth’s store in my memory. It had a lunch counter in it. God, I feel old now.

  6. June 20, 2008 8:20 am

    Like MrsMetaphor, I can recall buying the 45 but not exactly the song! I have a memory of bringing it to school and (so must have been a good safe non-offensive song) and feeling so proud that the teacher would play MY record! I probably bought mine at a Woolworths, too.

    The more I learn about Pearl Jam, the more fascinated I am.

  7. June 20, 2008 8:22 am

    Oh my, FW, you touched me so much when you said the girl’s parents misunderstood her “gift”. Thank you so much for that. I never knew what this song was about. Now it will stand as a cautionary tale for me as I strive to respect the individuality of my son while also challenging and equipping him with the skills he needs for life.

    Did you know that there are many out there who fight for Autism rights, neurodiversity and awareness? They see their unique perspective on life as a “gift” as well, not a disability.

  8. June 20, 2008 1:38 pm

    My husband has an abiding love for Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder.
    Vs. was my favorite Pearl Jam album, though the “critics” didn’t really love it.
    i liked Drop the Leash on that album.

    My first album was Cocteau Twins’ Heaven or Las Vegas. They are my favorite group of all time. i did listen to alternative- Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins- but i was more into the shoegazer genre:

    Cocteau Twins
    The Sundays

  9. June 20, 2008 4:55 pm

    Mrs. Metaphor, I might have gotten jelly bracelets at the Woolworth’s, but I definitely wasn’t old enough to buy my own music then. I remember when they closed all their stores. Ours smelled funny too.

    CuriousC, yay, I’m excited that you are interested in Pearl Jam!

    Goldie, that acceptance of neurodiversity is a very recent trend. I was thinking of your family when I wrote this post. You’re a great mom! Eddie Vedder used the lyrics of this song to express that parents fifteen years ago often tragically responded to their children’s “misbehavior” with violence. Such a good song.

    c, thanks for the window into your musical taste. I will be sure to learn more about those bands. I do like Radiohead. I remember “Creep” as a great song.

  10. June 22, 2008 8:47 pm

    “I was thinking of your family when I wrote this post”… for real? Wow, I’m glad I “got it” then! Thanks. It really did speak to me. Especially since I would be lying if I said that my son’s behavior did not make me feel violent at times. Not ACT it, but feel it. You can just get so exhausted and frustrated. But aside from that we have learned that when he is in one of his “out of control moments” punitive correction does not help but instead frustrates him further. We need to help him calm down instead. No easy task.

  11. June 24, 2008 11:36 am

    Yes, I was thinking of some of your blog posts and some of your family’s struggles. My children’s behavior brings out some violence in me, too. At least we can talk about it and plan better responses, you know?

  12. June 24, 2008 4:43 pm

    yes!… and soothe ourselves with mass quantities of chocolate…

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