23 April 2006

the stylistics - "you are everything" (from the best of the stylistics lp, available for purchase here.)

i got out of the house today, went to the mall--which is precisely where i was yesterday, except today i went as a civilian. (yeah, for some reason, when my shift is over, i want to get immediately out of the mall & don't really mind having to return the next day.) i bought a few t-shirts (white, black, baby blue); a steel blue shirt i thought was a t-shirt until i got it home (and must return); and a couple of pair of socks (blue, pantone 292; bright red). the preponderance of blue has nothing to w/ my mental state and everything to do w/ my eyes--which have always been blue and haven't undergone any change of color, a la crystal gayle.

then, i come home, visit amazon in order to do some innocuous shopping and get hit w/ this :

... oh, right. you have no idea the significance of this. my memory is v. good and though eidetic in character, its episodic recall serves me far too well. every first encounter has its reason for being; some of them involve simple commerce, the demand for a particular good and the hope of its supply (although we didn't have the book in stock!). it is at moments such as these, though, that i feel like i'm being taunted by some cosmic force.

i enjoy having an eidetic memory, mostly; i enjoy memories when i'm the one conjuring them. i do not appreciate, however, standing in the mall's bank and catching out of the corner of my eye a girl whose hair and physical build reminded me so much of her. it was fleeting; i corrected myself immediately and mentally apologized for this figure's appearance was far more tragic than even my ruffled mental state; still, it was enough to provoke an audible sigh. this place contains so many memories.

even today, innocently going a/b my business, i passed a particular store and remembered a smile & a wave and hoped for a replay. what were the odds? infinitesimal. proust writes near the end of swann's way of "how paradoxical it is to seek in reality for the pictures that are stored in one's memory." he's right, but i was not looking for that past moment! i was looking for a needle in a haystack! i was hoping for a reaffirmation. he also writes, "the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment." ah, here i disagree. cher marcel, je ne regrette rien! perhaps he fails to understand b/c all of the words i'd substitute for "regret" are of old english origin : yearning, pining, longing, craving.

russell thompkins jr. of the stylistics, though--he and i speak the same language : he gets me.

the titles of stylistics songs always make me wonder; everything else is so exquisite, so masterfully accomplished, the title must come last, when thom bell & linda creed are absolutely spent. "you are everything" as a title says something, but it's not nearly as voluble or as fluent as the song itself and its imagery.

take for instance, the opening, w/ its sitar and swirling, phased strings, and then how they so easily give way for the chorus. it is precisely the sound of waking up in the morning and leaving the realm of dreams. russell is still a little groggy as he begins the lyric; that he mistakes this girl for that girl is forgivable.

everything is forgivable when rendered by thompkins' falsetto croon and thom bell's swooning arrangement. oh, right, how could i forget? the only thing that isn't forgivable is that every other girl in the world isn't you. what begins as a mea culpa ends in despair. "you are everything" as a title and refrain is economical and spare, language pruned of all affect (unlike when r.e.m. self-consciously titled a song "you are the everything"). a statement's weight in desperate times evolves from its universality; such times call for direct emotional appeals.

or indirect appeals.

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