I’ve been away, in every sense of the word — mentally and physically in a different space, working on another project that has taken up much of my time but has been truly worthwhile. None of this means that I have not missed The List of the Moment, which YOU may have forgotten, but I have not — and some of you have written to me, so here is my most recent list.
Very eclectic, but I created a list for my most recent foray into New York City called The Grand Central Cha-Cha and here are some of the songs that work for me during rush hour at Grand Central, that fabulous place off of Lex and 42nd, NYC. Many songs on that playlist and it’s very difficult to cull it down to the few that should make the list because frankly, they all made my list, so to choose, I have given a small taste of everything here – or as much as possible, while leaving off some of the really new music (because whenever I write about really new music, nobody knows or few know what the f*** I’m talking about). This is May 28, Wednesday, New York City, Grand Central Station at 5:36 p.m. and it is about eighty degrees and humid and the people are milling and all is right and all is wrong but you know it will be alright — somehow, you just know this.
"Love to Love You, Baby" by Donna Summer – The extended mix, of course, is the only one worth listening to if you’re going to bother. Call me boring, old-fashioned, an atavist, call me whatever you like, but this is still one helluva sexy song and ranks right up there with the other song on my Grand Central mix, “Sweetest Hangover” by Diana Ross, which are back-to-back on my iPod and work perfectly well in concert.
There’s something almost erotic about rush hour at Grand Central on a hot May day when the humidity is high and the beautiful women come out and the stylish men are there and you move slowly through the crowd on your way to the number 7 or the S train after a couple of drinks at the bar at Grand Central and everything is right with the world. This was me, moving through the crowd, my summer dress on, hips swaying in time to music — this and the Gap S.O.S. Band's "Take Your Time (Do It Right)" — with my Converse sneakers on, perfect complement to my dress, to which a friend I trust says, “It’s the Lolita factor that works for (me)” and in that moment I buy it, because all is right with the world.
Say what you will, but in that moment, these three songs made all alright and at that moment, that’s saying quite a lot for not a half hour earlier I had been crying on Madison (don’t ask) as I made my way up the slow, sloping hill to Grand Central but once my mix came on – everything changed. Something to be said for that. So those are my first three songs. Moving right along…
"ABC" by the Jackson Five – Michael, Michael … he may have done a lot of very weird things since the time of this song but truth to tell, it’s the music I care about, not the person, so frankly, I could give a toss whether he’s bleached his face or has had a gazillion nose jobs because that’s his option. The child stuff – I won’t even go there. But that’s not the point. "ABC" is a great song. It has an upbeat, up down turnaround jump and sing thing that makes you want to be a part of the freakin’ Jackson Five and that’s something for a white Episcopal girl from Scotland to say. But one can dream, no? If you don’t know this song, you could love it, you could hate it. If you have a light heart and are in the mood for this sort of bubble-gum pop (retro-pop), then yes, absolutely seek this out. It’s the perfect “happy” song and frankly, the song of the moment.
"Can We Still Be Friends?" by Todd Rundgren – Okay, this one hurts a bit – a lot – but that’s personal, but isn’t every song to some extent? Isn’t that part of why we listen? I’ve been told that men listen to the music and the riffs whereas women listen to the lyrics more. Frankly, I listen to both, but would very much welcome your comments on this (not just this song, but all songs, all music, because I’m not sure I buy this theory). So here is a song about loss and grief and longing and wanting to just still be friends after some kind of parting in what seems to be an impossible situation. A great song – used in Vanilla Sky during a particularly weird scene, but perfect for the moment – but we’ve all been there. I’m there. It speaks volumes. It still works, years later.