In Grade 7, I remember our friend M. was an early trendsetter when it came to fashion and music. She was confident and had a competitive streak. M. often adopted her popular older sister’s interests and ideas, as easily as she rejected other people’s seemingly with no rhyme or reason. It was thrilling to be front row to their arguments and I remember M. often besting her sister by simply showing no interest in the drama. M. was scrappy and charismatic and when she best friend-ed us, we felt chosen. If she liked something, I wanted to like it too.
It was in home economics class that she shared two important songs with me. The first, Say Something by the band James, and the second, Creep by Radiohead. I eventually asked Mom for both Laid and Pablo Honey, the respective albums from which those singles came. On Christmas Day, I locked myself away with both albums, immediately discarding those first singles I’d loved for deeper cuts. It was an upbeat ballad on Laid that grabbed me, and thirty years later, it has not let go.
Say Something was #5 on Laid’s tracklist. Sequencing, and the value of full albums, has drastically changed over the years. But, as an artist, I know that the 5th song on any album is generally a single and in some cases the best song. Don’t believe me?
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