What are songs?

Do you know why they call those vinyl discs “records”?

I am not sure whether I have mentioned this before but surely I must have. I do vaguely recall writing it down somewhere. Yet when I look back into the past, no traces can be found.

I shall then move on, ignoring that niggling thought that I already have had this conversation.

Yes. I hear you. “Records are called so because they are recordings of the songs, of the tunes, of whatever.”

I agree wholeheartedly – it would be a nutcase who didn’t. But there is also a subtext conveniently ignored – that such records summon cadavers of the heart.

Dead emotions, long buried under six feet of dirt, willingly or unwillingly.

Songs, records.

Songs are records in more than one sense of the word for they have the ability to conjure up the past.

When I listen to The Smashing Pumpkins, I’m reminded of a feisty girl who has a Smashing Pumpkin cloth pinned to her backpack.

I could remember myself wondering, “Why Smashing Pumpkins?” I was quite a naive idiot then. At that point in time, I didn’t know who they were.

I still remember how I embarrassed myself playing a “Truth & Dare” game in secondary school…

The bottle points at me. It’s my turn to ask Amy a question. Truth or dare? Mmm. I pick truth. I don’t really know what kind of questions I should ask – this is my first big gathering in a long while. So I ask: “Where did you buy your clothes from?”

My rationale is this: that the opposite gender do not like people to know where they buy their stuff. My friends break out into laughter. I’m crestfallen. Apparently the fiction I’ve been reading don’t really have a pulse on such things. I’ve failed to get their approval, to join the “in” group. Bit by bit, the rest of the night passes into day. I cannot recall what else went on. Perhaps, I exit the game early.

I was that naive. Small, spectacled boy. With a side parting.

At times I forget. But Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails always, inevitably open a door to the past and dig up the cadavers, like forensic scientists after a case.

Records are an aide-mémoire. An electric jolt to my dead memory.


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