Day 11 of this Camp Nano project was thisclose to being about baseball because I have A LOT to say about the importance of the meaning of baseball and because of the Angel game last night and the tribute to Tyler Skaggs being more magical than a scripted movie about the the tribute to Tyler Skaggs written by and starring Kevin Costner could possibly be, and I still have a LOT to say about it, but it felt cheap to use that as a talking point today. So I sat on it. And I did my day, which included petting puppies at a wine tasting and I thought I would just not write anything today, take a day off and try again tomorrow, and then I was scrolling tumblr and saw a post about Songs form the Big Chair, the sophomore album from Tears for Fears hitting the #1 spot for the fifth week in a row today back in 1985 and I became that meme of the dog with the birthday cake that focuses in on his eyes like he’s having an existential crisis. So we’re going to leave the baseball romantics for another day and focus in on my pain. Like birthday cake dog. Welcome.
What album defines your childhood?source: Probably buzzfeed or a myspace quiz
Songs from the Big Chair is THAT album for me. I was 8 nearly 9 when, according to a tumblr post, this album was the #1 album in the US however many years ago today.
One night in August 1983, my parents sat at a restaurant with my sister and I while they signed divorce papers. I was 6 (or 7? but the math on this isn’t adding up and I’m tired and I hate it because I always assumed I was 7) anyway, I was tired and I didn’t know what adult things they were up to and I just wanted to go home, so I threw the only fit I remember throwing out of “teenager” age. We ended up leaving the restaurant, because of my dramatics and we all got into the same car and a few minutes later, as Metro by Berlin played on the radio, we slammed into and then went over the hood of another car in an intersection near my dad’s new apartment.
I will be 43 in a few days and while I know full well none of it has anything to do with me AND it was like a hundred years ago, I’m not lying when I tell you that I still feel somewhat responsible for the car accident, my parents’ divorce, and ultimately, the entire breakdown of my childhood.
Yeah, I know.
So what does this have to do with Tears for Fears? you ask?? NOTHING and everything. My dad was always into the newest, coolest trends, music included. And he had been playing this album called The Hurting by this new band called Tears for Fears for awhile at this point (of the car accident). And I remember learning that Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal (the Tears for Fears guys if you didn’t know) met each other at school and they both came from broken homes and supposedly a whole bunch of The Hurting album was about dealing with your parents’ divorce which became REAL relevant to my interests.
I loved listening to records with my dad. He had his finger on the pulse of music while my mom was listening to old Wings albums and Journey. Now, listen. If you know me, you know how I high I place Wings in “greatest bands of all time”, but when you’re 7, 8, or 9, 10, etc, Wings is at the bottom of the cool barrel. Journey was even lower. I also had a lot of resentment towards my mom because of the divorce but that’s a whole other book.
In Summer of 1985, Everybody Wants to Rule the World was the song we were all singing, from my best recollection. My sister and I, along with a boy named Jamie from Iowa that I had a crush on, and a few more kids I can’t even picture, were all in some kind of summer day camp babysitter situation and the only things I can remember from it are Jamie from Iowa who I was going to marry, us being teased by a bunch of boys because we (my sister and I and another girl) weren’t in training bras yet, and walking through some wooded areas looking for an abandoned house that had Farts in a Can on the shelves. Oh, and singing Everybody Wants to Rule the World as we walked around and balanced on logs like we were in a movie, and it seems like it was unsupervised. It was the 80s. My mom, who had, up until the divorce, been a mostly stay at home mom, had to get a full time job which meant we went to babysitters. I hated it and I felt anxious and socially awkward the whole time I was at someone else’s house and thank god I had my sister with me. I VOWED if I ever had kids, I would never make them go to an all day babysitter. This, by the way, was the beginning of the worst of my childhood when I was with my mom, and the best of it when I was with my dad.
My first concert ever was September 8, 1985 when Tears for Fears played Red Rocks in Golden, Colorado. My mom was livid that my dad took my sister and I to our first concert claiming that my dad didn’t even like Tears for Fears. And then to one up him, she took us to a Berlin concert with her then current boyfriend.
And when I listen to Tears for Fears, I get this sense of calm. Like a hug from my dad’s dimly lit living room that I’m going to be okay. That someone has my back. That I don’t have to protect everyone all the time.
I don’t feel that feeling very often. And I talk about it even less. But anyway, not to bring the party down…
What’s your favorite album? How did it define your childhood?