Music and smut from Jefferson, providing a soundtrack to One Life, Take Two.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Peace Train

Cody has been trying to get me into Hanson for as long as I’ve been getting her into sex.

“How can you listen to Radiohead?” she says tongue in cheek, curling her lip in derision. “Hanson is so much better. So. Much. Better. You just dismiss them like they are some boy band.”

I raise my hands. “Aren’t they?”

“Are you kidding?” She drops her arms in exasperation. “That’s such a ridiculous position. They are so good if you just listen. They really are the best indie band right now.”

I raise my eyebrow.

“They produce their own stuff! They make great songs! They have amazing fans!”

I nod, skeptical.

“Look, I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been into them for basically my whole life, since I was a kid.”

I lean back, laughing. My cock nearly falls from her slit.

“Okay, I know, that’s not very long, but it is! It’s ten years. I’ve been going to shows and signings and everything for ten years. Since I was eleven. And I know music. Hanson rules.” She smirks and nods. “You’ll see, old man.”

“Maybe. Maybe I’ll listen.” I lift her leg to my shoulder. “Now, mmmbop?”

“Ha ha, very funny.” She crosses her arms. “Go ahead. Fuck me. You’re wrong about Hanson, but you are good for some things.”

We fuck. Mmm, mmm, we fuck.

Recently, I agreed to go see Hanson perform live as Cody’s date. It was like visiting a foreign land populated entirely by twenty-year-old women. Many were attended by wearied mothers who stood at the sidelines, holding coats and bags in their folded arms. The populace itself pressed close to the stage.

Cody held us back. “You can’t get close, it’s ridiculous.” She looked around. “Hang on, I’ll be back.”

I found the venue’s bar and ordered a ten-dollar bourbon. I picked up a few free condoms at a safe sex display. “Take as many as you need,” an attendant encouraged. I smiled at that, and took an extra handful.

I returned to where Cody had placed me and waited. I watched as she worked her way through a nearby cluster of fans and then back toward me.

“The show’s about to start,” she informed me.

I nodded at the crowd. “Visiting with your people?”

She waved at someone. “I’ve known some of these girls since we were kids. I would introduce you, but you know, you’re old.”

“I understand.”

Cody pointed as the wives of the Hanson brothers gathered on a balcony overlooking the stage. She knew them all by name. “We fucking hate those girls,” she smiled. “To their credit, the boys married fans. But I’m sure they are miserable, especially Tay. I mostly hate the one who married Zack. He was supposed to marry me.” She sucked a swizzle straw in her vodka. “His loss.”

The lights went down and the girls screamed. I took a sip of bourbon and prepared to be edified.

Taylor asked if we were ready to have some fun. He cupped his ear and waited. He got his answer in shrieks. Evidently, we were ready.

I was an alien in Girl Land. I recognized no song other than “Mmm Bop,” though Cody would often tug my sleeve and say things like “This is the song from the third album that I played for you.” I would nod and listen.

As an alien, I could experience a Hanson concert as a melding of bubble gum, power pop and Beatlemania. I warmed to the music and appreciated Cody’s main point—no one listens because it’s impossible to get past the image of these young men as children. They are fine musicians and impressive entertainers, but unless you are already inside the Hanson bubble, they are unfairly catalogued only as pretty boys who make the girls scream.

Finally, at the finale, I recognized a song.


I swayed along as Isaac strummed the tune.

“Do you know this?” Cody asked.

“Yeah. It’s ‘Peace Train,’ by Cat Stevens. Well, Yusuf Islam nowadays.”

Cody leaned closer. “Who?”

“You don’t know Cat Stevens?”

She shook her head. “Never heard of him.”

I swayed. “Huh.”

We watched as Taylor sang the lyrics from a sheet of paper. Behind him, a choir of black children clapped hands. It was clichéd, but everyone was moving and I moved along.

After the show, we spilled on to the sidewalk. The crowd crushed close as we moved through Times Square. I told Cody that I had genuinely enjoyed seeing Hanson though her eyes.

“You’re not just saying that?” she asked. “Because honestly, given what you like, you should like Hanson.”

She began to tell me about a collaboration between Hanson and Carole King when I was distracted by a conversation between two young women at my side.

“What was that old song at the end?” one asked the other.

“’Peace Train,’” her friend answered assuredly. “It’s by the guy who wrote ‘Cat’s in the Cradle.’”

I interrupted. “I’m sorry, excuse me. ‘Peace Train’ is a Cat Stevens’s song. ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ was by Harry Chapin and his wife.’”

The friend was taken aback. “No, they are both by Cat Stevens.”

“I can understand the confusion. A lot of people think ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ is by Cat Stevens, I guess because ‘Cat’ is in the title. But it’s by Harry Chapin.”

The friend looked at her friend. “It’s by Cat Stevens.”

I smiled at both of them. “Wasn’t that a great show?”

“Amazing,” said the friend’s friend.

As we rode the subway to my place, Cody said she didn’t know Cat Stevens, and she only knew Carole King because she had worked with Hanson.

“There’s a very good reason why Carole King would want to work with songwriting prodigies,” I said.

That night, sex waited. We sat by my computer, pulling up tunes. Cody needed to know about Carole King.

Carole King


Anonymous said...

Funny, because:

a: I DO know Cat Stevens. My Mom's into him. Which I told you at the time. Regardless, your point was made.

b: I never talked to any of those girls. I knew them vaguely, but ew. Since when do I talk to people?

And you liked it a lot more than you let on. Remember when you shrieked, "Taylor, Taylor, please! Fuck me!," waving your arms maniacally and I had to hold you back?

Meg said...

wait, there are people in this world who don't know the words to peace train?

that album is pretty much a requirement for my sister and me every time we drive down to west virginia. yeah, cat stevens and donovan and the weepies.

man, we're such saps.

Anonymous said...

If Taylor Hanson doesn't know the words to "Peace Train," then they ain't worth knowing.


Bianca said...

Ahhh, Cat Stevens. I had this writing class in my last year of high school and the teacher would let us bring in music to listen to. For weeks all we listened to was Cat Stevens.

Anonymous said...

Right, ah...Cat Stevens.

Is everyone ignoring the actual point of this post?

Clearly, we need more videos of a certain band.