This Is What I Get For Doing My Own Greatest Hits Comp

September 2, 2009 at 5:16 am (Uncategorized)

While perusing the ol’ internet this morning, I happened to be checking new Tuesday releases and saw that there was a “greatest hits” compilation of The Apples In Stereo that was coming out. While that’s nice and everything, as someone who was in a tiny minority who didn’t care much for the last AiS disc (New Magnetic Wonder), I figured the disc would be heavy on that material and not so much on the Apples stuff that I personally loved.

Since I haven’t been to downtown DC in a long time, and since today was an absolutely glorious day (sun dappled and cool as the other side of the pillow) I figured I’d make my own Apples In Stereo greatest hits compilation for the ipod to accompany me for a nice museum crawl on a crisp pre-autumn afternoon. I just threw a bunch of songs on there from the first four or five albums/ep’s without really stopping to listen to any of them much, and then I was on my way.

I’ve always had a special affection for the first Apples album, Fun Trick Noisemaker. It came out when I was still working the counter at Euclid Records, and that album tends to bring back memories of afternoons spent in goofy, hilarious, better-than-Clerks conversations with the folks I worked with in more carefree days. I found out today it holds other memories, too.

I had been working in Chicago for maybe 6 months in ’99 or so when The Apples In Stereo played a show at Schuba’s (you can see a poster of that very show on John Cusack’s record shelf in the opening scenes of the movie High Fidelity). I went with some friends, and met a friend of a friend there named Kelli. Kelli was funny, smart, and quite lovely–way out of my league, I figured. Somehow we ended up hanging out a lot together, and then we ended up dating and spending a huge chunk of our time together. She had better taste in music than I do, and introduced me to stuff I’d never have even thought of giving a fair shake ’til she forced me to listen (yeah, she’d make me mix tapes; how cool is that in a girlfriend?) She was a big Elephant 6 fan (especially Neutral Milk Hotel, although she dug The Apples almost as much as I did), and the Apples song “High Tide” was one that seemed to be an essential part of the soundtrack of our relationship in its happiest days.

We broke up after she got a job in her degree field–she had a degree in international business and a minor in German and she got a dream job in Munich. We actually discussed me moving with her, but never too seriously, and although we tried to keep a long-distance relationship going for a few weeks, that sort of thing is pretty impossible given the circumstances. In 2004–about 3 or 4 years after she moved overseas–some of my friends who’d introduced me to Kelli were in DC and we went out for dinner and they informed me that she’d been killed in an auto accident six months before. They thought I knew, but it was news to me, and I was pretty crushed by it. As far as I know, she’s the only person I’ve dated who isn’t alive anymore, and at first it left me numb for a few weeks while I tried to process all that, and then it left me pretty sad for a good while afterwards.

Which is all in the past, now. Life goes on for the living, and days like today when the temperature doesn’t hit the 80’s and a cool breeze blows through the leaves and the sun chases the clouds off the sky are reason enough to be in love with these times. But as the metro pulled into the Smithsonian station this morning, “High Tide” came on my self-made Apples In Stereo compilation, and for a few minutes it was as if Kelli and I were walking up Chicago Ave in the Ukranian Village for beer and pinball at the Black Beetle….and I really hope no one at the metro stop noticed all the water in my eyes.

“This summer’s not over until we say goodbye
then will the tears roll out on the tide?”

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