By Miles Erickson

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Vague Intentions
Illustration By Miles Erickson
This week “vague” is the operative word. The longer I live outside of Topanga, the more I appreciate it. Topanga is a place that doesn’t change objectively. With the exception of a couple of boujee breakfast places, it changes only in the perspective of those who continue to return or never leave. Coming back to Topanga feels like Frodo returning home to the Shire, though maybe everybody feels that way about the place where they grew up. Contrarily, There’s an endless sadness and infinite melancholia that perpetuates through Los Angeles as a whole. It’s a kind of lingering energy left behind by millions of dreams that never came to be, and the knowledge that the ones who make it here wind up becoming figures just as tragic as the ones who don’t. Today I was at Subway and the guy making my sandwich told me I looked really tired —Man, if that doesn’t encapsulate my entire week! Did you forget Valentine’s day and need to make amends with your significant other with some love songs? Fear not! My collection of music is almost as well curated as my collection of antidepressants. Aside from the fact that we just had Valentine’s Day, I’ve included these songs because over the weekend I was with a woman whom I’d been on a few dates with already and I asked her if she would want to be in a relationship with me. The way I phrased it was, “Would you like to continue doing this in a more official capacity?” Now, in my head this sounded cute and like something Hugh Grant would say in a ‘90s rom-com. In reality it came off like I was offering this woman a salaried position at Goldman Sachs. Also, you’ve really gotta respect this woman’s fortitude because when she told me it wasn’t going to work out, I was halfway through giving her a tattoo. You can find this playlist on Spotify; or search “Long Distance Listening Party;” or my username, Mileserickson-354. I’ll be adding new songs every two weeks to coincide with publication dates. Long Distance Listening Party, Vol. 2 The Concept—Teenage Fanclub Cherry-Coloured Funk—Cocteau Twins Jealous guy—Roxy Music I’m So Tired—Fugazi Harvey—Her’s La Nuit n’en Finit Plus—Petula Clark Harvest Moon—Sunflower Bean Phantom Limb—The Shins Tender Situation—Tear Harvey by Her’s sounds like a Petula Clark song if Petula Clark were a killer android. I’ve added Clark’s cover of Needles and Pins to this playlist specifically, so you would understand my outstanding joke. The juxtaposition between the vintage, lovey synth pieces and the deep, robotic vocals work extremely well, especially when paired with the fast-paced drum machine. Harvest Moon is the fourth cover on this week’s addition to the playlist, after Jealous Guy, La Nuit n’en Finit Plus and Tender Situation. Today’s hot take is that I think Sunflower Bean’s cover of this song is better than the original. But even if you don’t agree with me, it doesn’t really matter, it’s not like you’re gonna be listening to Neil Young’s version on Spotify any time soon, but it’s like Neil Young but with some added serotonin deficiency. Jealous Guy is a Roxy Music cover of a John Lennon song, I tend to feel like Lennon’s songs are pretty understated production wise. They don’t need a lot of extra flair and theatrics because the songs are confident in how good they are, particularly songs off 1971’s Imagine. But theatrics are Roxy Music’s bread and butter. Playing Jealous Guy’s melody with an electric guitar is a bold move, It’s not a song that needs to be “cooler,” it’s a song that’s about being pathetic and wrong and vulnerable. Phil Manzanera genuinely makes his guitar sound like its crying and I’m here for it. Miles Erickson is a recent graduate of CalArts, a published author, and currently enrolled in a prestigious, four-year student loan repayment program. Spotify (Mileserickson-354)

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February 18, 2022