Friday, September 26, 2008

Flashback Friday: Hazy Shade of Winter

So I am listening to my iPod while I'm emptying out the dishwasher (one of, if not the most hated jobs I do as a homemaker) and on comes Hazy Shade of Winter remade by the Bangles in 1987. Well, actually first came on Vanessa Hudgens' Sneakernight which is what Michaela was listening to last... pure fluff pop but it is not really offensive and Michaela loves anything with a connection, however tenuous, with High School Musical.

Hazy Shade of Winter is one of my favorite songs of all time. Most people know that it originally was recorded by Simon and Garfunkel, who I love so much I could write a WHOLE BLOG about them, and re-recorded and sped up by the all-girl '80s band the Bangles of Walk Like an Egyptian fame. The song was featured on the soundtrack to the film Less than Zero, starring a very young Andrew McCarthy , Jami Gertz and a pre-drug-addicted Robert Downey Jr. The video for it was awesome, just AWESOME, and played numerous times when MTV still played videos.

The movie and the slightly harrowing book it is based on follows these three young adults as they reconnect during a winter semester break from college in LA and live life waaaaay to fast. Robert Downey Jr.'s character actually is a drug user, totally devoid of morals and soul, and the two friends make an attempt to save him and of course end up falling in love. Or lust.

Anyway, I think it made such an impression on me for several reasons:
1. The song starts out kind of slow and then a grinding guitar kicks in and the rest of the song features a swirling sense of spinning out of control, slowing down and spinning up. I'm a real sucker for tempo variation.

2. There's a real sadness to the lyrics, about fall coming to an end, winter approaching and things transitioning and/or dying. What an upper.

Look around, leaves are brown, and the sky...
there's a hazy shade of winter.

Seasons change with the scenery, weaving time in a tapestry...
won't you stop and remember me?

3. The video is BRILLIANT. It features scenes from the movie, which soundtrack songs usually did back then, and shows the descent into a hellish out-of-control-life for the main characters, including scenes from a rave-type dance club, music pounding, lights all around them, and, in my favorite scene of all, Jami Gertz and Andrew McCarthy kissing while in a convertible stopped in the middle of the road, motorcycles passing by them and they are totally oblivious to anything but each other. There is also a scene in which it appears that Jami and Robert are in bed together that lends an arc of betrayal over the whole thing. Jami and Andrew are trying desperately pull Robert out of from this free fall, and since I was too young to see the movie, being 13 and in 8th grade in 1987, I never knew how it ended.

Ohhhhh, how I wanted to be Jami Gertz and kiss Andrew! To hear that music and see those lights all around and have him just focused on me! Such excitement! Such drama! Such urgency!Every time I saw the video I was transported, just briefly, into this grownup world with real problems and dire consequences and lust and betrayal and clubbing and lights and great music.

SOOO much better than studying for a social studies test on the Ancient Mesopotamians.

4. Andrew McCarthy. Oh, Andrew. You were a thinking girl's dreamboy. Not really conventionally handsome, you had that glimmer of inner angst, that spark of intelligence and sensitivity that sucked me in so hard I could hardly breathe. Everyone knew that though Robert Downey Jr was sort of hotter, he was trouble with a capital T and would certainly never call you the next day. He was a conquest, a bold, brash, hot guy that loved you and forgot you. But Andrew... he would talk to you, show interest in you, go on a leisurely ride on a top-down convertible with you, and was juuuust hot enough in that adorable '80s way that he was THE ONE. Sigh.

Anyway, I am sad to report that I actually have never seen the movie, but probably should. At this point I'm scared of being disappointed in some way and would rather just hold on to the fantasy of what I think it's about.


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