Ever hear a song that reminds you of a very specific time and/or place in your life? I asked Raechel Brown of Crocodile if there was song from her past that brought back memories. Her answer?
Here’s what Raechel had to say:
I became a fan of the Cure when a friend and I swapped CD’s when I was 13 or 14. I am sure I gave her something completely worthless, but low and behold, I ended up with what was to be the music of my favorite band. Soon there after, I started collecting everything The Cure put out that I could get my hands on. I’m not completely sure when I picked up The Head on the Door. It was after I had fallen in love with their earlier stuff and Robert Smith’s signature mop but most especially their poppy side. Not bragging about this, because I would have loved to have seen a show during the Disintegration tour, but I was too young to discover the Cure completely chronologically like some of the old school fans I’ve seen at shows. (I was 3 when The Head on the Door was released.) I know I must have purchased it after what was a strange move from stuck-up suburbia back to the nice down home country-ish town I had grown up in known as Choctaw, Oklahoma. If I had to take a guess on when I bought it, I would say I was about 15 years old… rough times in most of our lives, yes?
That was also around the time I started playing guitar. I began learning some of the songs on that record and would play them for hours, especially “Push”. (That is still one of my favorite intros ever!)
I’m sure I drove my family up the wall. For a little while, I only had a Fender Squire that a boy had given me with no amp, so there was not much noise to be heard, but when my parents saw I was serious about learning, that Christmas they gave me a Takamine and my uncle upgraded me to a Gibson (with an amp!)
My copy of The Head on the Door was in jeopardy of being thrown in the fire at one of the Christian fundamentalist Nazi-style record burnings pretty quickly after I first got it. My parents are very devout conservative fundamentalists and we had quite a rocky relationship as far as my musical taste was concerned back then. My mother was convinced “Head on the Door” was new slang that the kids were using for something sexual. I argued my case and somehow saved it from the flames. I still wonder if it would have gone in the bonfire had she opened it up and read the lyrics to “The Blood” or if she would have misinterpreted it and thought The Cure were a Christian band.
Anyway, you know how there are some records or songs that have a scent? As a senior my car had a cherry sweet-tart smelling air freshener. I would blast “Push” almost every day waiting to get out of the high school parking lot. I was in this candy smelling race car. School was over. The guitars on that intro were like pure adrenaline and then the drums would come in and it’s like YES! I am ready to get out of here and….wait in line behind what seemed like millions of other kids just as eager to get out of the parking lot- waiting for what could be 30 minutes. Often times, I’d just play the song over and over until I escaped that horrible lot, but I still smell sweet tarts when I listen to that song.
“Six Different Ways” was always my favorite track on the record from day one. It still is. It’s a pretty complex song but somehow manages to be so sweet. For some reason I would envision little woodland creatures building dams and homes for themselves out of trees, I think it’s that percussion noise that is almost a typewriter sound that brings up those thoughts. I love it!
My high school art teacher was also a huge Cure fan. I don’t talk to her anymore, but we would actually hang out after school a lot. It was a pretty strange relationship now that I look back on it. We were close friends. I think the thing that initially connected us was that there weren’t many people that knew who The Cure was in Choctaw, and it was fun to have another fan to talk to about how totally cute Robert Smith was, or how great a video was, or whatever. They weren’t being played on the radio, and everyone in Choctaw listened R&B, Country, or Christian. I would imagine it has gotten better since then because the town has grown quite a bit. At teacher’s request, I basically controlled the high school art room CD player, and when it was Cure, it was BLARING! Because The Head on the Door was always in my car, it was in frequent rotation. I remember dancing around the art room during ceramics class to “A Night Like This” with paintbrushes for glazing pottery flying around the room one day and other students looking at me like I was completely out of my gourd.
The opening track “In Between Days”, was always the old standby a few years ago for drunken dance parties by myself in the living room or for playing slow sad teary-eyed versions of on my piano when I’d hit a rough spot with my then boyfriend, future fiance, then husband. It may be catchy and upbeat with crazy cute little neon socks flying around in the video but it’s really a heart breaker. It’s like a candy coated thorn apple that can really rip your insides out and mess you up if you let it. Fortunately, neither of these situations have happened in a few years.
The Head on the Door brings back so much emotion every time I listen to it. There are so many great musical moments throughout it. I can really enjoy the whole record and what it brings back… even when I get the occasional weird feeling in my stomach from a sad memory that comes back every now and then.
Rachael’s husband (and bandmate) Derek is currently on tour playing guitar with The Flaming Lips. Hopefully upon his return from the tour Crocodile will work on the follow up to 2008’s The Great Depression EP (which you can listen to below).