PERMANENT RECORDS: I GUESS THIS IS THE END, THE FINAL SHOWDOWN
Permanent Records is a year-long project. Each Friday (or thereabouts), I will post a new entry about one specific album, chosen due to its significance to myself as a fan. Though the list is numbered, a particular record's placement should not be considered a ranking. There will be 52 albums in all--of which this is the last one.
01. SUEDE - COMING UP (1996)
Personnel: Brett Anderson, vocals; Richard Oakes, guitar; Mat Osman, bass; Simon Gilbert, drums; Neil Codling, keyboards
Producer: Ed Buller/Label: Nude
It was a small affair by request, but as the start-time grew near, the head undertaker began to fear that no one would come at all. It seemed almost more sad that no one would show up when the departed had expected it to be modest already. A man who dreams of a funeral with a large crowd has delusions of grandeur, but for someone to think that he has a few people in life he can rely on, and then for those people to let him down, that's a whole other level of pathetic.
But then the first couple arrived. Both were blonde, attractive, dressed nicely. The man was someone the undertaker had seen before, but he wasn't sure where. His hair was strange, almost like the curl of crème on a coconut pie. The woman was beautiful, large eyes, and they were filled with tears.
A smaller man came in behind, walking with a young girl in her early 20s. He wore a black-and-white suit, his hair a salt-and-pepper black and gray. His features were fair, his lips tight. When the first couple sat in the front row, the second followed and sat next to them. The girl was Asian, maybe Filipino. She was petite and pretty. Her gaze was cast low.
The departed had been a writer of some kind. He had requested his tombstone list only his name and the description, "An Unsuccessful Failure." A wry sense of humor, the undertaker guessed. They hadn't seen any creative types here before, the town was a pretty straightforward, traditional kind of place. Most of the tombstones listed family, accomplishments, sometimes a proverb. Most didn't find death to be witty.
A few more minutes passed, and another couple arrived. The man had dark hair and wore glasses; the woman had freckles on her nose and she was blonde, just like the first woman, but the undertaker thought this one maybe could be a model or on TV or something. She wore a scarf around her neck. She had already been crying, so her eyes matched her red lipstick.
It was an open casket, and the undertaker had learned in his career that you could tell what kind of a sleeper someone was even after death. This gentleman, this writer, you could tell he had many a restless night. His expression suggested that he was uncomfortable, that he was eager to roll over onto his side...if only he could.
At the prescribed start time, the undertaker went to the sound system and pressed play on the CD the departed had instructed him to play. There was to be no service, just this song.
"She can walk out anytime, anytime she wants to walk out, that's fine..."
The first man, the one with the strange hair. He smiled and nodded his head. When the words "And when I start my new life I won't touch the ground" came, he sang along, mouthing them quietly to himself.
The song was winding down. "Into the sea we'll bleed," the singer repeated over and over. That's when another man entered the room. He was wearing a dark suit and fedora, and when he removed the hat, he revealed a shag of black hair. He walked cautiously toward the casket, like he was unsure of what he was looking for. As he approached, he lost his composure. The man began to sob, and he threw his body on top of the coffin's lid. His body heaved, rising and falling with his tears.
Then the song finished, and the last man composed himself. He went to the others, greeted them. He and the first two pairs seemed to know each other. The other couple, they left quietly on their own.
Once everyone was gone, it was just the undertaker and the body. The living man liked the song the dead man had chosen, and so he played it again. Walking out of the room, he reached for the light switch, but before he turned the lights off, he looked back one last time at his customer. He hadn't noticed before, but there on top of the casket, the final man had left his hat.
The undertaker turned out the light and closed the door, the music humming softly inside. "So we sold the car and quit the job/ shook some hands and wiped the make-up right off...."
NOTABLE B-SIDE: One of the extra tracks on "Trash" is called "Another No-One." I figure that's pretty much self-explanatory.
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Current Soundtrack: 94.7 KNRK
Current Mood: finished
All text (c) 2006 Jamie S. Rich