February 11, 2007
Sunday morning Hope
In seventh grade ('93-'94), when I first really started watching MTV to figure out what to listen to in order to not appear from outer space, I was pretty lucky to have tuned in right as some halfway decent pop music started making the rotation -- unlike, say, if I'd begun watching it in the late '90s when all of the girl power and boy bands effaced the earlier grunge and punkish trends, and when hip-hop artists competed to see how low into the gutter they could drag their genre. One of the first videos I remember seeing was "Fade Into You" by Mazzy Star, although I pretty quickly forgot it.
Their music isn't for sanguine souls: getting into it requires that the listener believe they're being pulled out to sea by a glacially paced rip-tide that they've already surrendered to. So, appreciating their music had to wait until I started using Accutane throughout most of my college years. (My acne wasn't actually so bad, but it just wouldn't respond to anything else.) I'm sure the drug causes depression, but probably only among susceptible groups like those who already score low on Extraversion and high on Neuroticism.
Having mellowed out a bit since graduating, I'm not as drawn to their music as before, but I'll never escape the allure of the voice of Hope Sandoval. The soft, smoky swirl of notes that enswathes your weary mind is like a cat that's curled its legs over your arm as you're about to fall asleep.