The Charleston Gazette-Mail does a weekly seasonal music column called "Sounds of Summer." It's written on a rotating basis by randomly-selected staff members. I was asked to contribute to a mid-August issue. I looked at the past issues and thought that people were taking it way too seriously; nobody really cares what music we love and what touches us deeply. So, I wanted to have some fun with it. I thought of funny stories involving me and women in my past, added some song titles that related to it, and turned it in. I was told we couldn't print that one, as it was a bit too scandalous. I decided to write a second column. I wanted it to be edgy and funny, and I did that. Without mentioning the word directly, I wrote a column detailing my favorite songs that say "goddamn" in the lyrics -- Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, Foo Fighters, Weezer, etc. I was told it was "too edgy." They say that the 3rd time is the charm, so I decided to write about my favorite musicians who died when they were 27.
The first column is below; I literally just thought of stories with women and bars and good/bad times and wrote those, then figured out a song title that relates to it.
The second one, I'll post at a later date.
The third one, can be found by clicking here.
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By Chris Slater
The Sounds of Summer? Des-puh-see-tow? Or something like that? I haven’t watched the most-watched YouTube video of all time. I’m not keen on what the kids are into these days. To quote Abe Simpson, “I used to be with it. But then they changed what ‘it’ is.” With that, here are some random stories that relate to songs.
“Cigarettes and Alcohol,” Oasis ... I’ve been out looking for a good time, and as the “Britpop” track points out, all I’ve found is cigarettes and alcohol. My attempts at wooing a lady since moving to Charleston haven’t been good. Rejection has been the tale of the tape. One particularly woeful night, I’m staggering home, after a night of disappointment at the ironically-named Red Carpet and thinking about how this isn’t fun anymore. That was the start of my two-month break from alcohol. I’ve since picked up that bad habit again and hit up the bar scene. Still looking for that elusive good time.
“Every Breaking Wave,” U2 ... I got cheated on once by a girlfriend. Celia asked me at the time not to tell anybody, so I won't go into detail about how she went to the beach and had sex with one of her friends. The next day, I'm working at Outback, pretending to be cheerful to the horrible customers. While punching in an order, "Every Breaking Wave," the only good song on that U2 album iTunes gave everybody, began playing over the speakers. That was when I realized it was about a failing relationship. We're the sand and the waves ruin us. I had to do that thing where you blink a lot and try to maintain your composure. Crying at Outback would have affected my tips.
“Go Away,” Weezer ... The girl I met on Tinder from channel 13 ghosted me. That's the worst. It's one thing to say "Yeah, this isn't working out, let's not do this anymore." It's another thing to spend a month getting to know each other -- enough time to get over the initial cringe factor of her having the same name as my mother -- and then realize after two weeks of her not replying to texts that you're no longer Facebook friends. I know my faults; I understand why a lot of people don't like me. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what I did to cause this to happen. I don't know why she was telling me to go away.
“She’s Only 18,” Red Hot Chili Peppers ... I realized that I wasn't matching up well with women my own age. 28-, 29-, 30-year-old ladies didn't seem to connect mentally with me. So, I dropped down an age bracket and started seeing girls a lot younger. 18 to 20 became the "flavor of the month." Trends I've noticed in the young kids: they tend to identify as pansexual, a lot are submissive and they spend all their free time on tumblr. As Anthony Kiedis sings, "She took a shortcut to being fully grown." I enjoyed the thrill of knowing I was doing something socially weird. It was fun when they would have to lie to their parents to come see me. I was especially drawn to the fact that they were still upbeat and not destroyed by the crushing agony of life.
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” The Rolling Stones ... I went out to the bar one night and ran into two friends -- a girl I knew from working at Outback and one from school. They both hit it off well and we all had a grand time. The night culminated with me getting forcibly removed from a strip club after mouthing off to a stripper -- but that's a story for another time. As the night winds down, school friend looks at work friend and asks a question. I'll paraphrase in order to clean up the language: "Hey, are you interested in joining me for a girl-on-girl sex act?" Work friend says yes. You know that emoji with the shocked face and huge eyes? That's me right now. School friend decides to ask a follow up: "Remember that sex act I mentioned a moment ago? How about we involve Chris in that as well?" I drive us to the most romantic spot to do something like that: the Budget Inn. Work friend opens the car door ... and immediately begins puking all over the parking lot. I try in vain to save the night. But, alas, it did not happen. And I learned that you can't always get what you want.
Chris Slater is a copy editor with the Charleston Gazette-Mail. He has a weird obsession with anthropomorphic animals and spends his free time watching either “The Simpsons” or professional wrestling. Follow him on twitter, @chris_slater.