Saturday, November 21, 2009

BIBJ Playlist of the 2000's entry #95: Tonight's Not Alright by Plumtree

The first cell phone I owned was a tiny Japanese model that is still lighter than all phones I've owned since. One of the ever-so-Japanese gadgety features was the ability to program customized ring tones via a simplistic Do-Re-Me interface. Needless to say, when you're a highly overpaid and underworked employee of the Japanese government you'll find time to tap out a ring tone or two.

Flash then to some evening at one of the gaijin bars with great names like Spoon, Mondo, Flower, or Wanted. Somewhere in the mix, and most likely on purpose, I played my pocket-sized ring tone for Catriona. She was flattered and the insider tidbit she offered made me glow with glee.

The 20-second snippet I'd chosen to recreate in electronic polyphony came from "Tonight's Not Alright" by Plumtree. Thanks to Catriona I had a copy of This Day Won't Last at All and had fallen in love with its entirety. But the heartbreaking walk down the fretboard at the 2:16 mark had been what hooked me.

Now people will and try and make suggestions,
and it only makes sense,
'cause they're having days like today,
where everything seems so crisp and clear,
crisp and clear,
crisp and clear,
crisp and

The twelve notes that intertwine with those closing words have had an immeasurable and unexplainable effect on me. This album became the soundtrack to my time in Japan, and those twelve notes the backbone of my ring tone, an homage to band I would never see live.

The cool part, the part I can articulate, is that after my debut of Casio-proud talent, Catriona told me that those few seconds were singer and guitarist Carla Gillis's favorite part of the album. It used to strike me as odd that artists could actually like (or dislike) different parts of their work, but finding out that through some cosmic coincidence I was in love with the same moment as someone else made feel fuzzy.

I still have that cell phone and its AC adapter. I used to show it to people who even in this age of smart phones were mesmerized by its wee-ness. The battery used to hold a charge, but would lose full power from time to time. Some time ago, I got it out, plugged it in and fired it up. Evidently the battery can't sit dormant too long because despite any hopes, all stored memory was gone.

I lost my ring tone, but in all honesty, I don't seem to mind.

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