In High School I drove two cars. The first was my Mother’s Plymouth Breeze, it was purple and very uncool. The second was mine. All mine. With some help from Mom & Dad I was able to get my dream car. It was a 1992 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser Station Wagon. It was perfect. Light blue and big as a boat. My bands would use it to haul gear around town. I would weave in and out of traffic with the grace of boulder rolling down a mountain.
It was the first car I ever drove that had a CD player in it. I went to Best Buy and had them jam it into the dash. About a week or two after it was installed it was stolen. So I had to switch back to cassette deck. It was one of the greatest things that ever happened to driving. While my friends cruised around town listening to perfectly reasonable bands like Snow Patrol and Deathcab, I was able to resurrect classics like Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak and the Tom Petty Greatest Hits Collection. All of which were from my parents’ cassette shelf.
But the ultimate cassette that stayed in that beat up wagon was Fiona Apple’s Tidal. I would drive around late at night with the Beck Brothers and we’d sing along like a bunch of schoolgirls. There wasn’t much else for us to do in the Midwest than drive around at night. The wagon was perfect for late night drives around the cornfields and barnyards of Ohio. Tidal quickly became one of our favorites for these drives. Every song on that album seems to hit harder than the last. And despite being teenage boys we weren’t afraid to let loose our love for Tidal and by the time we got to “Never is a Promise” we fell silent, windows down and just let it play.
In college I worked at the campus radio station and was privy to all the new music coming into the station. My freshman year we got Apple’s Extraordinary Machine. My girlfriend Keri would slunk down in the passenger seat with her feet up on the dash as we blasted “Not About Love”. A song that winds itself in and out of a love song as much most college kids, not us though. By this time the wagon had some work done. Aside from the guts being ripped out, my friends and I also decided it would be a good idea to spray paint the entire car. A sort of drivable billboard for our semi-graffiti artist friend Matt Brown. The colors were sick. Too sick for my parents’ neighborhood – the cops were called numerous times about the car from angry, old white people. Sadly the wagon didn’t make to the ‘real world’ with me. It died during my senior year of college and was hauled to a junk yard in Poughkeepsie, NY for scraps. I got a checl for $150.
Now as an ‘adult’, I drive a Honda Fit. It’s safe, and reliable and gets great gas mileage. Perfect for a myself and my girlfriend err - fiancé and our dog. This morning when I saw that Fiona Apple has dropped her newest single I couldn’t help but think about how much time I have spent with her music in the car. I’m sure come June she’ll return to the staples of late night drives. For now please take a listen to “Every Single Night”.