Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The End of the Eighties, Track 24

“Her Way of Praying”
The Jesus and Mary Chain

A polarizing album, Automatic is The Jesus and Mary Chain one that finds the Reid brothers acting as a duo, splitting vocal duties and fleshing out their sound via drum machine and a synthesizer for bass. Embracing late ’80s bombast, the album sounds big and encompasses everything from fuzz-laced feedback to acid-fueled trips. “Her Way of Praying”, though, has always been my favorite JAMC song.

The sex-as-prayer analogy of “Her Way of Praying” fell right into my religious-questioning, lust-craving late teenage wheelhouse. It’s a song (and album) I have always associated with Maria, who I dated after my relationship with Kari imploded. Here’s what I’ve said about Maria previously…

That fall semester at BG, I took a music appreciation class of some kind (it’s a little fuzzy at this point) in the Moore Musical Arts Center. The first day of class, this cute girl and I chatted briefly and began a classroom friendship, but neither pursued anything beyond that until the end of the semester rolled around. Through small talk in class, we realized we were both from Northeast Ohio. She went to Central Catholic and grew up right in the geographic center of my high school social world. We decided to get together while home for the holidays.

I was at the peak of my punk phase at the time... my hair dyed jet black or blue-black or maroon or purple depending on the week, eyeliner, black nail polish and lipstick, my ears pierced a half-dozen times. She had a simple, girl-next-door beauty. And a boyfriend. Despite my appearance and her ties, her parents and I got along well-enough, and Maria and I spent a large part of those weeks home together. There were many late nights getting to know each other while we drank bottomless cups of coffee and I chain-smoked Marlboro Lights in a booth at the Denny’s on Everhard Road, and hanging out at her parents’ house.

Perhaps not the healthiest of relationships, in retrospect I suppose that’s what dating and youth are all about – the mistakes are a means to an end for finding one’s identity.

Automatic was released just a few months before the holidays, and I was hot and heavy on it through the winter. It got plenty of airplay while home for break and well into the spring semester back at school. All of this plays into the notion that a current album by an artist while you’re deeply immersed in a genre is more important than any other album that artist will release, and that is certainly the case for me and this collection of songs from 1989. While another track from this album will appear later on the playlist originating on the Thursday’s compilation, this album track will always evoke Bowling Green and those Northeast Ohio nights while home for the holidays.