Strike the Match
I recently shared with someone that I was smoldering.
I’m a middle-aged chick living in the middle of nowhere. With a teen son. I mean, I’ve got a CPA license. In another life, I was a tax geek.
This is not the life of someone with a lot of smolder experience.
Yet, here I am. So, yeah. Light that match. Let me burn. Or at least let me have the chance to burn. (I’m chuckling.)
In the meantime, I’ve got my music to allow me to go through the motions…and the emotions.
As always: big names, lots of live performances, outside-the-box picks, and a mixtape that only I would create.
I’ve previously shared that I saw Shawn Mullins perform at the intimate Cactus Cafe on the University of Texas campus. I wasn’t very familiar with his music catalog aside from 90s hit, “Lullaby,” but was super impressed with him.
“Light You Up” and “Ferguson” were highlights. Shawn Mullins is so good live that I would never bother sharing a studio cut of anything of his.
This performance of “Light You Up” is excellent but I’ve been unable to find anything on YouTube that matches the passion from the version I witnessed. Crank this up 100 times and you’ll have a sense of what we were treated to.
I need to give credit to his long-time collaborator, Radoslav Lorkovic, who accompanied him at the Cactus Cafe show. I’m sure their synergy created the insane emotion that night. It was a magical show.
“Light You Up” is sultry rather than blatantly sexy. Suggestive and cheeky. I seek this one out when I’m in a certain mood.
When I think of musical chemistry, the Civil Wars’ would make my top 10. Heck, probably top 3.
For those unanointed to this duet, you would assume they were a couple. No, they are both married (to other people, natch) and never more than musical partners.
The speculation remains that this type of chemistry doesn’t work with other loved ones in the picture. Maybe we’ll never know the true reason for their demise, but we’re blessed with lingering songs like “Tip of My Tongue.”
Their sensuality is my favorite. Quietly building, intensely passionate.
I mean, John Paul White is wearing a bow tie for heaven’s sake. But oh, my!
My fingers hovered over the screen. I stopped, looked at Bruce Springsteen again, put my fingers over my mouth, smiled. And had to start over.
I’m biting my lip. Hard.
Ok, let’s just get on with it.
I’m a sapiosexual. I like glasses and cardigans and wit. But I’m a red-blooded American chick, too.
Strong quads pulling against Levis, toned arms, and a black guitar. They’re classic, amiright?
This live cut of “Fire” isn’t a song. It’s a tease.
The bravado, the swagger, the touch of cockiness. It’s intoxicating. I’m not even going to apologize.
Teenage Bonnie (oh, hell…middle age Bonnie) is all about the dudes of the alt 80s music scene. Black clothes, lean build, good hair.
Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan has aged well (which is shocking given his lifestyle choices as a younger man). [And everyone knows that I was always an Alan Wilder girl.]
The studio cut of “In Chains” is really killer, but this shortened live cut is equally successful. It’s stripped down to create a raw, haunting vibe.
I’m digging this particular version of Stevie Nicks’ “Rooms on Fire.” The studio cut is burdened with an overly sweet synth intro. Man, it’s just not good.
One of the hazards of 80s music is the synthesizer. When used appropriately, it’s timeless or cutting edge or detached cool. But it can go wrong so, so easily!
This House of Blues performance wisely tones that down to create a shimmery, magical vibe. That suits Stevie Nicks much better — a definite improvement over the studio version.
Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” isn’t far off from 80s pop. In other words, it’s very on-brand for me! It avoids being sleazy — it shares the spirit of, say, Rick Springfield or Pat Benatar.
This is one of those songs that I’m going to blast in the car and warble the chorus. I can’t help it! It’s so catchy and charming.
Those first few lines serve to prove that Katy Perry does not need autotune. Thank you very much.
She may be a kooky pop princess, but she’s the real deal in her own way.
This particular venue is really special. Great acoustics and the guitar leans a bit more into rock than the other versions.
Grrrr. CeeLo’s voice is so good that I’d prefer a live version. I didn’t like the options, though, so I’m sticking with the groovier studio cut.
“Smells Like Fire” melds CeeLo’s modern sensibilities through a 70s lens. CeeLo has such confidence as a performer, but there’s always an undercurrent of earnestness that I respond to.
I don’t like a lot of current music, but a find like this reminds me it’s not all dreck!
Until her 40’s, Bonnie’s worst nightmare included writing and sharing personal stories publicly. At her friends’ suggestion, she bemusedly started Bonnie’s Mixed Tape on Medium in 2017. She remains shocked that anyone reads her stories and that P.S. I Love You, Assemblage, the Writing Cooperative, and the Ascent have published her work.
Bonnie loves all types of music, but really, really, really loves the 80s.
Thank you for reading this story
I know you are busy and have lots of ways you could be spending your time. you using your time to read my work means the world to me — my sincerest thanks!