Ever since I got my first karaoke machine at 6, I’ve been on a quest for CDs. While many just stick to downloading music on their phones, I prefer to get CDs because they last forever (if they don’t scratch). Even when my karaoke machine decides to give me trouble, I can pop the shiny discs into the car and they’ll work just the same. Needless to say, the first CD that I actually bought with my own money is still around today.
It all began spring break of my 3rd grade year. My friend invited me to go on a trip to Houston with her and her family. As we drove the daunting 2 hours to the Woodlands, we listened to a peculiar album in the car. In fact, wherever we went in the city, the album was playing in the car. Through rainy afternoons, we listened to the melodic voice of John Mayer drive us softly into a slumber. After the trip was over, I distinctly remember recalling the name “Continuum” in my head. Continuum, the album we had spent hours listening to, was what I was after.
Flash forward to the College Hills talent show. Years of experience with my karaoke machine had served me well, and I was ready to hit the stage, or so I thought. One major issue struck me. I needed a song desperately. Searching inside my youthful head for some possible tracks, I avoided the obvious Kelly Clarkson (whose cd I knew well), and Bob Marley (whose songs I also knew). Instead, I wanted to take a risk. I wanted to sing the melodic hymns of John Mayer, even if he was singing about a heartbreak with a girl. I wanted to sing about Waiting on the World to Change, and I wanted to sing about Gravity even if I didn’t completely know what gravity was. My sister needed something at Hastings a couple days after the epiphany struck, and I decided that this was my prime opportunity. Sneaking my meager allowance into my purse, I trudged on. My sister was in search of a book while we were there, so I decided to wander to the music section. There in a grey cover with white letters was Continuum. Grabbing it with my tiny fingers, I heard my mom’s voice behind me. “Who’s that,” she inquired. I explained that we listened to him in the car for spring break, and that I needed that CD for the talent show. I added that I’d pay, citing that I needed to exercise my responsibility as a young adult. She humorously agreed.
The instant song of choice was “Dreaming with a Broken Heart.” That one was my favorite, and even though 8-year-old me knew nothing about heartbreak, I was prepared to sing. Boisterously, I wandered down stairs a few days before the talent show tryouts. Standing in front of my mom and dad in the living room, I broke into song. “When you’re dreaming with a broken heart……..the waking up is the hard-est part….you roll out of bed, and down on your knees, and for a moment you can hardly breathe…….wondering was she really here…. is she standing in my room….no she’s not….cause she’s gone, gone, gone, goneeeeeeee”
My parents looked at me inquisitively. I promptly told them that I would exchange she for he, and that the song would then make more sense. Looking back, I’m trying to imagine how disconcerting it must have been to have had an 8-year old be so set on singing such a depressing song. “Well,” they continued, “that’s not it, it’s just, the song doesn’t really make sense coming from you.” Solemnly, I trudged back upstairs. As I sat listening to the hymns of John Mayer, I knew my mom was right. That year, instead of singing John Mayer, I sang “We Will Rock You” (Only after I had been convinced that “Bohemian Rhapsody” was too much for me too.)
John Mayer’s Continuum is still one of the few albums I have forever cemented in my head. And although John Mayer may not be my favorite person anymore (he cheats on every woman he dates), he is a damn good lyricist and guitarist. This blog inspired me to listen again, not in my glitchy karaoke machine, but to the full album on youtube. Eight years have changed my understanding of all the songs, but my choices remain the same. “Dreaming With a Broken Heart,” is the most moving.