September 30, 2013 by NowhereButPop
“It would be so cool to be cool with you”
-Bunker Hill, Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Tell me all of your secrets, cannot help but believe this is true”
-Cherub Rock, Smashing Pumpkins
It’s a Sunday afternoon in late September, and I’ve just come back home from an hour long drive I took for no reason in particular. For some reason, driving on a beautiful day through Huntington Village with the windows down blasting my music has always been very liberating and relaxing for me. As I set my iPod playlist to shuffle, once song came up that has always put a smile on my face, and it automatically transformed a normal day into a great day. It wasn’t simply by virtue of it coming on when I least expected it, but because of all the wonderful memories that song brings back to me.
The song is “Tell Me Baby” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers off of their double album Stadium Arcadium. The song itself was well received by critics, but wasn’t noted as being a standout song on the album. I beg to differ. The song and the video accompanying the song are both optimistic and innocent representations of meeting different people. Consequently the song was written about the legion of hopefuls who migrate to Hollywood trying to make it. But for me the song has always been more personal, but at the same time representative of a blanket concept in most peoples’ lives.
Unlike other songs such as “You Took the Word Right Out of my Mouth”, or “Last Friday Night” which will always remind me of one specific girl, “Tell Me Baby” will always remind me of meeting a girl for the first time. Not any girl in particular, but just the feeling of those initial sparks, the idea that at that specific point in time she was the most interesting and fascinating person on the entire planet. Anytime we meet someone whom we are instantaneously attracted to, we have this desire to communicate and share emotions. Some of us feel this tug more strongly than others, but the premise remains the same. You want to share yourself with this person, and have them do the same with you.
Obviously enough, I can pick out a handful of girls with whom I was so enamored with that I couldn’t know enough about them. My second favorite line of the song “Tell me baby what’s your story, where you come from and where you wanna go” reminds me of all those times. There’s an innocence that goes behind the “I just want to see her naked” part of men’s brains. That innocent attraction that “Tell Me Baby” reminds me of is something that supersedes that carnal lust. “You’re so lovely, are you lonely” is my favorite line of the song, and quite possibly my favorite line of the entire album. Again, it reminds me of all the times that I actually had substantial feelings for that particular girl. It brings with it this sense that not only is she lovely and beautiful, but also that I wanted to make sure that she wasn’t lonely or upset.
Anyone reading this will realize that these are entirely idealistic thoughts and rationales, and I think that’s the point. In those opening moments of meeting someone who not only are you sexually attracted to, but someone who intrigues you and captivates you, it provides something more than a physical tryst. It yields, or at the very least with me, it yields this very naïve and idealistic sense of genuine interest and those five minutes thinking to myself that she is the most wonderful person to have ever walked the planet. I don’t know if that’s an intense and over the top thought process, but then again I’m an intense and over the top person.
Even though “Tell Me Baby” reminds me of those times where I was so enamored, I guess it does remind me of one girl more than the others. I think it’s because she was the one I had those feelings and thoughts for when I first realized why I love “Tell Me Baby” as I do. My relationship with her was still in that “getting to know you” phase, where you’re still star struck by the other person. But as with most things, it fell apart because we realized that we weren’t compatible with each other. She was too immature for me, and I was too much of an asshole to her. I don’t have feelings for her anymore, but “Tell Me Baby” reminds me that I once did, and it reminds me exactly how I felt for her.
They say that the sense of smell is the sense most closely associated with memory, sometimes I think it might actually be hearing. The songs I like the best are songs that remind me of something, a place, and event, a person, whatever. Of those songs, my favorite ones are the ones that bring back the best memories. For me, “Tell Me Baby” does this. For me “Tell Me Baby” reminds me of all those times I’ve asked a girl to “tell me baby, what’s your story”.