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Benjamin Orr, "Skyline"

Posted on January 2, 2017 at 09:18:14

Posts: 2970
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000
Among my audiophile friends, there's this friendly "debate" about which was pop music's best year: 1987 or 1992. Conveniently, now that it's 2017, we commemorate the 30th and 25th, respectively, anniversary of those glorious years. Personally, I do not have a bias. I don't care from whence the music came. We just trace its roots, study its history, give our personal connections, gain perspective, and (hopefully) enjoy.

So in 2017, I resolve to do just that, regarding the depth and breadth that were 1987 and 1992.

Here in Rocky Road, I've already written about the late Benjamin Orr's solo album, The Lace. And that came a few years after I had originally blogged about it.

Early in 1987, my fellow sophomore classmate, Stephen, asked about a freshman girl named Stacey, who was in my Latin class. Turned out that Stephen and Stacey were brother and sister! Anyway, I would borrow Orr's The Lace cassette from Stacey.

Look; if you were a sophomore guy, odds for getting a junior or senior girlfriend were slim to none. And as you got nowhere with your own sophomore girls, you started to turn your attention to the freshmen girls. Indeed, Orr's The Lace did get me to look more deeply into the freshman class. I eyed the Squeaky-Voiced Girl, who was a friend of some of my freshman classmates/friends. SVG was good-looking, thoughtful, observant, and friendly, but she and I just did not have the same free periods, adjacent classes, or similar clubs. And when we did cross paths, our mutual friends "got in the way."

One late morning, she did break free, and join me on the slope outside the vending machine room. Like everyone else at school, what did she and I do? Share Walkmen, headphones, and music. SVG and I liked Orr's "Skyline," which AM/FM radio stations did not, and still do not play.

Interestingly, my audiophile friends and I have come across "Skyline," via internet radio stations. Bravo! And that, in turn, re-triggered memories of when The Lace was on the charts, during those Winter/Spring '87 quarters. Needless to say, that is the power of music.

My alma mater had wildly popular monthly dances. I did not attend all of them, but I think I only saw, during the 86/87 school year, SVG once. And of course, although we tried to say, "Hi," and connect, too many people stood, lay, and came between us. During school days, the longest SVG and I ever were alone was maybe 20 minutes (one "Mod" unit). The closest she and I got was perhaps late in the Spring '87 semester, when I helped her return stacks of textbooks to the Book Room. It was like walking arm-in-arm. But then the bell rang, and SVG and I had to split, and go to our respective classes.

Listening to "Skyline" also reinforces the recollection that, for the next two years, it was the same story. SVG did not have class schedules, where she'd be close to me, or even cross paths. At such a big school, you were hardly ever alone. Thus, with so many friends around, you had a difficult time, reaching out to SVG, whenever she passed by. And vice versa. Shoot, about the only time you could share your feelings was at the end of the school year, when you wrote in each other's yearbook. And in those pre-internet and social media days, that left you the entire summer to sigh and wonder what the other was doing.

The Lace sports that slick, 80s production. If you have an accurate system, "Skyline" can turn back the clock some 30 years. You are just in your early teens, but since this is 2017, you get to smile at all the high school angst, fun, culture, notes, missed connections, challenges, and successes.

-Lummy The Loch Monster


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