I know exactly how Hedwig got into my head. It was Wayne County being interviewed in a BBC documentary about the Velvet Underground’s “Walk on the Wild Side”. Then I remembered this compilation CD that I got through my Mojo subscription, I Love New York Punk. Wayne County’s “Fuck Off” is the second track.
And that led me to Hedwig.
“Wicked Little Town” in particular.
I am prone to earworms – Not the dog kind – But the kind that has a song you annoyingly don’t know all the words to running through your head all day and all night. Some people like to draw a line down the middle and divide the songs they hear into good ones and bad ones (the latter being more likely to become an earworm than the former). I used to do that too but nowadays like to think that being bombarded with all different types of music, speeches, and sounds over the course of a day (every day), a song must possess something spectacular to be able to stick around in my head past a week.
The Hedwig song is a good song.
Sort of sad but inspiring.
These lines that are my favorite (or at least they’re the ones I hear over and over again in my head):
That when everything starts breaking down
You take the pieces off the ground
And show this wicked town
Something beautiful and new
You think that luck has left you there
But maybe there’s nothing
Up in the sky but air
And there’s no mystical design
No cosmic lover preassigned
There’s nothing you can find
That cannot be found
Sort of sad because it puts the burden of life on us and the consequences of our decisions without giving us an out – a divine supernatural force like God or the devil or fate or destiny to blame when the puzzle we’re putting together doesn’t look like the picture on the box.
And sort of inspiring because it says we can do something about it – We are empowered to change our situations – our “luck.”
The song appears twice in the movie. If you are familiar with the story, it occurs first after Luther leaves Hedwig in Kansas and Hedwig begins a friendship with Tommy Gnosis, who he comes to blame for his failure. Hedwig’s relationship to Tommy is bookended by the song. At the end of the movie, it’s Tommy singing the song to Hedwig (a reverse of when the song is first heard).
It’s a wistful kind of song perfect for stereotypical Mondays, Wednesdays, and rainy Sundays – gray fall skies (do I need to tell you what my week has been like?).