The friend who introduced me to the music of Will Oldham, John Darnielle, Vic Chesnutt, Neutral Milk Hotel, Thinking Fellers, and a host of others has died in the past few days. I just found out. It’s extremely hard to eulogize her, as she was one of the most complex, conflicted people that i’ve ever known. I have been working on a post for a few days now, about certain music i think of as 3 AM music. It has been odd, as i don’t think about writing about the actual music much anymore, preferring just to toss up a few songs, and let them speak for themselves. All of this stuff i acquired through tapes that Jennifer copied from her various boyfriends. When all the bars had closed, and all of my friends had gone home, i’d stay in my truck for hours afterwards, writing letters by the light of the tape deck in dark parking lots. Jen wrote more interesting letters than i did. They were peculiar works of art, admittedly some of it stolen, but much of it her own, bizarre confessionals with disturbing consequences. Gradually i managed to divorce her identity from this music, making it my own, but i’ve never stopped thinking about these artists as a genre all their own. She deserved a better life than the one that she had.
This is awkward, but once upon a time, these were four of her very favorite songs. There are certain things about them that make them biographical, but there are also significant fragments that make me have deep misgivings about the accuracy of each one. A couple of them were false enough to induce outrage. Nevertheless, these were once her favorites.