Lately I’ve been experiencing some extra-trippy nostalgia thanks to Spotify and its “Discover Weekly” feature, which custom-makes playlists for me with algorithms based on the music I listen to on their wonderful social media-oriented platform. As the name implies, “Discover Weekly” tends to introduce me to cool tracks I’ve never heard before– but it also reminds me of cool tracks that I’ve somehow forgotten, even though they soundtracked hugely significant moments in my life.
Like “Stay” by Shakespears Sister, which appeared on my Discover playlist this week. When I saw the title, it rang a faint little bell, but it wasn’t like I immediately remembered how the song went or anything. For reasons which will become clear soon enough, I decided to look up the video on YouTube instead of just listening to the track on Spotify first. And as I started watching the video, a weird feeling crept into me. Here was this vaguely familiar Kate Bush-like fairy tale music, which I kinda liked, and yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should know it a lot better than I did.
Then came the bridge, at around a minute-58 into the video, and a most bizarre memory avalanched into my brain– my memory of the first time I heard this song, which was also the first time I saw the video.
I must’ve been around 11 years old, because the song was released in 1992. I was watching MTV, maybe a late night airing of 120 Minutes (because the song seems “alternative” enough for that show), but I think I may have seen it in broad daylight.
I distinctly remember seeing the section with the song’s bridge, where Siobhan Fahey barges in as a gothy demon goddess and savagely disrupts the tender vibe, singing “You better hope and pray that you make it safe back to your own world.” When I first saw that as a tender 11-year-old, I swear I thought I was having some kind of psychotic break. Clearly this woman with the possessed eyes stabbing my soul through the fourth wall was speaking directly to me and only me, warning of some supernatural peril that lay in wait for me. I was convinced I had crossed the threshold into some world I would never return from.
I remember being so shaken by that sequence that I couldn’t wait to see the video again, or at least hear the song on the radio, so I could be sure that the goth-demon part was actually part of the song, and not just something that had been transmitted directly into my mind by dark forces beyond my comprehension.
Ultimately, of course, I was comforted to learn that the bizarre bridge really was part of the song, that everyone else heard it too. I don’t know how long it took me to realize it, but I remember feeling a gigantic sense of relief upon learning that.
23 years later, it all seems a bit silly…and yet, it still seems pretty creepy, and still pretty awesome. So awesome that I can’t believe I forgot all about this song until now. Though I guess it makes sense if I simply repressed all my memories of this song out of fear & utter embarrassment. Whatever the reason, I’m glad to have been reminded of this priceless forgotten memory, and I can’t wait to see what other forgotten memories Spotify might uncover…