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Monthly Archives: April 2013

i woke up today to a flurry of whatsapp messages mostly beginning with “BOMB EXPLODED AT THE BOSTON MARATHON. IS R OKAY?” thank god, nothing happened to him. he was at the 5k race a day earlier, where i had made fun of him for paying $45 to have the race over in an instant.

marathons are tests of the human spirit. it has always been the traditional pinnacle of endurance racing. the ancient greeks began this noble race, and now, a despicable tick in our modern civilisation has desecrated its name. i cannot imagine having to flee for your life after running for four hours at breaking speed. nobody should have to live to see such horrors before them. no runner should have their limbs severed after completing one of the oldest circuits in racing history. no spectator should have to be injured for the love of friend or family. nobody should be robbed of a normal life as unexpectedly as this. has humanity always been this mad? i think so. i have always thought so. in such dark times we look to each other for solace; for where there is evil, there is also good. the good will always outweigh and outnumber the evil.

The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.

– J.R.R. Tolkien

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Hanson were abysmally young when “Mmmbop” became a commercial success. I was 9 then. Zac was 12. Taylor was 14. Isaac was 17. I had no idea what the song was about, but I sang it anyway. Rather, I listened to “Middle of Nowhere” as much as I could after school on my grandpa’s CD player. I loved Hanson the way pre-teen girls in 1990 loved Michael Jackson – in a boundless, exalting fashion. It was the only way to love anything or anyone who wasn’t related to you.

Today, on a Monday like any other, I realised this convivial tune is about birth, death, and the seconds in between.

I have always treasured Hanson in the same way a girl might with an old childhood friend: she’s always there when you need her. This year, I discover that they’re releasing a new album in June. Better yet, they’re going on tour. And better yet, I might actually get to see them! For the first time in my life! They came to Kuala Lumpur once when I was 13. I was big My friend Sara suddenly called me and asked if I could head out to see them at Hard Rock Cafe. It was 9.30 on a Tuesday night. Naturally, I could not go. She was terribly kind; the next morning, she gave me a guitar pick Zac tossed into the crowd. I still have it.

And in an mmmbop, I’m almost a quarter of a century old. To have such wisdom to sing about the transience of time at such a young age. It’s literally the second law of thermodynamics: in an isolated system, entropy only increases with time. There is no going back.

But.

With music, I like to believe time travel is an option. An audible memory, unlike glass, is non-fragile. With every watershed moment in our lives, there is a song that we associate with. Everyone has a song that makes their heart stand still for a second. Every tear, every laugh, every shenanigan, every year in our short lives has one song playing in the background.

It amazes me how one band has stuck with me through the years. While everyone looks back and recounts memories of mmmbop, every album has become part of my natural surround sound. Just today, I became emotional while thumbing through Taylor Hanson’s Instagram account. I wonder how I’ll react when I see them live.  I will sleep now and hopefully tonight I will dream of more pleasant things.