"Beestung" by Kristin Hersh, 1994

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Kristin Hersh, founder and leader of Throwing Muses and solo artist, was my absolute favorite--my unhealthy obsession with Juliana Hatfield notwithstanding--for probably about seven or eight years. In compiling this list, though, I found that most of her songs, with and without Throwing Muses, just didn't hold up to my ears the way they once did. I still love them, and I still think most TM albums are as close to perfect as an LP experience can get, from their eponymous debut to Limbo. However, except for "Beestung" and one TM track (which I'll write about later, fear not), they didn't pass the crucial test the every song on this list has passed: constant listening.

"Beestung" proved different, and I don't know why. In fact, while I was listening to this list, as I whittled it down from too many to just a little too many, every single time "Beestung" was about to come on (that is, with an iTunes playlist on shuffle, when "Beestung" would pop up as the track about to start, but in the one and a half seconds before it actually did), I'd be like, "Oh, this song. This song will never make the final list. I'm sick of it already and it hasn't even started."

But every time, I was wrong. Every time, that piano would come in, with it's simple and repetitive little two-finger riff, and I could feel myself swelling. If I had a degree in neuroscience, I'd study why some songs make me swell. This one makes me swell, and I never get sick of it while it's on. For years, it wasn't a song I would ever choose to put on, and for years I'd skip it on shuffle during that one and a half second delay before the piano would begin, but once it's on, I don't want it to end.