Twenty years ago I was working as a sales associate in the Music, Movies & More department of an electronics store called Nobody Beats The Wiz. Somebody did beat The Wiz because it went out of business. One of the perks of the job (there weren’t many) was hearing the new music when it came out. Unfortunately it was the managers who got to pick what music got played in our department. One of my managers was into heavy metal and country while the other was into jazz and classic rock. Neither had good taste in music and, to this day, I still know way too many Garth Brooks and Frank Zappa lyrics. We got promo CDs that would occasionally get put into rotation and Shawn Colvin’s A Few Small Repairs was one. Whenever the managers stepped out, I would raid the CD changer and pop in this CD along with Tori Amos’ Boys For Pele, Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, and Evita (Madonna’s movie soundtrack) until I got diva blocked upon the manager’s return.
A Few Small Repairs is about Shawn’s divorce and although the theme is dark and full of hurt, there is also hope and strength in each song. It’s a pop album with heart-felt folk lyrics. As a bonus the 20th Anniversary Edition has seven live acoustic versions of some of the songs to give a taste of how amazing Shawn must be live. As I listened, I didn’t realize how many memories of The Wiz would come flooding back. Just like Diana Ross I’m easin’ on, easin’ on down memory road.
The song “Nothing On Me” reminds me of the friendships I made but lost when the store closed. I still remember the laughs we had. One day I was working the registers with two friends, it was slow, so we were goofing off. One of them told an inappropriate joke that caused me to get an unstoppable case of the giggles and I was asked to leave for the day by management.
“Get Out Of This House” flashes me back to when a lesbian co-worker and I came out to each other after her parents kicked her out. She moved in with me for a couple days (we were the original Will & Grace) until her grandmother took her in. “Trouble” is a song about having someone, who’s been in your shoes, help you through the darkness which is what we were for each other.
“New Thing Now” reminds me of the time I tried to fix-up my sister and my manager. The song is about a flawed attempt at starting over and the blind date wasn’t a Love Connection, she thought he looked like a “gay vampire”. I must’ve just rented Interview With A Vampire because I thought he was cute.
“84,000 Different Delusions” is the definition of my first admirer. A male customer called me a few times at the store trying to get me to meet him so he could show me his “slave boy” pictures and get me to “pose” for him. When I bragged about it (who wouldn’t be flattered), management talked about possibly getting the police involved, so that put an end to our budding romance and my possible career as a slave boy model. You say stalker, I say love of my life. Samesies!
Shawn Colin is touring to support the 20th Anniversary Edition of A Few Small Repairs, performing the album in it’s entirety, which I’m very excited about. I’m going for nostalgia sake plus she has an amazing VIP package with front row seats, an autographed poster, an acoustic performance before the doors open, a Q&A, and a meet and greet with photo op. I do love an impressive package. In my gay opinion, after not having heard this album in 20 years, A Few Small Repairs sounds just as good today as it did back then.