The Miseducation of Lauryn Hillwas released in 1998; just shy of the legal drinking age with respect to present time but the entire album is intoxicating. I boarded a plane from Dulles with a couple of Sea Bags and Ms. Lauryn Hill in my Discman on repeat the Thanksgiving of 1998. After a few days of shadowing I was on my own working the nightshift at the Embassy. I put L-Boogie’s disc in the computer and turned on the generic PC speakers when the phone rang. I’d like to think “Final Hour” was queued up and playing when I picked up the phone but I didn’t have a chance to remember. My scripted greeting was interrupted by a man screaming at the other end arguing with me about America’s foreign policy which ended with him threatening to bomb the place. By the time I grabbed a pen and legal pad to get more out of him he hung up. Procedurally this caused for calling in my teammates (or reaction drill) and after several hours of searching it was declared a false alarm. “You might win some but you just lost one,” is the chorus to “Lost Ones” and I was pulled back to Africa while listening to a shuffled playlist as I walked my dog the other day.
Call Me by Your Name (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). Ever since seeing Call Me by Your Name — an 80s love story set in the sun-drenched utopia of northern Italy — I've been listening to the soundtrack almost every day at work. Which is a pretty bad idea, because the circling piano arrangements and Sufjan Stevens' voice renders me useless. There's something piercing and glacial about Stevens that's hard to describe. If you're like me and are always on the lookout for new ways to cry at work, I highly recommend it.