Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pop Art Confessional: Enya

It all started when The Blogger was very young. One day, after plowing through music videos in the early 1990s on MTV, back when MTV used to play music (yes, such a time existed not too long ago), I was taken aback by the sight of an angelic, impeccably dressed woman moving in slow motion, opening her mouth to emit a sound that is clearly her voice dubbed about two hundred times over to make her sound like a choir of seraphim. So this is what God must have intended an angel to sound! The video must have had something to do with it: waves belonging to no ocean in particular crashed over beaches while calla lilies magnified several times in height bloom menacingly yet serenely in the background behind the temptress. The woman calls to me like the sirens to Ulysses, on his way home to Penelope. This … was “Orinoco Flow”. This was Enya.

And I couldn’t help myself. It seemed so innocent and yet so wrong! I would go to the record shops (back when they had records – Ed. Note: I feel old), gloss carefully over the latest bestsellers by Nirvana, U2, Boyz II Men and Pearl Jam, I would glance to see if I saw anyone I knew from school. Then, tiptoeing to the New Age section, I would carefully run my fingers with one eye on the door to the shop to see if anyone I knew would wander in, and plucked out the incriminating copy of Watermark. With my selection in hand, I cupped the disc in both hands and hurriedly dashed to the register, only mumbling a polite thanks as I flung my money on the counter, demanding to have my purchase brown-bagged and running with my head down out of the store, hoping no one would have seen me.

But what sweet, sweet temptations the siren offered to me! I started to think of the sounds of Enya as being almost vaguely sensual, but in a non-threatening manner. If this is what lovemaking must be like, I thought, then no longer will women close their eyes and think of handbags, nor will men have to close theirs and think of England in the middle of Business Time. All they need conjure is the sound of the siren Enya to call to them and they can get to that post-coital cigarette a lot faster.

This wasn’t something that I could deny about myself. It felt right. I was uncontrollably attracted to the sounds of Enya’s music. I couldn’t control it and it wasn’t a choice. But I couldn’t live a lie and hide my love. I would have to face my toughest critics’ judgments, sooner or later.

I remember the shameful day when I announced to my friends that I am … musically inclined … in that way. Yes, it was my musical coming out moment. I remember my friends gasping when I feebly told them I loved Enya, the musical love that dare not speak its name! They sat and stared at me, with their mouths gaping open, and barraged me with questions, accusations, and hateful words.

“What did I do wrong?”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Maybe you’re just confused, you don’t know what you’re saying!”

“Everyone goes through these phases, you’ll just have to tough it out until you get it out of your system.”

“One day you will come to your senses.”

“You know what you need? Tickets to the Metallica concert. I’ll get you a ticket to the headbanger’s ball and that’ll fix ya right up! Then, after rockin’ out and getting in a mosh pit, you’ll forget all about your fruity Enya!”

“You’re a FREAK!!!!”

“I blame myself.”

And so on and so forth.

Time passed. I endured. My friends who loved other musical genres eventually learned not to talk about it. We would awkwardly discuss other bands and just to fit in, I would pretend that I did indeed find Eddie Vedder’s new single emotionally wrenching and speaking to the hurt I had inside when really, all the hurt I had was the result of a bad burrito and one spin of “Orinoco Flow” went down well with the Kaopectate. I went to their concerts and feigned ecstasy at the sounds of Sonic Youth’s artful misery, when all I wanted was to dream about “Marble Halls” while lying in the tub. I scorned my love of Enya and buried it deep within me, stealing snatches of her sweet nonsensical utterances in the privacy of my room, with the headphones, in the quiet of my room when no one was around. I loved her but hated myself for loving her!

More time passed. I got out of high school and eventually grew apart from the campus kids who spent all their days being miserable to the sounds of jangly, discordant guitar. I started to embrace my musical choices away from the damning judgment of the haters (for lack of a better word). I started to venture in public with the sounds of my Enya on my Discman and, eventually, my iPod. I also discovered that having moved in other social circles and visiting other music shops, Enya was in complete abundance and was much admired everywhere I went. Enya’s music began to appear in commercials for shampoo, suppositories and other comforting necessities of life. One day, even Oprah, the Big O herself, had her as a musical guest and soon more people started to publicly proclaim their love of Enya. While the rock and “alternative” bands of my youth slipped away, Enya continues to stay. Oh, the sweet, comforting knowledge that there were other “freaks” out there like me, and we numbered in the millions! (As represented by Enya’s global album sales, which total over 50 million records at the time of this writing.)

So it’s time to say it loud and say it proud, to bring all the repressed and oppressed out of the closet and shout the following at the top of their lungs:


[Ed. Note: The Blogger has since learned to appreciate Eddie Vedder and the other artists who appear above, and learned that loving Enya exclusively has not ruined him for all other musical tastes.]