Certain songs conjure strong emotions: love, hate, joy, despair, comfort, envy, sadness, frustration, hope, or grief. You hear the first notes of a familiar melody, and the music transports you to a moment long gone but still overwhelmingly present. Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” makes you remember the awkward rhythms and furtive glances of a middle school dance. Any song by Creedence Clearwater Revival evokes riding in a black Toyota truck with your stepdad behind the wheel smoking stoically as you talked about your day. Missy Higgins’ “Where I Stood” became an unintentional lullaby that soothed your collicky infant who refused to sleep more than 20 minutes at a time. Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” was your anthem for quitting a shitty job. “Carry on My Wayward Son” makes you think of the Winchester brothers of Supernatural. Matchbox 20’s “Hang” punches you in gut even now, 20 years later.
An album reminds you of a breakup, a first concert, a funeral, a road trip, a wedding, a divorce, or one of those ordinary moments that make up our days that we seem to forget until a song lodges their memory free.
This first essay series at Cold Takes is about albums and our feelings about them. How exactly do albums transport us through time and space to the moments long gone but never quite forgotten? What album becomes significant (or maybe even insignificant) in your life? What album forces you to stop and pay attention? Which one makes your days better and gives you hope? Which one do you rely on even now? What album do you find yourself listening to over and over again? What albums do you avoid listening to?
I want to read and publish your essays about the albums that changed your lives in ways, big and small. I want to know how music guides you through life’s transitions, successes, attempts, and failures. I want to find out what music you react to and why. I want to uncover whether that album was on record, tape, CD, 8-track, or mp3. Tell me what album impacted you, but more importantly, show me how. Narrate what the album makes you feel and what particular time it evokes. Bring me your best story about a particular album.
Please send a pitch rather than a full essay to kellyjbaker (at) gmail (dot) com. Give me a paragraph or two about an album and why you want/need to write about it. Include a short bio and a clip or two that shows your writing style. There’s no requirement on genre of music or time period, but you can’t write about Matchbox 20 because I’m going to.
The full essay should be between 500 and 2000 words.
Pitches are due by April 30. If your pitch is accepted, we’ll set a deadline for the essay together. The completed essay will appear on Cold Takes. Unfortunately, this is not a paid opportunity, but I offer my time and editing to make your essay the best it can be.