Mitski’s “Your Best American Girl” is a memorable song released in 2016 on her album, Puberty 2. I played it a ton, and I devoured the Song Exploder episode about it. So I recognized the vinyl of Puberty 2 as someone carried it past our yard during Saturday’s community yard sale.
“I love that album,” I called out from my folding camp chair, almost involuntarily. The woman carrying it stopped and looked amused. I pressed ahead. “‘Your Best American Girl’ is amazing.” She nodded assent. “Do you know the Song Exploder podcast? They did one about that song.”
She cocked her head to the side and looked upward like she was trying to remember something. “Yeah,” she concluded. “I think my friend had a song on that podcast.”
This just got interesting.
“Really?” I chuckled. “Who’s your friend?” When she answered, she elevated her pitch, like to ask if I recognized the name: “Jeff Tweedy.”
This just got really interesting.
I’m not a Jeff Tweedy superfan, but I’m music fan enough to know he’s a big deal. He was in Wilco, and he’s released two solo albums, including one earlier this year. Jeff and I have three songs from that album on our collaborative playlist.
My chuckling now sounds nervous as I ask, “How are you friends with Jeff Tweedy?” It’s such a stupid sounding question, like, “How is a famous musician friends with the likes of you?” She’s kind, though, and she doesn’t take offense.
“Well, you know [famous music producer]?” ( Famous music producer has worked with the likes of Nirvana. When I told Jeff some months ago that he lived in my neighborhood Jeff kind of lost his mind.)
“Yeah, I’ve been told he lives in this neighborhood.”
“I live with him,” she explains. “We live right behind you.”
Now this is a fanboy conversation, and I’m really uncomfortable. I’m desperate to change the subject and transition to a neighborly “have a nice day.” So I offer the other rumor I’ve heard about famous music producer: “I hear you guys have really amazing Halloween decorations.”
She confirms the rumor and then mercifully says goodbye and moves up the block to the neighbors’ yard. As soon as she is out of sight I seize my phone and text an account of the conversation to Jeff. His reply is brief:
“I’m dead. You just killed me.”