Like A Virgin

madonna-like a virgin
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I was not like the other children growing up.  I didn’t take dance class or watch Sesame Street.  I wasn’t even a regular Jew—my family celebrated Christmas.  One of my earlier memories is the Christmas of 1990.  I was eight years old.  I don’t remember much from old memories like this, just glimpses.  But I do remember 3 presents I received that year: a walkman and two cassette tapes.  Aunt Marcie sent me Madonna’s Immaculate collection and Richard Marx’s Repeat Offender.  These were two of the first albums I ever owned (others included New Kids on the Block’s self titled debut, Mariah Carey’s self-titled debut, and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band).

I’m not totally sure why Marcie sent me Richard Marx.  God only knows what she was thinking!  (Okay, “Right Here Waiting” was huge at the time.  Fair enough.)  But Madonna’s Immaculate Collection was genius on her part.  I loved music.  While my peers were watching Eureka’s Castle, I was watching VH1’s Top 10 Countdown.  I thought it was a serious competition.  Was I routing for The Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” or Guns N’ Roses’ “G N’ R Lies”?  Oh, who can remember?!  But I wanted to know who was going to take that number 1 spot!  My mom began to worry that music videos were too sexual and warping my mind.  Perhaps she was right?  The world may never know.

I love love loved the video for “Material Girl”.  Yes, okay, music videos were most likely warping my mind!  I remember having vivid daydreams of Madonna being my vocal coach, cone bra and all.  She may have been a salacious performer, but she was simply an icon to me.  A beacon of creativity and abandon.  I wanted to be a singer!  Much to my brother’s annoyance.  I would sing on and on into the night, in bed, after bedtime, serenading Berry the Bear and Swisty the Mouse to the pounding on the wall from my next door neighbor.

Old memories are so curious.  They make simple things seem larger than life.  Liking Madonna when none of my friends knew any music outside of Sharon, Lois, and Bram made me feel like I had this big secret.  I had discovered Madonna!  She was mine!  Along with just about every other human on the planet.  But that is neither here nor there.  This is pre-internet.  I had no idea what was happening outside of Ealy Elementary School, let alone other countries!

So I did become a singer songwriter.  Not with aspirations on the level of Madonna, but a songwriter nonetheless.  I believe we know what we want from a very young age.  The Immaculate Collection cassette and video for “Material Girl” really were the beginning of it all for me.  I am a material girl in a material world!  Just look at my record collection!  And I finally got to see Madonna perform last November.  My friend Chad and I saw her at Madison Square Garden.  She didn’t go on until 11pm, the bitch.  But damn, girl can still work a stage!  She blew my mind.  And even with my mind blown and my memories thrumming my heartstrings, it’s time to say…

Goodbye, Like A Virgin.

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eBay 2/10/13

The following albums go live today. Check the Records Vs. House eBay Store for all available LPs.

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madonna-true blue
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Get The Knack

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Man, I have never listened to this entire record!  I am terrible about buying a record for one song and only listening to that one song or just the side with the song I like.  But Get The Knack is actually a great pop record!  So fun!

So, obviously, the song I bought this for is “My Sharona”.  The reason I love that song so much is because of high school drama club.  Before every play and musical every year, all of the first show people would get hazed into theatre.  Our hazing was called wu wei.  We would do wu wei on the night of our last dress rehearsal (or was it opening night?).  We would amp people up.  Make them worry.  I say “we”, but I was once a first show freshman!  Freshmen are the best because they get really scared and do things like show up to the theatre wearing goggles and garbage bags over their clothes.  Some people even cried and told their parents.  Babies!

While I absolutely cannot reveal what happens at wu wei because every WBHS thespian is sworn to secrecy in that regard, I can tell you that the climax of the hazing is The Knack’s “My Sharona”.  We all ran around the theatre singing and dancing to this song before every single performance.  It got us really excited!

To this day, I can’t hear “My Sharona” without wanting to run around singing and dancing like an idiot.  But now that I’ve listened to the whole album, I am pleasantly surprised at how solid the whole album is.  It actually makes me think of Weezer’s blue album—great songs and pop mentality.  New songs to like by The Knack: “Oh Tara”, “Maybe Tonight”, “Lucinda”, and “That’s What Little Girls Do”.  I am reluctant now to sell this record, but it’s always going to be hard to say…

Goodbye, Get The Knack.

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Happy Songs for Happy People


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You know how everyone has the worst time at prom?  Well, not this gal!  Okay, the first time I went to prom was actually pretty awful.  I was a freshman and my friend Andy, who was a senior, asked if I would go to the prom with his friend (Ben?).  Now, when a senior asks a freshman to go out with his friend, it’s pretty likely that that friend has no social skills and that’s why he couldn’t find anyone to go with him.  I’m not gonna beat around the bush about how I felt about (Ben?)… his favorite band was Stabbing Westward.  I think I’ve made my point.  So anyway, I was in my oddball-punk-rock-emo phase and would not dare to wear a traditional prom dress.  This is 1998 people.  I wore a camouflage dress to prom with (Ben?)!!!  Needless to say, I endured a lot of “Where’s Jayme?  I can’t see her… she’s incognito!” bullshit jokes.

So when it was my senior year, I was not fucking around.


I asked my friend Nolan to come with me.  We ditched school the day of prom and bought outfits at a vintage store in Ferndale, MI.  I got a mod dress.  He let me dye his hair black.  You know you have a good friend when he lets you do something stupid like that.  We had our prom photos taken at Harmony House, the record store I worked at.  What’s more punk rock than prom photos at a record store?!  We went out for dinner at Buddy’s Pizza.  We showed up an hour late.  And after about 45 minutes of “boy, this sucks”, we ditched and went to see Mogwai perform at The Majestic Theatre in Detroit.

Now, I realize Mogwai doesn’t come to the US very often, so not everyone has the opportunity to ditch prom to see them.  But if it’s at all possible, you should definitely make it happen.  It was so loud and intense.  They played a 45 minute “encore” that was just one song.  I recently spoke about this show with my friend Kellan, who also ditched prom that night to be there (See?  Best idea!), and he told me that Mogwai has specifically talked about this show in interviews as being a particularly incredible one.

I haven’t been able to see them again since.  Their shows always sell out.  Two years ago I bought tickets see them and the show got cancelled because of visa issues, and then they cancelled the rescheduled dates for medical reasons.  It was not a good year for Mogwai.

Perhaps I will never get to see them again.  But I will always have prom.  And on that note…

Goodbye, Happy Songs for Happy People.

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Make It Big

Wham - 1984 - Make It Big

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There are a lot of things that can remind a person of Wham!  For me, the top two are the movie The Wedding Singer and my friend Karen.  Odd is it may be, a road trip with Karen in 2006 is what Wham! makes me reminisce about.  I wish I could say 80’s pop culture and crushes on gay guys which led to the lifelong tragedy of falling in love with gay men–but alas, I am only brought back to 2006, and my life’s tragedy is not Wham’s fault.

Karen and I met while working at Whole Foods in Seattle.  We didn’t know each other yet, and she invited me out to breakfast.  What an unusual and awesome first hang-out!  Over eggs, I told her I was going on a road trip at the end of the summer.  She queried me with outrageous questions like, “Where are you going?” and “Who are you going with?”  To both questions, I replied, “I dunno.”  And then, out of some weird 80’s movie, I asked her if she wanted to drive across the country with me.  And she said yes!  Boy, what a start to a friendship!

We decided to leave after Labor Day (we made time and a half for working that holiday).  We had an unbelievably exciting route ahead of us… Portland, San Francisco, LA, Las Vegas, Utah, Denver, Chicago, etc.  It will either be amazing or horrible on a trip with a friend.  There’s no “it was okay”.  And you just never know until you’re out doing it.  But I have to say, it was pretty special becoming someone’s friend on a trip.  We barely knew each other at all!

One of my favorite parts of the trip was finding out how Karen loves “favorite parts”.  She would put a song on and skip to her favorite part.  Example: in Elton John’s “Levon”, we would skip to the end of the chorus where he sings “he shall be Levon” because Elton sounds like Cher and it’s really funny.  Example: in Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”, we would get super excited when he sings the chorus right before modulating and he says “better place” all goofy (2:50 in).  This isn’t about making fun of music.  This is ultimate appreciation.  We love these songs!  But we really love our favorite parts.

I had never thought anything of Wham! before this trip.  But we really had to exhaust our CDs and playlists on this trip.  We were driving around for over two weeks.  So Karen put Wham’s “Careless Whisper” on.  Now, at first listen, I thought, “Isn’t this the theme song to a soap opera?”  And then, “Why the fuck are we listening to this garbage?”  And then, man I just fell in love with how ridiculous the song is.  That saxophone solo is pretty much the quintessential 80’s sax solo.  You were nothing without a great sax solo!  And that became my favorite part!  Also, I loved singing the chorus with Karen… “So I’m never gonna dance again/the way I danced with you.”  The lyrics are ridiculous and George Michael is so serious about not getting to dance with someone again!  And I’m just not confident about thinking it’s a metaphor.

George Michael, you delicious genius!  I love “Careless Whisper”, but it’s time to say…

Goodbye, Make It Big.

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eBay 02/03/13

The following albums go live today. Check the Records Vs. House eBay Store for all available LPs.

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missy elliott

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I am very susceptible to suggestion when it comes to music.  It’s not because I’m not opinionated… believe me, I am very opinionated!  But at heart, I want to like everything.  When I was in 6th grade, The Cranberries were on MTV doing an interview for their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, and I bought their CD.  My brother used to drive us to the crappy record store next to the TCBY after school to buy CDs.  There were always free Insane Clown Posse demo tapes on the counter.  After I bought the Cranberries’ CD, we got back in his red Jetta and I said, “I can’t wait to hear this band!”  Imagine my brother’s incredulity to find out I had never even heard the band whose album I just paid for!  But that’s me.  I want to believe that everything is good and I will like everything.  I always take a chance.

MTV can no longer influence my purchases, but friends have a huge impact on my wallet.  I would say at least 25% of my collection is from a purchase where a friend told me an album was good.  And not just casually–often fervent adoration of an artist.  As I’ve grown older, I have accepted that I can like something a friend loves and I don’t have to also love it.

“Okay, Jayme!  But what’s the point?!?”

Right!  So my friend Steven loves Regina Spektor.  Loves.  LOVES Regina Spektor.  It’s infectious how much he loves Regina Spektor.  I remembering hearing “Fidelity” and thinking, “huh, I like that Russian gal.”  But you can’t help but listen harder when a friend like Steven makes his case.  And damnit, I really like Regina Spektor now!  I mean, I cut my teeth on Tori Amos and Fiona Apple, so why would I not like another weird girl with a piano?

But here’s the thing: Steven loves Regina Spektor, and I like her.  Far is a fantastic album.  Perhaps even better than Begin to Hope.  There are a lot of good songs here!  I forgot how many of the songs are memorable and beautiful.  I enjoy this record, but it’s time to say…

Goodbye, Far.

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Update 01/31/13


Record Vs. House has officially been active for one month.  What’s been going on?  Over the month, I sold 8 records and made $71.44 towards the purchase of a house.  I know, it’s not much, but it’s a start!  Look at my little savings account growing!  See what’s available right now in my eBay store!

I’d like to make a shout out to my friend Casey, who has graciously made me her charity case and purchased a few records.

I said goodbye to Olivia Tremor Control, Karate, and Jim O’Rourke, but perhaps I am saying hello to homeownership in Guatemala, Spain, or New York!  This is a crazy ride, but I feel like I am making a positive change in my life.

Also, at my friend Patrick’s request, I will list some cheaper records this month.  My Bloody Valentine is too much?  Okay, okay!  I’ll take it down a notch!


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pearl jam ten

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Pearl Jam’s Ten was the record that changed everything for me.  Up until 3rd grade, I was on a strict diet of New Kids on the Block, Madonna, Amy Grant, and Mariah Carey.  But 1991 was a big year!  My brother, Mike, was having his bar mitzvah and he found it imperative that I learn to dance.  He had just discovered Pearl Jam.  Yes, I learned to do the running man to “Even Flow”.  Don’t ask me how that works!  But that’s how everything changed.  I was hooked and ready for rock n’ roll!

I self-enforced a strict dress code of flannel shirts and Doc Martens every day.  At over night camp, I had so many flannel shirts with me that I was able to dress all 9 of my bunk mates in flannel for the talent show where we performed–you guessed it!–“Even Flow”.  Cause at 9 years old, I knew all the words.  Most adults have no idea what Eddie Vedder is saying!

In fifth grade I had a dream I was in a band and told my mom I had to learn to play guitar.  Some of the first songs I learned to play were “Alive”, “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town”, and “Nothing Man”.  By the time I was really rockin’ these jams, Pearl Jam was not cool with my peers.  It was all about Nirvana and Green Day.  But I stayed the course!  I was a super fan.  I was in the Ten Club.  I had a crush on Eddie Vedder.  I knew all the trivia (Ten  is named for the jersey number of the band’s favorite basketball player, Mookie Blaylock!).

For my punk and emo years, I squelched and hid my adoration for the band that helped push me in the direction I’m still living today–singer, songwriter, recording engineer.  But if I’m truly honest, part of why I moved to Seattle after college was because of Pearl Jam.  How could I not want to be in the city that so shaped the band members’ lives and careers?  I got to Seattle and worked in a recording studio and at Easy Street records.  Imagine my amazement to find myself working on records with Kurt Bloch (of the Fastbacks), who I knew from the documentary Hype!  Rumor was that the guys from PJ would shop at Easy Street all the time, but I never saw any of them!  Until my last week on the job… I had less than a week before I was moving to LA, and still no sightings!  And there he was… Jeff Ament.  I rang him up.  I actually checked his ID!  I didn’t even realize it was him!  Time stood still.  It felt like I was staring at his name for eons, but it was probably only a handful of seconds.  A little piece of me felt like every decision I made was worth it and the universe was letting me know it would take care of my dreams.

I haven’t listened to Ten  in a long time.  “Black” is still one of my favorite songs.  “Porch” is probably still one of Mike’s favorite songs.  “Jeremy” is still a classic, and I promise to sing it at karaoke this week.  But, I think it’s finally time to say…

Goodbye, Ten.

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eBay 01/27/13

The following albums go live today. Check the Records Vs. House eBay Store for all available LPs.


Explosions in the Sky All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone cover

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my bloody valentine

MY BLOODY VALENTINE – LOVELESS (897/1000 on red vinyl)
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eagles of death metal

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laura nyro

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