"Mr. Rager, Tell me where you're going, Tell me where you're headed."
"I'm on my way to heaven."
"Mr. Rager, Can we tag along, Can we take that journey?"
--Kid Cudi's "Mr Rager"
My brother loved music more than anyone I know. He was a talented guitar player and has piles and piles of CDs. Even though MP3s are now the most common way we obtain our music, Shane still much preferred owning CDs. Maybe it was the physicality of it all -- the anticipation involved in opening the plastic wrapper, the sound of releasing the disk from its case, flipping through liner notes. But there were many times when I would take him to Record Time and we would wander aimlessly around the store until we had collected our treasures, arguing about which CD would be played first.
I am much more impatient than Shane, so I would always want to skip ahead. But Shane always insisted on listening to the whole album through, from track one until the end. It was sacred. A ritual for him.
Kid Cudi's sophomore album "Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager" came out today. Kid Cudi was one of the few artists that I got to tell Shane about. He was usually slightly ahead of the pack when it came to music. The first time that Shane listened to Kid Cudi was on family weekend during Basic. We were driving somewhere in Georgia, sitting in the backseat with my parents in the front, just like when we were kids on road trips. He was so very quiet and not sure how to act around human beings who weren't in uniforms. He had a hard time being in a civilian vehicle and not being told what to do. I didn't quite know who he was. So I handed him my ipod, telling him to just listen. And he did, to "Pursuit of Happiness." And Cudi's lyrics were something that touched him deeply. He reached over and squeezed my hand, and I knew that he was still my brother.
I'm not yet able to listen to "Pursuit of Happiness" because it's too much of a close memory for me of Shane. I know it will be a long while before I can hear that song. Before he was killed, "Pursuit of Happiness" was one of the songs that gave me comfort. I would turn it on as loudly as possible in my car and drive to no where in particular, always with the memory of Shane listening to the song in Georgia. I look forward to the day that I will be able to hear the familiar beat and take comfort in the lyrics again.
Today though, in Shane's memory, I listened to "Man on the Moon II" from start to finish, without skipping a single track.