Bring Me Wild Plums and Agrimony
I BET YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS
Apparently today is the 25th anniversary of Lisa Loeb’s Firecracker. I think I was in seventh grade when the album came out and I remember seeing her on a TV interview about it. I had already bought Tails when the song Stay was on the radio 24/4. It was probably the first album I was excited about listening to because the songs weren’t on the radio yet. Honestly I can’t remember if I Do got much airplay but I know for sure that I listened to this CD for hours.
I didn’t have many CD’s at this point, being in middle school meant money for CD’s that were $20 whole dollars was allocated to birthdays and Christmas. Besides Jagged Little Pill, Tails, and a handful of singles (Remember CD singles?) I didn’t have near the CD collection my friends did. So it was a big deal to get this one, even if it wasn’t as popular as the first.
It didn’t matter that my friends didn’t listen to it. It didi’t matter that it wasn’t all over VH1 or anything. I sat and listened to the album for hours, and just like the upcoming Alanis Morissette (Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie) and Fiona Apple (When the Pawn…) albums, this one was heavier on the lyrics than the catchy radio pop melodies.
There is one song, Furious Rose, in which a woman named Rose is arguing with Freud about her mental state:
Lisa Loeb said of this song: "Wild Plums and Agrimony are flowers. In the song I reference a Victorian dictionary of flowers, which explains that different flowers represent different things. Wild Plums represent independence, and Agrimony represents thankfulness and gratitude. In the song, Freud misdiagnoses Rose as a hysterical woman. Rose is a misunderstood individual, so she is begging for these flowers, obvious symbols of the qualities that she possesses, but qualities that are ignored by the doctor. Rose is a subtle and emotionally substantial person, but she's being pigeonholed as a crazy person. She needs something to represent these traits for her, since Freud can't see them in her. He talks down to her and doesn't take her seriously, and she's frustrated. That's why she says, 'I bet you don't even know what that means.' A man as smart as Freud should know the symbolic meaning of something as simple as a flower, but inside, she knows that he's ignorant in some ways - his eyes are not open, even though he acts as if he can analyze her."
Now, this being 1997 and my dial up internet running at 28.8K I also had no earthly clue what Wild Plums and Agrimony were. It didn’t matter though, I sang along that one line just as though I did know what it meant. Whatever it was, Rose was adamant enough about getting them and the guy in the song should have known what it was and how dare he not. lol.
Dance With the Angels, and Wishing Heart were also two of my extreme favorites on this album. I couldn’t rip the files to my computer, or burn copies of it yet so it was on heavy rotation in the 3 disk stereo I had in my room. I still have it, it’s still scratched all to hell but plays just fine. And yes, I have a story about this specific CD.
In the summer/fall of 2002 I went to the Art Institute of Dallas. If you have been over there in the past 20 years it’s wildly different, there used to be a massive open parking lot that wrapped around the building. The problem with that is that at some point in the lot you were too far away for the security cameras to reach or any security to bother monitoring your car. Several friends in class had their cars broken into if they didn’t park close enough to the entrance.
Sure enough one day I was running late and I had to park in the back corner lot. Now, I had been parking my already 14 year old car in all kinds of places in Dallas without issue. We would go downtown on the weekends and park the thing on a street near the Lizard Lounge that was literally glittered with broken glass and not once was it bothered. Even at 3am, the only car left on the street, untouched. So, when I got back from class (this was the middle of the day like 3pm) and noticed once of my windows seemed to be rolled down I was concerned.
It was sunny, and the passenger side window’s roll down button was broken so it shouldn’t have been down at all. Then I got closer and noticed the obvious, that the window had been smashed out. A thousand bits of blue-green laminated glass were all over the place, and just like my classmates cars, the new CD player was gone. Thankfully they left my cd case alone, which was in the back seat floor.
But there had been a CD in the deck at the time, Lisa Loeb’s Firecracker. They didn’t take my stash of quarters from the center console. They didn’t take anything else from the car, just the head unit. Then, as though they had thrown me a bone, knowing how much a new car window and tape deck were going to cost, there on the dash was the CD sitting shiny side up.
Apparently you can pop a CD out of a car that is off if you push the eject and power button at the same time. They didn’t cut the wires to the deck either, they had time to unhook the wiring harness as well. So while I was angry they broke my window and took the CD player I was overjoyed that they took the effort to not only remove my Lisa Loeb CD but place it nicely on the dash for me to recover once I returned.
My current car doesn’t have a CD player but I still have this CD. You can listen to the album here: