And She Moved Through the Fair

This year's model, Natalie Imbruglia: The Australian daytime TV actress with the fever for the flavor of a single

It's easy to mistrust singles that keep promising they'll matter later and that take themselves as seriously as these; you know they do from that minor chord the melody flashes like a wistful card trick whenever someone says the word "feel." And the songs will matter, but exactly because they won't matter at all--removed from their moment, they'll glow with pure historicity.

The first million times I heard Cornershop's "Brimful of Asha" I didn't get it at all. I was just waiting for Norman Cook's "Brighton" remix--how the opening breaks down the guitar part to primitive jangle and speeds it up to faster miles an hour, until you can hear that it's "Roadrunner," substituting Bollywood for American Top 40, accelerating endlessly around its own history, held in orbit only by nostalgia's gravity.

The sound these singles make transmutes into that gravity later--as we drive past the Stop and Shop one night in the future, they'll remind us that this is how the world sounded one summer--from the morning past the evening to the end of the light. And we'll forget the distracting spectacle of the Fair itself, the pretty maids all in a row exchanging Grammy photos.

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