“Smooth Criminal”

For years and years, music I’ve bought has been piling up on iTunes. Some of it is on my hard drive or iPod. A lot of it is lingering in the cloud, not quite forgotten but fallen out of rotation — an artifact of another time. In lieu of buying new music, I sometimes dig up these old purchases and use them to travel through time. Here’s one.

It’s not Jackson’s original but rather Alien Ant Farm’s cover. This is the only song I own off their 2001 album, Anthology.

I play this song and I’m in a car on Chicago’s North Side. It’s night. My friend, Marty, is driving and our friend, Tony, is cracking wise. It’s not late yet but it will be soon. North Side bros, before I know them as bros, are broing on the sidewalks. The lights from signs bend and curve on the windshield. I notice the ones for all-night taco joints. I could go for a taco. We’re young, the century is new, and the money I’m making working retail is meant for tacos. The later the better. It’s not late yet but it will be soon.

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