Depending on the day, I can spend a lot of time on hold.

The hold music depends on the client. Some play the same canned Muzak track over and over again, some stick to Oldies, some subscribe to the worst throwaways of disco and synth I have ever heard to the point that I have considered bringing it up to whomever answers the phone. But I don’t, because people used to do this to me when I answered the phones at a beer company, and it was always some 90-year-old crank with a boner for Clydesdales who didn’t like “that trashy rock music,” like I had anything to do with it in the first place.

The hold music for one client the other day was “Jessie,” which, after Googling, I see was performed by a man named Joshua Kadison who no one ever heard from again. I’m only partly kidding here; on one hand, seriously, probably no one ever heard from this guy again. On the other hand, I never could sit through all of “I Love the ‘90s,” so maybe he popped up somewhere in there.

Although I certainly never heard of Joshua Kadison again (if I ever even knew who he was in the first place, and I’m guessing that’s a big no), I want everyone to realize that back in the day, no one made videos without recording contracts, and also he probably got laid a considerable amount just for doing this:

(Before I get to “Jessie,” I’d also like to mention that YouTube’s sidebar suggestions included Marc Cohn, Richard Marx, and Bryan Adams, otherwise known as Music To Make 12-Year-Old Me Start Her Period All Over Again.)

Like many of the songs I once heard on the radio (feel free to look up my previous entries on Bryan Adams and the Gin Blossoms if you want to know what kind of crap I once liked for totally mysterious reasons), I can now listen to “Jessie” with fresh ears and wonder what in the hell was this guy thinking.

And I’m not even talking about that vest.

Jessie is a terrible woman. In the beginning of the song, she calls Joshua from a phone booth in Vegas. Now, granted this song was written before the time of cell phones so theoretically, a phone booth wasn’t that sketchy. However, you should consider that this song was also written before Celine Dion went to Vegas and it became kind of a a family destination. It’s like New York from Ghostbusters vs. New York from Sex and the City. Totally different landscape, and anyone using a payphone in the older version was probably setting up a crack deal.

When Jessie calls Joshua at 5am, she calls to say that “she’s tired of all of them,” and while the “them” part is never really explained, we’re left to assume that Jessie has been partying with these people for awhile and is just exhausted (who wouldn’t be, she’s in Vegas at 5am). Jessie then suggests that she and Joshua run away to Mexico to live in “a trailer by the sea,” which I guess could sound idyllic to some people (ahem, hobos), but we shouldn’t lose sight of the bigger picture here. This girl is calling up an ex-boyfriend at 5am from a payphone on the Vegas strip to ask him to run away to a foreign country and live in a trailer.

Obviously, Jessie is on the run from druglords.

I’ve known enough hippies in my time and I’ve known enough dirtbags in my time, and while both have probably considered a trailer on the Mexican coast as a viable living option at one point or another, the thing about hippies is that they don’t party in Vegas. Burning Man, yes, but as far as I know, there aren’t any payphones at Burning Man. This leaves me to assume that Jessie has gotten in bad with some even badder people, and her idea to get her ex-boyfriend to go in on a trailer with her (because you know that guy is paying for more than half) is a desperate effort to get the hell out of Dodge. Most appallingly, she tells the ex-boyfriend to bring the cat, who is named Moses and is portrayed by two completely different cats in the video. Her grand plans once they arrive in Mexico are drinking tequila and looking for seashells. And that’s it. No jobs. No other moneymaking schemes. Literally nothing else she says is worth singing about, although I suppose it would have been tacky to mention that she’d probably end up giving BJs to truck drivers eventually.

Joshua Kadison is not entirely pleased to hear from Jessie, and by saying “Jessie, you always do this every time I get back on my feet,” he implies that this is not the first call Jessie has made from a payphone at 5am. I’d like to think that Joshua is talking about getting back on his feet in an emotional sense, but frankly, Jessie doesn’t seem like a very stable individual, and based on “by now I should know better, your dreams are never free,” I’m guessing she’s probably drained the sucker’s bank account one or nine times.

But Joshua is in love with Jessie, or he was, or maybe Moses is in a bad way, because although he and the cat (seriously, he says “we”) took Jessie’s pictures down off the wall, he asks Jessie to “tell me all about our little trailer by the sea, Jessie, you can always sell any dream to me.”

Oh, Joshua. You sick, sad bastard.

When Jessie tells him “get yourself together, bring Mose and drive real fast,” you can practically hear the goons coming after her, and you wish Joshua would just hang up the phone and leave poor Moses out of this, because cats don’t really do well with change and for some reason, I think of him as elderly. And for god’s sake, Joshua, keep your eyes on the total lack of prize here, and please stop talking about fucking Jessie in Mexico (“I will love you in the sunshine, lay you down on the warm white sand,” ewwwwww), because no, you’re wrong when you say “and who knows maybe this time, things will turn out just the way you planned.”

Of course they won’t. They never do. Anyone can tell that she’s a lunatic and you’re the schmuck and you probably had the kind of relationship that made your friends cringe because it’s so entirely doomed. This is knowable after just three minutes and thirty seconds of listening to “Jessie,” as is the certain future of Joshua getting bored, Jessie getting crazy, someone burning down the trailer and blaming it on street urchins and WHAT ON EARTH HAPPENS TO MOSES.

Someone please tell me what happens to Moses.

About erineph

I'm Erin. I have tattoos and more than one cat. I am an office drone, a music writer, and an erstwhile bartender. I am a cook in the bedroom and a whore in the kitchen. Things I enjoy include but are not limited to zombies, burritos, Cthulhu, Kurt Vonnegut, Keith Richards, accordions, perfumery, and wearing fat pants in the privacy of my own home.
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3 Responses to Jessie

  1. Carmen says:

    Joshua Kadison is the son of TV writer Ellis Kadison. He grew up in Hollywood Hills. (No surprise there: I can tell by his teeth in the video that his parents could afford orthodontia.) The song “Jesse” is about his former relationship with Sarah Jessica Parker. The song isn’t bad, but it bores me…just another young guy’s lament about the crazy pussy he can’t forget….

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