150 Favorite Songs: #90, “Oh Yeah,” Texas Terri and the Stiff Ones (2000)
I was never more lost in life than when I was 21 years old. I had moved to San Antonio to be with a girlfriend, but she’d left to join to Air Force shortly after I got there. I lived with five dudes in a three-bedroom apartment, and I worked in a comic book store. I didn’t have any sort of plan for life.
I heard “Oh Yeah” on a mixtape one day — I was doing a fill-in shift at another branch of the comic store, and the manager there was a hip dude who would bring in tapes with stuff like Texas Terri, the Murder City Devils, Pretty Girls Make Graves — all sorts of good turn-of-the-millenium punk-y indie rock.
That first line sounded like a dream to me — “We didn’t need a lot of money / that meant we didn’t have to work too much / it was a good life, honey / we never had to be in a rush.” I wanted all of that. Part of the reason that the relationship I’d been in didn’t work out was that she wanted me to figure out life and a career (she thought that I should be an electrician). I wasn’t interested in any of that, and she decided to enlist so that she would be able to figure those things out for herself.
I never really faulted her for it, but there was something about “Oh Yeah” that really stuck with me — hearing a woman sing about the joys of being poor and happy. I wanted to not need a lot of money, to not feel like I had to rush around. But mostly I wanted that plural.
It would take me years to find it, which was, on balance, a good thing. And now, every time I hear “Oh Yeah,” I feel a little bit like I won something.