If punk rock is red, then pop is pink.
And Nicki Minaj is the color of bubblegum, a few shades lighter than her sports bra from the “Anaconda” music video—it’s too fuchsia to be her. She is Hubba Bubba original because Bubble Yum is too chalky. She’s the Barbie logo, Sleeping Beauty’s dress if it was latex, Princess Peach with her head cut off.
Miley Cyrus is cotton candy. Not the toxic blue color of Maggie Moo’s cotton candy ice cream that used to fall in between my legs onto the back seat of my cousin’s Jeep, more like the swirl of cotton candy popsicles from the ice cream truck down the street.
EDM is lime green on black. The colors never fuse together, they’re too dense. Country is the warm smell of leather or my uncle’s pipe. But Folk is the colder brown of Bob Dylan’s hair from the cover of Blonde on Blonde. Joni Mitchell is a pale yellow, not because of her hair or the fact that her number one hit is “Big Yellow Taxi”—because that song is too bright of a yellow—but because of the softness of her voice in “You Turn Me On I’m A Radio.” But the Talking Heads are an industrial gray absolutely because of David Byrne’s oversized suit in Stop Making Sense.
Dolly Parton swims in maraschino cherries. She’s fluorescent red inside and out, the sickly sweet innocence on top of a milkshake.
Rock and roll is the golden opulence of Elvis’ jacket with the hair gel, the shimmer, and the pelvis of our grandparent’s rebellion. The 60s morphed into yellow, sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, while disco became a warm, creamy orange, “Beast of Burden” from the boat’s speakers all the way up to a three-person parasail.
But Paul Simon is no king. His songs are beige like his album covers. That tinted yellow of sun-bleached photos or the faded pages of my mom’s copy of “Merry, Rose, and Christmas-Tree June” sitting in the attic.
Blue is tricky. The blues are blue, but jazz is the blue of the sky peaking in on a rainy day, the way skin looks in the shadow of blue lighting. “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” tastes like a blue raspberry Icee from the Tiger Mart across from Donut Den. No cloud in the sky. It’s different from the pudgy wave of Brian Eno’s “On Some Faraway Beach” that Chloë Sevigny listened to twenty times in a row on her mom’s porch, but similar to the faded blue of a wide-eyed “Walk Of Life.”
“Southern Nights” by Glen Campbell is closing my eyes in the car, speeding down a road lined with trees at sunset—home. Allen Toussaint’s original is a few hours later when we catch fireflies in old jars of jam. A twinkling, murky, and midnight blue.
R&B is purple, but so is Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction.” It’s running your hands down satin silk, a deep purple hitting the light in just the right places. It’s Austin Powers’ revolving bed that he installed on a plane to get Vanessa to shag him. I guess Indie rock is this color, thanks MGMT.
Ambient is the lullaby of a void, a black abyss to get lost in, better than an elevator but maybe not an airport. And Kanye West’s “Fade” is falling into molasses, the pulse of oozing through. A less painful version of that game Boneless Girl that I used to play on Addicting Games where a boneless girl in a black bikini tumbles aimlessly through bubbles. Teyana Taylor is hot.
I wish I had Chromesthesia. The free online quizzes have been inconclusive. My wifi usually cuts out before the results load anyways.
I think it would feel like the color orange, “Sound and Vision” on the way to Six Flags, reading about my zodiac sign, watching Frances Ha with my best friend, that one time I slept on my aunt’s waterbed. Better than my memories. The warmth of its ok to not listen to new music.
Would music be bound to me? Would my life be a rainbow? Would I still have to look up, each time, how to spell Chromesthesia?