“Just Like Honey” opens Psychocandy, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s debut album. The song epitomizes the band’s signature cocktail of Beach Boys pop and V.U. fuzz. For a while, I thought its perfection was entirely self-contained; I considered it an unsurpassed gem in the band’s catalog, as the band’s starting and finishing points in one tidy confection.
Then I saw Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, which changed my mind. At the end of the film, in a moment starkly reminiscent of the extended freeway scene in Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, Bill Murray’s taxi coasts the highways of Tokyo—a closing note that feels both bitter and sweet, as Murray has just made a genuine connection with another human being in a metropolis neither person can call home (except home can be anywhere, especially with such matters of the heart). The pairing of this scene with the song on the soundtrack, “Just Like Honey,” has the dual effect of giving the film’s end an aching, yearning sense of evanescence—of making it hard for me to not visualize the scene when I hear the song.
This perfect marriage of sound and vision packs even more depth for me, in that I lived in a foreign country for two months and can relate to that feeling of beatific rootlessness; of floating on the buzz of being fully myself in a world to which I was a total stranger. Losing oneself in the beautiful noise of a strange city (the hustle and bustle), and still finding that sweet spot when you or someone else accepts you for you, despite or because of that noise and the loss it holds: These are the things of which lived lives are made.