I was at a YMCA summer camp sometime in the mid-’90s when I first heard “Landslide.” I was in a van actually, driving to a canoeing/camping situation for a few days with a bunch of fellow children and our counselor, who was a college student at Ohio University and also in a fraternity there.
If I recall correctly, that was also the first summer I discovered Oasis. Or maybe that was another summer. One of the things about summer camp that they don’t tell you is that there is, in fact, a lot of downtime to listen to music or start a fire or lay in your bunk and read something. It’s not all Great Outdoors stuff. So a lot of summer camps were spent chilling out with my Discman, the first pangs of pre-teenage angst beginning to appear.
So when I heard “Landslide” that day in the van it hit me just about perfect. It is angsty, wistful, wise, emo, and short enough to be a quick one-two punch. In and out. A girl I had a crush on said, “Good one, Stevie,” after the song was over, as we drove toward some lakes in central Ohio. Naturally, this only further convinced me that me and this young lady were meant to be. I was 12 or 13 years old at the time, and after several days of canoeing we loaded all of our shit back into the van and drove back to camp.
We liked each other well enough but it was firmly friend zone stuff. Of course, a few days later we both went home and no one from that trip ever saw anyone else from the trip ever again. This is another thing no one tells you about summer sleepaway camp: You don’t make lifelong friends but intense, short-term alliances. And then it’s back to real life.