Reversing the Numbness

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Music

I was going through my iPod a few days ago trying to find something to listen to that matched my mood, and I stumbled onto an album I hadn't heard in a long time: Pink Floyd's The Final Cut. This isn't just any old album to me -- in fact, back in the day, it changed music as I knew it.

My pal G2theLow turned me on to Pink Floyd in high school with The Wall. I was familiar with "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2," but that was about it. One day when we were cruising around he kicked The Wall and I was floored. I'd never heard anything like it. I wanted it to be mine.

So the next time I went to the mall I checked Camelot Music, and The Wall, being a double CD, was like 25 bucks. I must have been short on bread, so I picked up the budget-priced Final Cut instead and I beelined to my dad's apartment and his new stereo--my only access to a CD player.

He wasn't there, so I loaded up one of the slots in the 6-CD Techniques cartridge with my new Floyd, turned up the volume, turned out the lights, and laid down in the middle of the floor. It was almost like I knew my life was about to change and I didn't want any other stimuli to interfere with the process. I remember it like it was yesterday, which is impressive, seeing as how I forget most of my life.


Automobiles pass in the rain. A car radio switches from station to station.

"...announced plans to build a nuclear fallout shelter at Peterborough
in Cambridgeshire..."
[phzzt! of returning]
"...three high court judges have cleared the way..."
"...It was announced today, that the replacement for the Atlantic
Conveyor the container ship lost in the Falklands conflict would be
built in Japan, a spokesman for..."
"...moving in. They say the third world countries, like Bolivia, which
produce the drug are suffering from rising violence...[fades]"

Tell me true, tell me why, was Jesus crucified
Is it for this that Daddy died?
Was it for you? Was it me?
Did I watch too much T.V.?
Is that a hint of accusation in your eyes?
If it wasn't for the nips
Being so good at building ships
The yards would still be open on the clyde.
And it can't be much fun for them
Beneath the rising sun
With all their kids committing suicide.
What have we done, Maggie what have we done?
What have we done to England?
Should we shout, should we scream
"What happened to the post-war dream?"
Oh Maggie, Maggie what did we do?
And my mind was completely blown. I stayed on the floor and let the first listen take me. Then I spun it again. I felt punch-drunk afterward.

I soon found the 25 bones and bought The Wall, which continued to reconstruct my idea of what music could be as I explored it more deeply. More Floyd albums followed. Then I tried Neil Young, Bob Dylan, The Grateful Dead. Others followed, and I let them all in. As the music in my life changed, so did my life itself.

I've been searching for the next mind-blower ever since, and I've found many, in various genres, but nothing will ever have the effect that The Final Cut had on me.

What was the first album that really got you? That's what I want to listen to today.


mattucks said...

I've been spinning Built to Spills You in Reverse alot lately.

spooge said...

the first album "i got."

weird al yankovic - dare to be stupid.

it's like he was speaking directly to me.

josh williams said...

The Floyd, yes.

Raoul Duke said...

I had a delayed jouney through music, I still listened to alot of pop until my junior year of college, then...

the Samples> the Grateful Dead > Phish > Widespread Panic > Yonder Mountain String Band to today's Railroad Earth. ( so from 1993-2007)

so spin some Samples. here's the first song I heard from them.

SleekPelt said...

mattucks: But what was an early album that had a big effect on you?

spooge: Wow -- I totally remember you being into him. Check this out.

SleekPelt said...

josh: Many Floyd fans dismiss The Final Cut as a Roger Waters solo effort, and it sort of is, but I love it.

SleekPelt said...

raoul: Man, I love that song. It actually think it sounds like a Spooge song a little.

Valyna said...

My parents were 17 when they had me in 1973, so I was raised on some amazing music. My dad was a pot smokin rock 'n roll rebel that was in a band and my mom was a MoTown runaway straight from Detroit. Needless to say, I never heard lullabies when I was little... I fell asleep to Grand Funk Railroad, Pink Floyd, Roberta Flack, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Three Dog Night, Janis Joplin <3, The Beatles, Steppenwolf, The Doors... and my dad's favorite from back then - - Alice Cooper.

I'm not sure which album was the first I remember hearing - but they were monumental to me.

Billion Dollar Babies

A.Cooper Goes To Hell

Welcome To My Nightmare

The music, the creepy bizarre lyrics, the cover art, his monsters... Alice was significant for me when I was little. (Probably a reason I'm a weirdo today) hehe =)

Specific song recommendations:
-Sick Things
-I Love The Dead
-Only Women Bleed
-Welcome To My Nightmare
-I Never Cry
-Cold Ethyl

Happy Friday!!

mattucks said...

the first record that really grabbed me was given to me in 8th grade by a kid called michael. it was the minor threat demo tape. that was the first music made me look at the world differently. this clip isn't from that first demo but is what minor threat stood for. check it here.

SleekPelt said...

valyna: Alice Cooper is one of those guys I know but don't really know. All of the songs you suggested are on YouTube via live performances. This has really changed my perception of Alice Cooper. I knew about the whole vaudville thing, but the music surprises me. Way less distortion than I expected. "Sick Things" has a standard '50 chord progression. "I Love the Dead" is sort of what I expected. "Only Women Bleed" -- wow. Such a surprise. "Welcome to my Nightmare" -- The Doors meet a '70s cop show. "I Never Cry" sounds a bit like a show tune, which I guess it sort of is. "Cold Ethyl" sounds a bit like a heavier Elton John song to me. This stuff is way more diverse than I expected and I'm looking forward to hearing more. Thanks, Valyna!

SleekPelt said...

mattucks: If I were a BMX kid growing up in Preston County, I'd be listening to a bunch of pissed of kids singing about how they're out of step with the world too. Great suggestion, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Chiming in today with these:

Jose Gonzalez - Crosses

Jose Gonzalez - Hearbeats

Matthes said...

I am not sure why people who write about music that changed their life always have "cool" bands or singers. It's like you can't be literate enough to write what music affected your life unless it is some music that has "cred".

That being said, I'm 33 and I remember Madonna "True Blue" being pretty cool as I was just beginning to check out chicks at that age.

I also can really remember my brother being into some stupid Irish band that was depressing to me and then a few years after release, being blown away by "The Joshua Tree".

1988-I was 15 and The Tragically Hip-"Fully Completely" came out and again, I didnt get "it" right away, but when I did-it blew my wig back.

SleekPelt said...

anon: Nice, mellow music for a Friday afternoon. Thanks.

matthes: I don't think it has anything to do with how "cool" something is. The only thing that matters is how it affects you. I could care less what music anyone else thinks is cool, and I believe all real fans of music are the same way. Would you rather I lied and said I laid on my floor that night listening to Madonna? It was Pink Floyd, cool, cliche, or whatever they are to you. Others' opinions are irrelevant.

U2 ... you speaka my language. Gonna spin 'em now.

olives and more said... one album sticks out in my mindas changing my world, but are a couple that I started listening to in middle and early high school....ones that i enjoyed the entire cd

nirvana: incesticide
violent femmes: violent femmes
stone temple pilots: core
led zepplin II
pearl jam: ten

SleekPelt said...

olive: Insecticide was out when you were in junior high? God, I'm old. The Violent Femmes were my introduction to college rock. Kicking "American Music" now.

Rob Zero said...

It's funny. I was actually thinking about the same thing recently (ie, music that changed my life). As long as I remember, I loved pop/rock music. I have a distinct memory of listening to ELO's "Sweet Talking Woman" and 10CC's "Things We Do for Love" in the back of my parents' Pacer X.

As for LPs that changed my life... that's tough. I remember listening to the Violent Femmes "Add It Up" and the Repo Man soundtrack when I was 12, and thinking "Did they just say what I think they said?" It was a realization that anything goes.

All in all the LP with the most profound effect remains "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars." It blew my mind in 8th Grade, and remains a favorite.

(As an aside, the first record I bought with my own money was the "Eddie & the Cruisers" soundtrack)

SleekPelt said...

rob: Welcome back! I love that you had a music moment that taught you that anything goes. So many people learn that from rock 'n' roll.

Ziggy Stardust is easily in my top-10 favorite albums ever, though I didn't discover it in its entirety until later in life. I'm going to listen to the eff out of it right now.

Zee said...

First album that I bought with my own money: 5th grade, Def Leppard's Pyromania. I literally wore the cassette tape out.

Album that changed my world: Van Halen I. Cliche, maybe, but it made me want to learn how to play guitar and set me on a path. I went through a long period of borderline obsession with Van Halen.

Beleive it or not, while were are hundreds of great records in between, the next record that I heard that literally changed my perspective on songs and songwriting was (as introduced to me by none other than Sleekpelt during Spring Break,1993) Jeffrey Gaines' self titled debut. One of the first records that I really loved that was not a "guitar" oriented record in any way (the guitar was incidental to the lyrics and melodies). This led to an understanding of the Beatles from a whole different perspective as well, as opposed to just chord progessions and "cool" guitar things (like Blackbird, Here Comes the Sun and She's A Woman---songs that I learned and played, but never really appreciated until much later).

Valyna said...

I **LOVE** the the soundtrack to Eddie and the Cruisers :) I actually just recently replaced my wore out cassette with the CD.

Sorry about the lack of YouTube linkage... the powers that be block us from accessing that website here at work :( I'm glad you enjoyed the music and I appreciate the feedback - your take on those songs was spot-on. Alice is a cooky bastard, that's for sure ;)

And to humor Matthes, (even though Alice was my first musical influence) I'll expose one of my more embarrassing cassettes that existed in my collection when I was younger...


And the track "Escape From the Planet of the Ant Men" was my FAVORITE :)

*hmmmm, looks like the cassettes are going for $99... maybe I need to dig mine out =)

Anonymous said...

Sleekpelt--I wasn't specifically using your comment as an example, its just in Rolling Stone, Blender, Details wherever you read the inevitable "Albums that changed Rock N Roll" or whatever, you just never get "True Blue" or any other disc that makes Velveeta ooze out of your speakers.

And I CANNOT believe I left out Halen's 5150, that was a cassette that never left the ghetto blaster. Made me buy all of Halen's older stuff instead of Slurpees. Then I realized that David Lee sucks monkey ass.

Matthes said...

That was me above, btw.

Bad Billy said...

Sleek: Now that my office got moved next to yours, I get to share all of this great music! Even Elvis! Thanks!

SleekPelt said...

zee: I'm listening to "Rock of Ages" this very second. God I loved Def Leppard. I never really got into Van Halen, though, which may be the reason I suck so bad at guitar. As for that spring break trip, which by the way is one of my best memories from college: I had no idea that Gaines album had that sort of effect on you. That album kinda got me into the singer-songwriter genre. I love it still, though none of his other albums ever did much for me.

valyna: No worries on the linkage, I can find stuff. And we all listened to crazy stuff. Old-school readers of RtN may remember my Kenny Rogers post, for example. I also had this. And this. And this.

SleekPelt said...

anon: Matthes is trying to steal your handle!


bad billy: I take requests.

Matthes said...

Sleek-Halen with Sammy is (in Tony the Tiger voice) GRRRRRRRRRRRRRREAT! What sucks about Halen w/Sam is that generally the singles that were released were sappy-ass ones that struck with the public but were very hollow.

What I try to tell people is there is some great songs that Eddie really shines on, you just have to dig deeper. Songs like "Mine All Mine" and "5150" and "Pleasuredome" for example. Sammy wrote great introspective lyrics but too bad the public just heard "Can't Stop Loving You".

I will now get off my soapbox.

Raoul Duke said...

Zee- I second Pyromania. I listened to it on an actual tape recorder in 5th grade. It is still epic. Just listened to it on my drive home not 3 days ago. Man I love that album.

SleekPelt said...

matthes: I'm sure we've got all the Hagar stuff at the office, so I'll check it out on Monday.

raoul: You can always count on zee to lead you in the right direction. If I've learned one thing, that's it.

Zee said...

Mathes & Anonymous: I should have noted that, unlike other VH nuts, I was also just as into the Hagar-era stuff (I probably listened to 5150 more than any other sinle album ever). However, I always felw that it was Eddie that did it for me, not DLR or Sammy. Now that I have some distance and perspective, I firmly FIRMLY beleive that Van Halen peaked in every way with Fair Warning. I honeslty don't think its close.