Today I decided to play a bunch of albums I had not listened to in a while. I tend to play a lot of the same stuff over and over, and that’s fine. But today I was in the mood to revisit some old stuff, not for the purpose of writing about it, but just ‘cuz I was home and had a few things to do and felt like hearing some old shit. I had the day off from work, so after running errands in the morning and listening to disco (which is perfect for running morning errands!), I just threw on a bunch of albums and let them be the soundtrack to my Saturday. Here are my Saturday afternoon sounds:
I started with The Black Keys’ El Camino. It just came out in 2011, so it’s not like it was years ago that I last listened to it. I bought it sometime in 2012, and played it a bunch of times. It’s a fucking great rock and roll record! A few times a year I go to my favorite local record store and buy a bunch of albums, either by artists I know I like but for some reason I have never bought their music, or artists I love who have something new. I knew I liked The Black Keys, but never invested in their catalogue until El Camino had been out for a while. I had seen them on various TV appearances, heard their music in many commercials, and since I am from Northeast Ohio, read about them in a lot of publications. Everything I heard from them, I really dug.
And holy shit, is this an amazing album! The Black Keys give me hope that there is a future for rock and roll. There aren’t that many real rock bands out there anymore, but these guys really bring it, and you can tell they are passionate. Something about their stuff reminds me of The White Stripes, in that you can hear a lot of the roots of early rock and roll mixed with their unselfconsciousness about taking chances and going with their gut to create their own sound. It fucking works.
The next album I played was Amy Winehouse’s Lioness: Hidden Treasures, which was released after her death. I had been craving Amy for a while, but didn’t indulge because her music depresses me a little since she died. Not that all of the songs are sad, but when you listen to her first album in particular, she sounds so fresh and cute and free, and it’s such a shame that by her second album her life was so filled with bad shit. It makes me sad to think about how talented she was and that she is gone so early. Lioness combines songs from different periods of her life, so it’s a different experience than listening to her two studio albums.
Today I was simply enjoying her voice. As I cleaned up some stuff around the house and did my taxes and started baking some stuff for the side business my friend and I started, I let Amy sing to me. I sang along with her, and I didn’t feel sad. As I write this, I am just now realizing that. It was excruciating to listen to her the day after she died, and it stayed that way for a long time for me. It’s sad whenever someone dies so young, whatever the circumstances. But I always felt a connection to her, so I took it pretty hard. But today I was able to let that go enough that I didn’t even notice I was letting it go.
“Valerie” is my favorite song on this album. I heard the original Zutons version after I heard Amy’s, and it just doesn’t compare. Amy’s version is a perfect Saturday song. So breezy and soulful and funky, fun to sing along to. She used to perform it in concert all the time. I wish I had been able to see her live in her early years. Sigh.
One of errands I had to do this morning was buy the new Billboard with Dave Grohl on the cover. If you have read any of my blogs, you know that I have a Dave Grohl fixation. I bought two copies of the magazine, one to keep and one to…use. Anyway, Dave’s been everywhere lately because of his brilliant new documentary, Sound City. It’s been heaven for me! I saw Sound City in the theatre, and then watched it again the next day online. Brilliant. And he’s got an album coming out with a lot of the legends he interviewed in the movie. And he’s recording another album with Queens of the Stone Age. So I busted out Songs for the Deaf. I couldn’t tell you the last time I listened to it.
Still great shit. Dave’s a fucking amazing drummer. In the Foo Fighters documentary Back and Forth, Taylor Hawkins talks about how pissed off he was that Dave was playing with Queens. He had just gone through an overdose and Dave was with him while he was in a coma, and then he decides to play drums with Queens. Foo Fighters almost broke up before they played a festival at which Dave drummed for Queens one night and played with the Foos the next. But once they got onstage together they knew they couldn’t end it. Thank God!
Garbage is one of those bands I never paid attention to when they were popular. I knew a few of their songs, but like most stuff in the 90s I thought it was shit. I’m not sure what made me buy their first album many years later. It had to do with Shirley Manson. Something made me realize what a badass she is, so I thought I should buy a Garbage record. It’s the only one I have so far, but I dig it. I am not sure I listened to it more than once or twice back whenever I got it. Shirley is a true artist, and that really appeals to me. She never had to exploit herself to express herself, and I respect that. Over the past few years I have learned to be more like that.
I’m pretty sure I bought Audioslave’s first album around the time it came out. I was never a Soundgarden or Rage Against the Machine fan then (though I am now), so I had no interest in hearing what this supergroup was all about as a supergroup. I heard an Audioslave song and it impressed the hell out of me, so I bought the record. I mean, holy fuck, Chris Cornell! How do you make sounds like that come out of your face? “Show Me How to Live” is epic in every way. Every fucking thing about this song is gigantic and powerful and makes you feel something meaningful.
I had forgotten about how much I played this album (and their second one) back in the day. I was listening to it a lot while I had stupid drama with a guy, though this is not the album I directly associate with him. Something about it makes me feel strong, so I never thought of it as one of those albums that is inseparable from the shitty experiences that surrounded its place in my history. I’m really glad about that, because this is one hell of a recording, and I’d hate for it to be wasted on a guy who was never worth my time in the first place.
The Offspring remind me of working in a coffee shop at the mall when I was in my late 20s. I had drama with a guy I worked with, but like with the guy from the Audioslave album I don’t associate any of my Offspring albums with him; Nirvana’s In Utero holds that distinction. Americana is one of the great Offspring records I have, and it’s got my favorite song of theirs on it. “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” always makes me laugh. I love the line about Ricki Lake, because her 90s TV show was filled with trashy people, and on her new show she is trying to be a tiny bit more serious. This song is such a product of its time, but that’s not a slam at all. It’s fun to remember and sing along and laugh at the video.
He needs some cool tunes
Not just any will suffice
But they didn’t have Ice Cube
So he bought Vanilla Ice!
I love music of all kinds. Today was a great day to just pick random albums and remember how much I loved them, or learn to love them more now that it’s been so long since I first heard them. It was fun to have them blasting in the background as I sort of relaxed but also tried figuring out my life. Music helps me sort things out. It was a lovely day of baking and music, and I need to make sure that this is what my future looks like.