my life in albums

My Life in Albums: 1999: Powderfinger, Pumpkins and an Eternal Nightcap

1999 was a big year for me. We moved to Brisbane. I started year 11 at school. I was suddenly meant to be taking things seriously. And I started earning a little bit more money than the $2 a week we were previously entitled to. So I could afford to buy a few more CDs.

For the first few months of our life in Brisbane we were living in a modernish rental house in Keperra. With a pool. Bells, and whistles. And I remember this song was doing the radio rounds…

Eminem didn’t really do it for me in a big way. I do remember enjoying Cake in that year…

But the defining album for me from 1999 was Powderfinger’s Internationalist. I bought it with the proceeds of an afternoon spent cleaning the fence at our new house (where my parents still live).

I also discovered the Whitlams, properly, in 1999, when I got me a copy of Eternal Nightcap (incidentally, we saw them two weeks ago with the Queensland Symphony. We had second row seats and they were amazing. Playing through Eternal Nightcap plus some more recent hits)…

This was also the year I discovered the Smashing Pumpkins. Thanks largely to my obsessive friend Benny. And my friend Damien who brought me a pirated copy of Siamese Dream back from China. Disarm has embedding disabled – and I think it’s the best song on that album, followed by Soma…

And Today…

This Ben Kweller cover of Today is pretty cool.

My Life in Albums: 1998: Discovering JJJ

So my dalliance with crappy pop and boy bands didn’t last all that long. I graduated to crappy Australian guitar angst driven teenage rebellion just a year later. Actually, the move was probably happening earlier than that.

Regurgitator’s Black Bugs, Spiderbait’s Calypso, Massive Attack’s Teardrop, and Custard’s Music is Crap were all on my radar around the same time (1997-98).

But for me, 1998 is the year of The Living End. Heroes to a generation of Australians. Now an incredibly tight live act replete with double bass. Well. They’ve always had a double bass. They haven’t always been that tight live though. Judging by the clips I sorted through on YouTube (the official film clip for this song has had embedding disabled by request).

I think I scored the Living End’s debut album with a CD voucher I won at school, or maybe it was a birthday present. I remember hanging out in my room listening to it while reading Redwall, by Brian Jacques. Those were the days.

Words can’t express just how excited I was to be hanging with the cool kids, musically speaking, when I discovered the Living End. Though my frenemy, Sam Conway (who tried to put out the Olympic Torch with a fire extinguisher) made it clear to me that the cool kids had moved on from the Living End about the time I discovered them. In hindsight there was probably some causation there, not just correlation. Better yet. The Living End could be turned up to 11. Which was especially useful when my family decided to pull up stumps and move to Brisbane.

Other notables from the year included this little number by Grinspoon.

Though, for a while, I had merged Green Day and Grinspoon, in my head, and was adamant that I really liked the band Greenspoon.

And of course, there was the Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony. Performed here with Coldplay, because, well, that’s kind of cool.

My life in albums: 1997: The wander year

Everybody has a musical awakening story, and a musical skeleton in the closet. Despite my relatively awesome beginnings, my life in albums almost went off the rails in my first year of really liking music. My sisters and I used to watch Rage on a Saturday morning. And before I’d really discovered the magic of radio we used to make mix tapes by holding the tape recorder up to the speakers.

One of the songs on high rotation on Rage in that year was Hanson’s Mmmbop. Still a catchy little number. Even if Taylor does look remarkably feminine.

My sisters were hooked. This album was on high rotation in our house. All the time. I know all the words to all the songs. My middle sister bonded with her now husband when they sang some Hanson songs together after church one night, their “recessional”, or whatever the song at the end of the wedding ceremony is, was another Hanson song, and at their wedding reception I used the song Madeleine to draw people’s attention back from their conversations to the original proceedings (that’s my sister’s name). Anonymity lost.

But for me, it was perhaps a darker musical year. One week my attention turned to Video Hits after Rage. I remember it like it was yesterday. This song came on. Some guys were walking into a haunted house. The music started. There was thunder. And then there was boy band magic. And some sort of werewolf.

I got on my pushbike and rode down to my sisters’ netball games on the other side of town. In Maclean, NSW. So not far. The song playing over and over in my head.

Am I original? Yeah.
Am I the only one? Yeah…

I saved up my pocket money ($2 a week plus mowing money in those days). And one day, on a trip to the Gold Coast, I think Pacific Fair. I had a look around Toys’R’Us. And a couple of other shops. And then walked into Big W. And came out a changed man. If not for that moment I would not have been bullied at school for a whole year, for thinking that the Backstreet Boys were cutting edge and awesome. I read the liner notes, and most of them thanked Jesus. So they were Christians too. And back then, at the age of 13, I thought Christian music was pretty cool. In fact, a year later, a Christian band called Aroma opened my eyes to rock (listen to the song Maggot here). And from there… well, you’ll have to wait until 1998’s post.

These were the only videos I could find easily and embed…

If I recall, there was a certain very good friend of mine (I won’t name – but he blogs and I’ve linked to him heaps, and he likes Pixar) who borrowed my CD and also enjoyed it.

My Life in Albums: The Early Years

I was born BCB. That is Before Colin Buchanan. So I was raised on a diet of ABC for kids music. This meant Don Spencer, Peter Combe, and those CDs that came out numbered. They had the timetables songs and stuff like the song about the boys who put the powder on the noses of the ladies of the harem of the court of King Caractacus.

Here are some YouTube trips down memory lane…

Apparently Peter Combe now plays pub gigs for people who grew up listening to his music.

Then there was Don Spencer, now Russell Crowe’s father-in-law.

Oh, and who could forget Joe Dolce’s On Top of Spaghetti

And Ross Higgin’s Monster Mash.

I did eventually grow up. And, perhaps more important were my trips to mum and dad’s CD shelf. I grew up with Paul Simon. I’d play Graceland whenever I could, and I have pretty early memories of the lyrics to Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer running around in my head. And Dire Straits Brothers in Arms album was another favourite.

But, perhaps the longest lasting musical memory, is the Motorcycle Song, by Arlo Guthrie (from his Best Of).

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