Now that Liam is in school full time I’m coming up with all of these projects to keep myself occupied. It’s no secret we move a lot, and during the last move I remember unpacking two or three boxes of just CDs. With the advent of MP3s, it’s been several years since I bought a new CD. So I thought it high time I condense our collection into more manageable CD books and get rid of all this unnecessary plastic packaging. And now James and I can never get divorced – our CDs are irrevocably mixed together!
As I painstakingly alphabetized and moved dust jackets into little sleeves, it got me reflecting a little bit. Like how, as I hold a certain CD in my hand, I can recall precisely where and when I bought it. Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar was on a memorable night in Columbia, MO, with my then high-school-aged sister visiting me at college for the weekend. Portishead’s Dummy was at Virgin Records in Times Square on a trip to The Big Apple with Jill and Matt Good to visit my college friends Todd and Marisa, who were living on Staten Island at the time. For Tool’s highly-anticipated 2001 album Laterlus, I stood in line at midnight at 7th Heaven in Blue Springs. I doubt I’ll ever get that much recall with on MP3 purchased on my phone.
It was also interesting to see what CDs we had in duplicate, what music both James and I liked before we knew each other. R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People, Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales, Stabbing Westward’s Wither Bluster Burn + Peel, the soundtrack for the movie Lost Highway. After we moved in together in May of 2000, we saw the movie Snatch and apparently both bought the soundtrack. I guess that was before our “what’s yours is mine” mentality kicked in. James embraced my love of everything Maynard James Keenan, purchasing his own copies of both A Perfect Circle albums. I like to think these common musical interests speak to our suitability. Nowadays we’ll catch each other listening to a song, and suddenly we discover we both love it and didn’t know it! And now we have separate copies purchased on our devices through iTunes. It’s not quite the same, not quite as tangible. But it’s nice to think that even after sixteen years together (Whoa!), though our interests have diverged, we still can surprise each other with a common song.
Tags: music, video
Not only is this my favorite band and arguably favorite song, but these high school kids nailed it. Their music teacher is the same age as me…figures, heh.
Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged DVD hits store shelves today, which I discovered by catching the tail end of back-to-back Nirvana videos playing on MTV tonight. Quite a trip down memory lane seeing all of those grainy videos, MTV Unplugged footage, and SNL performances, all of which I saw the first time back in 9th and 10th grade. Suddenly, a flood washed over me: Watching Smells Like Team Spirit, dripping with teenage angst, as I got ready for school; a fuscia-haired Kurt Cobain staring down at me from my bedroom wall, one of many coveted Sassy covers; five-dollar over-sized flannels proudly purchased from the local thrift store; a beat up old Memorex tape of Nevermind I played endlessly in my mom’s car; singing along to All Apologies with my oh-so-cool-I’m-in-a-college-band boyfriend; and a couple years later picking out the melody to Heart Shaped Box on my friend Todd’s guitar, one of the first songs I ever learned to play (along with Rape me, much to his roommate’s chagrin). It’s amazing how much this band, which shone so briefly in the mid-90s, permeates my life, and countless others’. It’s been 14 years almost to the day since that MTV performance, and I can honestly say I love them now just as much as I did then.
Tags: james, music
Don’t you love those moments when you realize your husband really gets you? We’ve been listening to a lot of Bill Hicks comedy lately, and today James forwarded me this interesting wikipedia entry linking Bill Hicks to my very favorite band:
The progressive rock band Tool invited Hicks to open a number of concerts for them on their 1993 Lollapalooza appearances, where Hicks once famously asked the audience to look for a contact lens he’d lost. Thousands of people complied. Tool singer Maynard James Keenan so enjoyed this joke that he repeated it on a number of occasions. In 1996, Tool released their album Ænima which contains mentions of Hicks in the liner notes and on record. The track “Ænema” references Hicks’s Arizona Bay philosophy (“Ahhh, it’s gone, it’s gone, it’s gone…All the shitty shows are gone, all the idiots screaming in the fucking wind are dead, I love it…leaving nothing but a cool, beautiful serenity called Arizona Bay. That’s right, when L.A. falls in the fucking ocean and is flushed away, All it will leave is Arizona Bay.”)and the closing track “Third Eye” contains samples from Hicks’s Relentless CD.
I’ve been listening to Tool since about 1994, seen them live about a dozen times, and am always eager for their new releases. But I never knew about this connection, and that it was Bill Hicks sampled on one of my favorite tracks. James is a recent inductee to the Tool fanbase, but he seems to have embraced them almost as fervently as I have. Like his recent interest in yoga, I love that we can share this now.
I’ve sort of been compiling this list in my head, especially because I listen to more music now than I think I ever have. Two hours everyday on my commute, plus I’m almost constantly plugged in at work. In fact, I’m quickly running out of new music, but these top twenty albums always get me through. They may not be the best albums of all time, but each one holds special meaning for me–some memory or some feeling is tied to each one of them. So, without further ado…
Mandy’s Top Twenty Albums
1. Tool – Aenima
2. Poe – Haunted
3. Puccini’s Turandot
4. Royksopp – Melody A.M.
5. A Perfect Circle – Mer de Noms
6. Led Zeppelin – IV
7. Tool – Undertow
8. Soundgarden – Superunknown
9. Stone Temple Pilots – Purple
10. Erykah Badu – Live
11. Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty
12. Madonna – The Immaculate Collection
13. U2 – Joshua Tree
14. Alice in Chains – Dirt
15. Jeff Buckley – Grace
16. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral
17. Nirvana – Nevermind
18. Radiohead – Kid A
19. George Michael – Faith
20. Rusted Root – When I Woke
Tags: books, music, new york city
I think without it, New York would be totally unbearable. Every subway I ride and street I walk down has its own soundtrack, shutting out the everyday and adding just an ounce of excitement to humdrum daily life. Commutes fly by, honking taxis are muted, and annoying people are easier to ignore when I’m plugged into my Rio.
Inevitably, there will be certain songs that trigger memories of this place. And thanks to my dear ol’ sis and her willingness to introduce me to new music, this song by Royksopp captures all the good moments for me. Just imagine me strutting down the street to the beat, then waiting for the N train at 4 in the morning after a thrilling night with new friends in an exciting new city. This has become my quintessential New York City song. And despite my recent opinion of this place, this song will always lift my spirits.
Books for this week:
Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility–I’ve read this before, and I always enjoy it. The library hours (ehem, lack thereof) have been terribly inconvenient, so I’ve resorted to digging through my box of goodies.