Saturday, December 16, 2006

The story is old, i know, but it goes on

i don't like the beatles. well. not in the way most people do. most of my 'liking' them is involved in the fact that the music is etched into my head. i can spot the chorus of 'love me, do' driving past other cars on i95 at "i'm late for work again" speed. until i was about nine years old, oldies were just about all my mother would listen to in the car. i really had no idea other music existed. everyday to or from school, or running errands with her (i thought it was running Aarons, i must admit), our listening selection included roy orbison, the beach boys, the beatles, elvis, chuck berry, etc.

that being said. my number 12 record was a surprise. back in the days before lots of internet shopping or iTunes, there was mail order. just like every other record this band had released in the previous years, i pre-ordered it. and waited. the release was pushed back twice; originally slated for a february release, and then april-ish, i had sent the record label my hard-earned money in late december, 2000.

it wasnt the first time tooth and nail records had pushed back a release months at a time, but i worried this time was different. the bands friend/producer for their last three albums had just passed away, and i thought maybe the bands singer/songwriter was crumbling under the pressure to top their last two immensely popular records, all by himself.

when the record arrived to my college mail box, and i skipped class to listen to it, i knew i was dead wrong. it seems as though they had enlisted the help of another old-school christian rock icon to produce this. moreover, the songs show no signs of a man in pain. they were not remains taped together. heck, they werent even mopey. these songs were epic. inspiring. hopeful, even. i can--without even looking at the bands back catalogue--think of at least 5 songs about quitting music all together. on this album, one song admits, grudgingly, to coming further than the singer thought they would go (track 1), and being excited to hit the road (track 3), singing "I already know what we're going to play."

i dont like the beatles. not in the way most people do. but after listening to this record, i can see why they like the fab four. but i dont think "ripoff" when i let my ears listen (instead of dissecting and analyzing). i see influence on aspirations to something bigger, rather than nicking a hook or a lick. its like the undead spirits of brian wilson, george martin and (pre-crazy, post-genius) phil spector had inhabited the studio during this session and refused to leave, their ghosts shaping these simple songs into this bands
"pet sounds." hell, the fact that the album was mixed in mono only seals the deal. the bands' previous signature, the wall-of-feedback sound, still makes its presence known. it just occupies different sonic space. one has to listen past the strings, pianos, thoughtful lyrics, perfect harmonies, horns, tympani, cross-rhythms and amazing arrangement should one WANT to do that.

if anyone reading this hasnt guessed already...if you dont already know this record, email me. i will burn you a copy. and getting back to the producer and heartache; although there is an obvious "thank you" to the late, great, gene eugene andrusco in track 6, 'things like this help me' (Come out and pick a night|A night when you lose your life|Because I look around|I'll stay up late when you fix all the sounds), i think that starflyer 59's masterpiece "leave here a stranger" makes a damned fine epitaph and living rememberance for an old, lost dog.


STARFLYER 59-leave here a stranger

RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2001
LABEL: tooth & nail records


wit, humor and biting lyrics meld with pure pop hooks to create some of the smartest, catchiest rock i have ever heard.

everyone who loves the band, loves this record. and with good reason.

everyone who loves this record has their own take on it; it comes attached to a story of love, heartache, discovery, or some combination of the three. so i wont bore you with mine.

this album, along with everything this group ever touched, is brilliant. listen to it, cherish it, and attach your own story of love, heartache, discovery, or some combination of the three.

just dont bore anyone with it, alright?


THE SMITHS-the queen is dead

RELEASE DATE: June 16, 1986
LABEL: Rough Trade


Sugar Mama said...

As a teacher, is it painful to read your posts. I want to pull out my pencil and underline the first letter of each sentence and every proper noun.

I'm surprised at Leave Here a Stranger. Although I love that one, I thought it was an unmentionable (atleast in a top 25) to the true SF fan.

Captain Ultra said...

hahaha. sorry suga. i have a nasty habit of doing that. ever since i began typing. i just like the way it looks, better.

curious, though. and i'm not joking, why is LHAS unmentionable?

Lucky Strikes said...

Hunter, LHAS is the only SF59 album I don't own, partly because Rob told me long ago (came out around his wedding, didn't it?) that it wasn't that good. I'm going back to find it and add it to the collection...

Captain Ultra said...

here would be my 3-tier rating for the starflyer records (not including eps or singles)

Silver (1993)-awesome
Gold (1995)-awesome
Americana (1997)-awesome
The Fashion Focus (1998)-good
Everybody Makes Mistakes (1999)-good
Leave here a stranger (2001)-awesome
Old (2003)-not so good
I Am the Portuguese Blues (2004)-not so good
Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice(2005)-awesome
My Island (2006)-good

Papa Shoegaze said...

papa never said such a thing regarding that album. I still love it was my malibu companion for months...

Sugar Mama said...

I'm guessing you won't list all of the "awesome" ones and I just assumed the others that fall in that category would come first. I didn't mean its like skid marked undies or something.

Captain Ultra said...

hahaha. its like, 'oops! i left, here, a stranger in my pants!'