Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vinyl Vednesday 2/10

[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it kinda is. With Feb. 14 approaching, this week’s installment is Valentine’s Day-themed. That means three stories about listening to records with my girlfriend. Fucking deal with it. E-mail with your own big finds!]

Records: John Lennon’s The John Lennon Collection (1982) on black, Nine Inch Nail’s Year Zero (2007) on black with an etching on side four, and Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. (1973) on black.

Place of Purchase: Lennon Collection was inherited from my parents, while NIN and Bruce came from Repo Records. One was new and the other was used. Try to guess which is which!

Thoughts: Is it cheating to write about a greatest hits compilation? Not if it means something to me. My girlfriend, Michelle, was visiting me at my college campus when we had a fight. I don’t remember what it was about or who was wrong. I don’t think it was even that bad; it just happened to be one of our first fights. Within an hour, though, we realized that whatever we were upset about didn’t matter in the “grand scheme” sense and dropped the argument. Then I put on The John Lennon Collection and asked Michelle to dance.

Here is why this is significant: At my high school, every dance closed with Lennon’s “Imagine.” This was a tradition up until my senior year, when some d-bag DJ switched almost exclusively to contemporary hip-hop and ’80s pop-metal. I don’t think he even ended with a slow song at our last mixer. Whatever. “Imagine” is a socio-political song, but its idealist nature, coupled with the sight of young lovers intertwined, always made me think of it as a love song. So here I was, alone in my dorm room with the love of my life, and I wanted to play something romantic. So I dropped the needle on “Imagine” and slow danced with the love of my life while I whispered the lyrics in her ear.

Later, “Jealous Guy” came on, and we laughed about it.

My girlfriend and I both have sexxxcellent taste in music. But it’s not often that we get into something at the same time. Usually, it’s more of a cultural exchange – I show her The Mountain Goats and Jawbox, she shows me Tori Amos and Say Hi. Every so often, though, an album captures us at the same time. We were both Nine Inch Nails fans before meeting. We both agreed that With Teeth could’ve been stronger, although I maintain it’s still a worthwhile purchase for fans. Then Year Zero came out and blew our frickin’ minds. It was such a huge leap forward from With Teeth, starting with mastermind Trent Reznor’s marketing campaign (an interactive “game” for fans to decipher, ranging from hidden Web sites to hidden flash drives at concert venues) to the album itself. We were both hooked from the start of opening instrumental track “HYPERPOWER!”. Year Zero quickly became our go-to album for the rest of the year, regardless of situation – driving, cuddling, anything in-between. The bass boom of songs like “Me, I’m Not” and “The Great Destroyer” sounds so, so, so good on Michelle’s car stereo.

I love Bruce Springsteen. And so many other people love him that, really, I don’t need to argue for his artistic merits. Ever. But I still do every time someone badmouths him. The digs generally are directed at his voice (What, you’d prefer some American Idol caterwauler?) and his more schmaltzy singles (“Dancing in the Dark,” “Glory Days”). When the admittedly lackluster Working on a Dream came out last year, I ate crow. I also to have to be careful when I sing parody Bruce lyrics, because some people think they’re real. Usually, I’ll just quote “Jungleland” or “Atlantic City” without citing the source, and then people realize he’s at least a good songwriter. My girlfriend’s whole family is anti-Boss, but Michelle eventually came around. Except, I had nothing to do with it.

Rather, it was her favorite musician of all dang time, Tori Amos, who did the work. Among many other things, Amos is A) a really good covers artist and B) a Springsteen fan. A live bootleg of Asbury Parks “Growin’ Up” (as well as “I’m on Fire”) forced Michelle to focus on the lyrics, and she came out a Bruce sympathizer. Not a huge, “let’s drive three hours to see him play Darkness on the Edge in its entirety” fan, but she “gets” him now. Which is why I get stoked every time I put on Greetings. Michelle’s from California, which means she doesn’t get the Bruce-love that fills the tri-state area, but at least she can get behind “For You,” which is one of the greatest failed romance tunes of all time.


1 comment:

mbyrne7228 said...

awwww. i love you! happy pre-valentine's day! wish we were listening to records together now!