Records: Pretty Girls Make Graves’ All Medicated Geniuses seven-inch (2003) on black, Wilco’s Being There (1996) on black, and Stevie Wonder’s Music of My Mind (1972) on, again, black.
Place of Purchase: PGMG and Wilco came from Repo Records in Philadelphia. Music came from Smash Records in Washington, D.C.
Thoughts: I’ve been thinking about Pretty Girls Make Graves off and on lately. For a while, they were my favorite emo-turned-art-punk act. It didn’t matter if I was spinning their late period Discount rip Good Health or their dark, more post-punk-oriented follow-up New Romance. Either way, I was obsessed. All Medicated Geniuses was one of the first vinyls I picked up when I first got a record player. It’s probably most noticeable for a solid cover of Bow Wow Wow’s “C-30 C-60 C-90 Go!” but the originals are top-notch too. It’s a shame the Girls broke up, but I suppose it was inevitable after they started bleeding members and dropped the ho-hum swam song Elan Vital.
I bought Wilco’s Being There on a whim while I was waiting for my girlfriend to finish class. I’d been out of college for almost a year at that point and was doing nothing with degree. I had busted my ass to make honors and slogged through two journalism internships and came out with little in ways of fortunes. I felt like I had little value at the time; I think of 23 as my “lost year.” I tell you this because I heard “Misunderstood,” the opening track on Being There, while driving around Bucks County in this dejected mindset. The song is about being stuck in the same boring town with nothing better to do than grab a drink and forget. I put so much emotional investment into that one alt-country confessional that the lyrics became so much more. I get why people prefer Wilco’s later work, but Being There will always be my favorite album because of that one song. Heck, I don’t even think it needed to be a double album – that first record, with “Far, Far Away,” “Monday,” and “Forget the Flowers,” is all I need, although “The Lonely 1” comes close.
I feel like I’m being a bummer in this installment, so let’s talk about Stevie Wonder. I LOVE STEVIE WONDER. Prince led me to Wonder, and his ’70s run of records rivals Prince’s output in the ’80s. Shit, sometimes when I put on a Wonder record, I hear ideas that are still being ripped off to this day. The guy just oozed hits that perfectly mixed funk, blues, and soul. While some of his later work took on political intonations (Hotter Than July) and weighty concepts (Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants), Music of My Mind is a straight up party record through and through. Granted, there’s still some socio-political commentary at work, but I still can’t believe how effortlessly cool and alive these songs sound.
YEAH EVERYTHING IS GONNA BE OK.