Friday, August 01, 2008

Half of it's you, half is me

Albums not only are accompanied to life events but to people. To preserve the well being of said persons, names will be inconsequential although anyone (everyone?) reading this should be able to figure out. Anyway, music that is attached to an important person in your life can become really harsh or bittersweet if things don't go the right way or if the association is with someone negative. In this case, Wilco's A Ghost is Born was the soundtrack for the summer of 2004. I was so in love with the album that events and people will forever well up in my mind. It was a glorious summer in general. A friend instituted his legacy in Brigantine of curating a fantastic weekend/week getaway to the shore and I met someone who changed my life. It was the first time I really felt grown up and felt like I knew someone special.

That summer I was head over heels and was truly enjoying life. I was happy with my job, I was in a band and I had met someone who challenged me and made me feel one with the universe. Why does Wilco's A Ghost is Born remind me of this occasion? I guess I just had a thing with driving down the shore blasting the album. It was just about long enough for the trip from Philadelphia at my place in Bryn Mawr Suites to the Jersey Shore. It had an ethereal element and the more upbeat songs were a good backdrop on a sunny day and the more contemplative songs were very effective on the drive home late at night. The music matched the emotions. It was more than me feeling hopelessly romantic, but contemplative on getting closer and closer to the end of my college career and growing up a bit.

The music of the record just beams with life. The angsty Neil Youngesque opener, "At Least That's What You Said" kind of mirrored the relationship I was leaving. It was a strange ending as it just wasn't working on either end but was one of the better relationships I had been in. The rocking was a good purge of emotions. "Spiders(Kidsmoke)" was the kind of jam session that made flooring the gas to escape the burdens of life at home much easier. The crescendo of sounds in the song made the feelings vanish in sound and as the environment changed around me, so did my thoughts and feelings. "Muzzle of Bees" is musically and sonically the mood I was in once old thoughts were out of my head. "Wishful Thinking" was the thoughts the new relationship was giving me, hoping for things better than they were. Lucky for me, that summer they were much better. '04 turned out to be a stellar year in the life.

And yet, now that those times have passed, you would think that all the good memories attached to Wilco's A Ghost is Born would be tarnished with the feelings that came to pass just about a year later. Luckily for me, if anything, it makes the album better. it's not associated with heartbreak of bad feelings but with maturing, learning and love. This seems strange as this album isn't super happy, but more contemplative and atmospheric. That said, I think that is part of why it's such a perfect time capsule of music.

1. The Who - Tommy
2. Beck - Odelay
3. Television - Marquee Moon
4. Weezer - Pinkerton
5. Brian Eno - Before and After Science
6. Wilco - A Ghost is Born

Up next: The Beatles - Rubber Soul

1 comment:

Joe said...

Speaking of good lists *nudge, nudge*

Have not partaken of the Lemonheads live, which hurts my soul. Come on Feel is by no means the worst album ever, I just think it pales compared to what I've heard elsewhere. Lemonheads usually aren't too deep, but a lot of the lyrics on that album are just so stupid.

Word up to The Church!

Thanks for being so supportive man! I listened to U2's "War" and Sonic Youth's "Bad Moon Rising" last night, and while both were good times, one was just a weeeee bit gooder.