Forever Albums

The Undercity. Once upon a time I lived here.

This morning I said to myself, “No damn politics on the blog! Enough!” I then sat back, cleared my mind and let my consciousness wonder. The tweet above was the result. My brain came up with the idea of marshmallows and chocolate bars having a rumble in the street. Random, I know! From this the lame and grisly thought above got expressed. Too bad Twitter doesn’t have a retroactive time warp function.

Then I checked my “recent drafts” on WordPress to see if there was anything worthy of being finished. Weird, but none of the 267 candidates there showed promise.

So, here’s a totally random post about music.

Back when I worked in the Big City, a group of guys would get off work and head over to Bennigan’s for $1 draft beers and munchies. Yes, this is also the site of the famous Night to Dismember. But that’s another story.

One day I went to the jukebox. It played CDs. Not records. And it had the option to play an entire CD from start to finish. So, when no one was looking, I selected Clint Black. An album called Put Yourself in My Shoes. And I played the whole damn thing. It cost money but it was worth it. Back at the bar everyone was bitching. Who the hell was the asshole? I lamented along with the rest of them, playing along, but inside I was laughing my ass off. For some reason a bar full of young posers becomes really upset about country music.

I like music. I like it a lot. And I have varied and eclectic tastes. My collection ranges from death goth metal to bluegrass. Gilbert and Sullivan show tunes to gospel. Rap, soft hits, Air Supply, Alan Parsons, The Beatles, Elvis, folk, etc. Some genres (like rap and gospel) I am very, very picky but some still find there way into my collection.

Like Ricky Skaggs. I’m a superfan. It seemed like there would also be at least one hardcore religious song per album. I didn’t care. I’d sing along with those songs just as much as the rest of them. “Sinners don’t wait before it’s too late / He’s a wonderful Saviour you know / Well I fell on my knees when I answered my pleas / Hallelujah, I’m ready to go.” Singing songs like that can also be useful for freaking out your friends.

Sometimes you come across albums where you lik every single song. Even the ones that never went on to become hits or even get played on the radio. I often wonder how these things got decided when there were better songs on the album than the ones that got released as singles. Back when I was a kid, we bought albums, not individual songs. If you only go for the promoted singles you’ll be missing out on a lot. Anyway, if every song rocks, then I call it a “Super Album.”

So what is a “Forever Album?” I personally have known two.

Remember CD players? This was back before the law that requires all music to be played by computers or devices. Back then CD players did the job. And they had a little button called “repeat” that would put the album on a continuous loop. It would play songs 1 through 10 in order, then without pause go back to the beginning and play them again.

It could do this for hours. It could do it all day. Walking six feet to put in another album simply took too much effort. This is how “Forever Albums” came to be.

Just like songs can provoke a specific memory, a notable association that was formed (I can think of lots of these) an entire album can do the same thing. If you’ve played it enough. And I’m talking like 24 hours a day for something like three whole months.

For me there are two.

That’s Why I’m Here” by James Taylor. This was a CD that was laying around my room. I was younger, single, and rented a house with two roommates. I had recently bought a modem and signed up for something called CompuServe. One night after work I popped in the CD, put it on continuous play, and logged into something called a chat room. As the wonders of the universe opened wide for my gaze, the CD played on. Over and over again, hour after hour.

This album is notable for including a love song about a pig! That, of course, dovetailed fairly nicely with my chat room activities.

When the experience finally ended about a month later, I had a $300 charge from CompuServe (they charged by the hour) and my first Forever Album. Good times! I still can’t hear that album without my brain linking the association. I may be the one person on the planet who will never forget CompuServe.

The second Forever Album isn’t as exciting. “The Sickness” by Disturbed. That was back in my World of Warcraft days. My sister had played the game for year and a William Shatner television commercial and a free trial had finally sucked me in. At my sister’s urging, I made a “Horde” character. It was an undead creature that lived in a place called The Undercity. As I sat in front of my computer with the lights dimmed, this skeleton with rotting flesh ran in time with the music. It was dark and creepy and this album by Disturbed with lyrics like “Bring the Violence!” was the perfect soundtrack. When I hear this album I can close my eyes and imagine myself running through the darkness and the slime.

I’m not saying these are the best albums of all time. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both quite good. But that it was probably unwise to use the CD players laser to permanently etch them into the linings of my brain.

So, the big question. Do you have any Forever Albums of your own?? And, of course, at this point you’re probably begging, “Please go back to politics, you pointless slug!”

4 responses

  1. My most recent (3 years ago it began) is Say Anything by Say Anything. It got me through some times, man. I still listen to it quite often. Actually I have it set up for forever repeat while I take showers currently.


    1. Thanks for the comment. I gave them a listen. Wow. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of them before.


  2. Discovering Alana Miles just after buying my first Mustang and Diana Krall after meeting the Mister.

    Two artists I can have playing in my all day long. 🙂


  3. Nice music. I’m adding them to my playlist.


Bringeth forth thy pith and vinegar

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: