Yes, I’ve somewhat disappeared here. You would too when your down time involves dealing with this or maybe with this. Hopefully more posts soon. But today, the birthday of one of the best albums ever.
Every year I make and write about “Best of” year end lists, both for songs and albums. It’s a silly activity partially driven by blatant pandering, but mostly done because I think it’s fun to reflect on another year of artistic exploration by musicians I’ve encountered. The lists also serve as a kind of personal reflection point. Music (that mystical, ethereal thing considered as a whole) is a powerful memory trigger for me. Within a single year, I can place where I was when I first heard the sounds. Listening to The National’s High Violet takes me to Ithaca, New York where I spent the summer in 2010. That record’s disillusioned lyrics were both disheartening and encouraging to me.
But it goes beyond a single twelve month span. When I hear Linkin Park (I know, shut up) I can close my eyes and see a grey couch, a GameCube controller, my sister and split-screen Sonic Adventure on the television. R.E.M.’s Out of Time takes me on car rides in Upstate NY, sitting in the back of a silver Chevy Tahoe, on the way to some state park and camping with my family. And every year, I like to reflect on where on of my favorite recorded works has been with me: Doolittle.
Doolittle is an amazing record. I think that’s something nearly anybody with interest in rock music can agree on. Its influence is enormous, its tunes timeless even 24 years removed from first release (and some time more from the original recording). But my annual rumination on Pixies’ finest work (beyond being a present to myself) is a great time to reflect on life, the world.
I’m not wont to shifting toward the purely personal here (I’m not overly comfortable doing journal-type thoughts on this blog) but a brief hint at life will suffice: I consider myself an exceptionally lucky person to be where I am right now, and I sincerely appreciate all the fun things I get to do and extraordinary people I get to meet.
On this birthday of Doolittle, I encourage you to put your feet up, pour a nice beverage, maybe watch that Kings-Jackets game tonight (and cheer for the away team!), and crank up that Pixies record. Just let go when the drums fly in on “Debaser.” Bask in the barked exclamations on “Crackity Jones.” Get washed by the western-soaked “Silver” and the ferocious closer “Gouge Away.” There is no skippable track, there is no weak link.
Today will be a fun day, a celebration of a fantastic record. I hope you’ll go pick up your copy of Doolittle and give it a spin (or maybe just give it a click on Spotify). I love thinking about new music, but on a day like this it’s worth considering a genuine high point for rock.