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June 19th, 2008

15 Years Ago... Sometime Around Today

I don't remember the exact day, but it was sometime around this date 15 years that my adulthood musical obsession erupted into full bloom:



The original cover, which hasn't been seen in stores for nearly 10 years.

According to Wikipedia, Gordon was actually released on July 28, 1992, but I didn't actually purchase the album until the early summer of 1993. I got my first taste of BNL in the fall of 1992 when I heard "Brian Wilson" on a Reprise music sampler that came with an issue of Spin magazine. It was during my first year as a student at Rutgers (I had just transferred over from Drexel University) and although I incessantly listened to that track during the school year, I never really sought out the album.

When the summer of 1993 rolled around, my brother's girlfriend at the time -- I believe her name was Jackie -- convinced me that I needed to buy the album. She insisted that if I loved "Brian Wilson" then I would love the rest of the album. So, on a day off from work, I went to the record shop on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk and bought the only copy they had in the store. She was right. However, Jackie and my brother broke up a few months later, so she never found out what a pivotal role she played in my becoming a giant fanboy-geek for the band. Anyway, I was hooked, and remain so to this very day.

I can say with absolute certainty that I've listened to "Brian Wilson" more than any other song in my lifetime, and to this day I never tire of hearing it. There are plenty of other songs off of Gordon that continue to move me in one fashion or another despite repeated listenings over the past 15 years -- "What a Good Boy," "Crazy," "Blame It on Me," and "Hello City" all immediately come to mind. Beyond those specific songs, I continue to love the way Gordon veers from goofy to earnest to poignant -- sometimes within the span of just one song. No matter what my mood, it seems like there's a song on the album that matches it.

I have written on more than one occasion that Barenaked Ladies has composed a significant portion to the soundtrack of my adult life. This is where is started; during the summer after I turned 21, a time that (looking back) I think of myself as still not fully mature in many ways. It amazes me how much my life and their music are intertwined. Now, that connection between the two is, in a manner of speaking, coming full circle: for the past couple months, Tank has continually requested listening to BNL's Snacktime when he's in the car with me. The soundtrack of my adulthood is intermingling with and becoming a part of what will become the soundtrack of his youth.

It's an amazing thing.

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