February Music Challenge

Alright, let’s go!

Week 5 – Tuesday 29th Jan – Monday 4th FEB-

50cent- Get Rich Or Die Tryin

I am sure associating music with a certain period of your life is increasingly becoming a common experience. My father’s generation was convinced it was only going to happen to them (<s> cause they had all the good music, right? </s>). But that machine never turned off, despite the fact that I was largely unaware of its operation. If you had asked me if 50cents’ Get Rich or Die Tryin’ was an influential album of my life representing a pretty distinct period, I would have confidently told you no.

And I would have been dead fucking wrong.

This album well and truly brought me back to the early 00s. Never had an album really make me feel like doing drugs and fail out of another college. If this album were a sentiment, it would be watching my loser-ass friends try to come out of there post-high school awkwardness and finally going to night clubs. In fact, at some point while listening I actually vomited up something that tasted distinctly of SoCo and Lime, or dating extremely troubled people who were extremely out of their league looks wise.

I didn’t actually know all the songs on this album, which likely means I never gave it all that fair a shake when I was younger. I ended up enjoying most of the songs on here, albeit not equally. ’21 questions’ made me cringe in a pretty big way. But I did actually feel that 50 had a pretty great singing voice.

I can’t wait to be nostalgic for this in an old person’s home. It’ll come on the radio one day while the PhD in Anthropology working as a nurse in my home will be changing my catheter when I will calmly tell them that “I’m the mother-fucking P.I.M.P.”

 

Week 6 – Tuesday 5th Feb – Monday 11th FEB-

Pearl Jam – Ten

Now that this music challenge isn’t one massive year-long post I can recount an anecdote about Pearl Jam. The anecdote does not explain my distaste for Pearl Jam.

One year on my birthday I was working a really shitty job (I was a manager at a restaurant) and I had no real social life to speak of. So on the night of my birthday after I got off work (around midnight) I stopped off at some random bar and started chatting with these two random dudes. Somehow music came up, and they mentioned Pearl Jam. I mentioned that I hated Pearl Jam. When asked why, I brought up the reason – Eddie Veddar, the lead singer, every now and again goes into a nonsensical ramble like a Pentecostal preacher touched by the spirit of the lord, and I don’t need that shit in my life.

But the two guys started giving me shit. What kind of hipster was I if I didn’t like Pearl Jam? I proceed to list every fucking band in the 90’s that wasn’t Pearl Jam – from Offspring to Snopp Dogg. Somehow not liking this one band still made me a hipster.

I don’t know where my dislike for them came from. But in spite of that dislike, I gave this album another listen to. It’s probably been about 25 years since I last listened to it. Surely, since then some of my opinions have changed right?

Maybe not.

Growing up the only song I really liked off this album was Even Flow. And while I still like that song now, I am more than ever convinced that I would like it more if someone gave Eddie some fucking elocution lessons. When he sings, he reminds me of the Weird Al parody of Nirvana where he sings “It’s hard to bargle nawdle zouss /
With all these marbles in my mouth”. To make things worse, when I do understand what he says, I think he is full of shit. There is no fucking sense to the story of ‘Alive’ per the lyrics of the song. Shit is pure nonsense.

eddievedder
Image borrowed from this very scientific article from LA weekly.

If you know me well enough to know how much I like the song Prisencolinensinainciusol (bask in the horror that is 1970’s Italian fashion!), you may think I am being a hypocrite. You’d be wrong. That song is intentionally nonsense, and a rather interesting look at what English sounds like to a non-English Speaker.

Also: Everyone named Jeremy hates you, Eddie.

Alright, Pearl Jam anecdote #2, then I promise I will shut up. I first heard Pearl Jam because my older brother was in to them, and like an doting younger brother, monkey see monkey imitate. We for some reason told our father about this band, and he had a problem with the band’s name. My brother explained to him how the band’s name came from the lead singer’s grandmother, Pearl, who would make jam.

My father gave us the most disappointed look imaginable, and made it very clear that we were not getting the joke.

Let’s just say that at some point in my mid twenties I encountered the term Pearl Jam in a pornographic novel. I was very confused for a good five minutes, then I felt really, really stupid.

You were right dad. I owe you a fucking apology.

 

Week 7 – Tuesday 12th Feb – Monday 18th FEB-

Seal: Seal

If ever there was a case of mistaken referent when it came to music, here it is.

Seal, for me was the ‘Kiss from a Rose’ guy. Y’know, he did that one Batman song. And that was pretty much my exact thought when I was collecting album recommendations to listen to. “Oh, you mean that guy who wrote that one batman song. I know him.”

But then I gave this album a whirl, and I found that that song is largely unrepresentative of what the guy was doing, at least not with his first album. There is very much something else going on here, and that other thing is very early 90’s. I really had no idea that I was getting myself into something that was much more akin to the sort of synth heavy stuff of that period.

How was it? Meh. I thought it was acceptable. Would I listen to it again? I am not so sure.

 

Week 8 – Tuesday 12th Feb – Monday 25th FEB-

Portishead – Dummy

Another album I am very happy I finally got around to listening to. There were a lot of moments of half-recognition here. These were moments where I felt a feeling of almost déjà vu before realizing that I didn’t actually no the song that was being played, but I knew of some other song that had sampled it heavily.

The album itself is pretty cool, but started to feel a little same-y after a few listens. I am not sure I can distinguish one song from the other. I think some part of me wants every album even vaguely in this genre to be Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, and when nothing ever is I feel disappointed.

But I definitely have an idea of what a Portishead song sound like, and that is really the goal here.

 

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