It’s Wednesday and I’m at home battling the second cold of 2011 and I’m bored, which probably means I’m getting better. To have something to do I picked out some albums that are or have been very special to me. Following is a blog that might be long and uninteresting about the music that I like and/or have liked the last 28 years (ish). I have written the album and/or band names in fat print so you can skip the parts you assume will be the most boring.
Let’s see – what’s in this picture then. Starting at the far left we have an example of my earlier obsession with musicals. It peaked somewhere in the mid-90s. I still like Jesus Christ Superstar tho’, but it has to be this original recording. I’ve heard the movie soundtrack and I absolutely hate it (same feelings about “Hair” actually), and will probably never see the movie. I love the bass in this recording. Listened to this one mostly around 1994-95 I think, with a small revival around the year 2000.
Behind is the Smiths first album. The first time I heard the Smiths was probably in February 2001. Anders sent me the song “William it was really nothing” and I laughed out loud at the end of it. I had never heard vocals quite like that. I guess my favourite Smiths song is “Paint a vulgar picture” – this is also the only guitar solo I have been able to play/had the patience to learn.
Next LP is the soundtrack to the Christmas calendar “Jul i Skomakergata” (Christmas in shoemaker street), first aired in 1979, but with frequent reruns in the 80s. For my generation this is the tv-series that spells Christmas most clearly, but I have a suspicion that the memories of this are better than the actual show. The soundtrack is absolutely great however.
In front of Skomakergata is a recording of Verdi’s Il Trovatore. This was the first opera I saw, back in 1992. I was in the hospital at the time and my mum visited me and told me about the opera premiere that she and my dad had been at (there are a big opera festival each year in my hometown Kristiansund). She told me the story in such a way that I really, really wanted to go see it. For those of you who know the story of this opera you are aware of the fact that it’s absolutely horrible, with swapped kids thrown into fires and whatnot, but apparently this works for 9 year olds. I loved it. Later the same year my mum went to London with her mum and bought me the VHS of Il Trovatore from Metropolitan.
Next is J.S. Bach – the passion according to St. John. Bach is my favourite composer, and this is probably the classical piece I like best. Totally obsessed with this one in 1999. This is the Gardiner recording, should have listened to the Koopman one again.
Behind is Håkan Hellström – Känn ingen sorg för mig Göteborg. Ah, early spring 2001. Great gig at the Quart festival that same summer. A bit of a slap in the face when clearly douchebag-ish characters were singing along “vi är förlorare vi två” at later gigs…
In front of Håkan is the Velvet Underground and Nico album. Hm, when did I start listening to them? Was it 99 or 2000? I’m getting old and the memories are fading, but what a discovery this was. Really fun when I found out that my favourite author (at the time) Jim Carroll was holding the microphone at the Max’s Kansas City live recording.
In front of Velvet is a recording of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. My childhood consists largely of dancing. It was the thing I was really good at. When we did the Sleeping Beauty in 1995 I was one of the rats companions of Carabosse (the evil fairy). I still cross my fingers for the evil fairy when watching this one. She will win one day!
Scott Walker sings Jacques Brel is the next one. I love Jacques Brel, but included this recording because of the orchestrations. Nice!
At the back is the Beatles – Revolver. Taken from my mum’s Beatles box set. It’s been a while since I’ve listened to the Beatles now. 1996, 1998 and 2000 was the Beatles years I think, and the Revolver album has been the favourite since 1998, when I was reading desperately for my first ever oral exam (in science) and listening through all the Beatles LPs. “I’m only sleeping” was (and probably still is) my favourite from this album.
In front of the Beatles we can se Radiohead – OK computer hiding. Being 15 and riding the bus to school. More important than I’d like to admit.
In front Vapnet – Jag vet hur man väntar and Döda fallet. Having too much time to think, and walking Fjellveien back and forth. 2008 and 2009. They played “Aldrig där” at a concert in Bergen early in 2009 I think, when I was working very little and was really unhappy. Special moment.
Then there’s My Darling You! – 16 major problems. One of the really important bands from 2006 and to the present date. This album is a collection of the 3 first EPs, but their later stuff is well worth a listening. I think I listened to them a bit too much for a while, so I waited really long before I ordered “A.K. Art” and “Saying things you don’t want to hear”.
Next is Morrissey – Bona Drag. This album reminds me of having my tonsils taken out. But in a good way. For a while I liked Morrissey solo better than the Smiths. Around 2004-05. Now I’m not so sure.
Next to Morrissey is the Norwegian 60’s band 126 – One Two Six. Reminds me of walking Freiveien in April 2001 and picking hestehov. Roger Saksenvik is a relly fun drummer – check out “The rowboat captain” and “Little you”.
Above 126 is the Jim Carroll Band – a world without gravity. I discovered Jim Carroll through the very shitty movie “The Basketball Diaries” featuring Leonardo diCaprio (the reason why I was watching the movie, yes). Do not spend your time watching this film, but read the book, and also the other diary by Carroll “The Forced Entries”. Based on the music I should probably not like this band, but I do I do I do I do I do. Carroll is responsible for my introduction to Patti Smith, to the Beat poets, for the wish to read poetry at all, and for the (now fading) love of NYC. Jim Carroll sadly died in September 2009, so I never got to go to one of his readings.
Next to Jim is ABBA – voulez-vous. But this could have been some other album by ABBA as well (Arrival or The Visitors maybe?). I discovered that ABBA wasn’t as bad as I thought in 2006 I think, or was it late 2005? Best songs on v-v: “Angeleyes” and “Kisses of fire”.
Then there is Säkert!. This album is 2007 for me. Anders included some songs on a mixtape he made, and I was sold. “Och jag grät mig till sömns efter alla dar” could have been written about me, I thought.
Then there are a pile of Manic Street Preachers albums. Generation Terrorists, Gold against the soul, the Holy Bible and Everything must go. There’s also a single/EP: the hevenly version of You Love Us. I listened a lot to EMG the summer of 1999, but did not become a die hard manics fan until early 2001 (April?). I remember the first time I listened to THB. In bed, in my room in Laksvågen in Kristiansund. I had borrowed it from Anders, who didn’t really think I’d like it. It is still, 10 years later, my favourite album of all times. People doesn’t seem to get the Manics. Is this because of the combat pants era of 1998 (This is my truth…)? I love the pretentiousness of GT – look at all those quotes in the cover. This is a band that preaches that knowledge is cool - books, philosophy, feminism, history, politics – you’re struggling to find out what they are singing about, and learning stuff as you go along. They are probably at least in part responsible for my stupid and so far worthless education (thanks!). I’ve seen them 3 times live. First time at the Quart festival 2001, later in October 2002 and last in May 2010 – this last one was the best I think. Their later stuff is actually great too: “Journal for Plague Lovers” and “Postcards from a Young Man”. And people should stop talking shit about GATS, GATS is great, ok?
In front of THB is Jokke & Valentinerne med Tourettes – Prisen for popen. A collection of Jokke-songs on 2 CDs. I did a cover of “Ingen har skylda” some years ago. This is my favourite band with lyrics in Norwegian. Check out “Verdiløse menn”, “Ta meg med”, “Her kommer vintern” (this one was a bit destroyed by NRKs constant use of the song in commercials for winter sport…).
In front of Jokke is the Murder City Devils – In Name and Blood. This is one of the bands I’ve listened a lot to lately. Discovered them the summer of 2003 when Aleksander Schau was leading the radio program Hal9000 during Harald Are Lunds vacation. Then they were rediscovered in 2009 through the Schau brothers radio program Kvegpels on Radio Nova. I would like to play organ like this! They’ve also got some great covers: “I can’t seem to make you mine” and also the Kinks song “Alcohol”.
Behind THB and GT are 2 albums by Broder Daniel. Broder Daniel Forever and Cruel Town. Forever is probably still nr.2 on my all time favourite album list. Poplars is probably my favourite drummer also. I think I discovered BD right after Håkan, the spring of 2001. Listened to them a lot right after my canary died, I remember (don’t laugh!). One of the bands that I really, really wished I had a chance to see… and now it’s too late. Probably hard to see, but Cruel Town is actually signed. Yep, ordered a signed copy from their web site when the album finally was released (and why? Never been interested in autographs really). Paying the bill for this cost more than the actual bill.
Next is a small collection of Belle and Sebastian albums. The 3 first ones: Tigermilk, If you’re feeling sinister, The boy with the arab strap and the Dog on Wheels EP. B&S is the summer of 1999. “The fox in the snow” reminds me of one of my life’s most sore failures. This band stayed very important to me for a long time, but I’ve lately fallen off the wagon a bit. Have listened far too little on their later stuff. I admire the way they hide unhappy, angry and disturbing lyrics behind rather sweet songs.
Behind is Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the edge of town. This could also have been “Born to run” or “the River”. When I was little Springsteen was, in my eyes, the music that my friends dads liked. The neighbour’s fat cat was called Bruce Springsteen. So, I assumed the music was highly irrelevant for me. Turned out I was wrong (again!).
Underneath EMG is Suede – Dog man star. Didn’t like Suede for many years, mostly because of Brett Anderson’s voice. What made me change my mind? Don’t remember really, maybe Anders’ Suede dvd? I remember that I really liked the video for New Generation. One day I would like to have 2 microphones taped together like that.
Behind Dog on Wheels is an LP with J. S. Bach – Orgelwerke. This one used to belong to my mum, and features the c-minor passacaglia. Of all his non-vocal works probably my favourite (yes, I am aware that this is not very cutting edge). Did hear it live once in Nordlandet Kirke, when a slightly aggressive guest organist was playing a gig where about 7 people had bothered to show up. Not that big fan of the accompanying fugue.
Next to Bach is Ramones – Road to Ruin. It’s hard for me to pick a Ramones album, as I am more a fan of particular songs than whole albums. Love the cover tho’.
Above Bach is Vivaldi – Concerti Grossi. I’ve played the one in d-minor in a chamber orchestra when I was 12, but the one I used to like the most on this recording is the one in e-minor – I think! All 3 record players in the house are broken, so I can’t check right now. This was back in 1995 I assume.
Next one in line is Patti Smith – Easter. I was at Apollon (a music store in Bergen) to buy one of her records, but hadn’t quite decided which one. Picked this one largely because of the cover, and wasn’t disappointed by my choice. I saw her when she played in Bergen in 2008, a truly great gig, although I had a bit of a fever, and so became even more emotional during the gig.
Hiding behind Ramones, and almost not included in the picture is an oldie but a goodie Up With People’s Rhythm of the World. Bought this one when they visited my home town early in 1992. I thought it was great! Mind you, I was 9 years old. I also had this on cassette, so we could listen to it in the car. Rediscovered it some years ago when I was moving some LPs to Bergen. Ah, the memories!
So, what did I forget to include in the picture? Rough Bunnies, Muse, the Slaves and Lou Reed comes to mind. And probably lots more. Who-ha, probably the longest blog I'll ever write. Did you read it all? I salute you!