Monday, 25 May 2009

Shady Memory Lanes: Introduction

I was lying in bed just last night and my mind turned CD collection that sits unsorted in the corner of my room. I’ve managed to acquire quite a few albums over the years, some I rarely listen to anymore for various reasons. Mainly, due to the fact that I’ve moved on - possibly to better things, possibly not – it depends on circumstances I suppose.

So, I guess that in many ways, old records are like ex-girlfriends, you feel affection for some time but just after a while things just don’t work out, you split and both of you move on. In the case of my record collection, they get sent to the cupboard to gather dust and on rare occasions, thrown out altogether (that’s what must have happened to my Roxette ‘Tourism’ album I bought back in 1992 – damn, that was short sighted).

Generally speaking, unlike ex-girlfriends, if a whim grabs you, you’re free to reacquaint yourself with the dearly departed. All you have to do is grab the disc/cassette/record from its container, pop it in the appropriate media, have a play, then retire it once again from whence it came.

So I was in bed, thinking many random thoughts (mostly concerned with Michel Foucault’s ‘genealogy’, which I had been reading all day, a nexus from which I guess where these thoughts sprung from). I got on to the idea that it would be fun and interesting to do a personal feature on the albums meant most to me during certain periods of my life and possibly reflect on why that isn’t the case anymore. My starting point was how to divide my life into periods of music appreciation. Turns out it is easier than I thought. I define three broad periods.

I can see the first ‘era’ as the time from when I first got a CD player until the time I left high school (Circa 1992 - 1998). The second ‘era’ comprised of my undergraduate university days (1998-2003), and the third from then until now (2003 – 2009). I listed down ten albums that I can remember being intimately involved with during these periods – the present being a lot easier to remember than the past obviously, and I can definitely see some trends emerging.

However, a disclaimer is probably appropriate. This is a personal project that I’ve decided to share and keep in mind that what I liked back then may differ a lot to what I like right now. I’m not trying to say I’m ashamed of what I liked back then or anything like that, simply that it would be unfair to judge me now by the fact that I bought a copy of Roxette’s greatest hits back in 1992. And for those who think this denies me indie credibility (fuck you anyway!), it’s also a fact that I bought Frente’s debut album at the very same time. So ngha!

Also, keep in mind that I’m focusing on complete albums that I liked and not listing them in any strict hierarchical order, just picking the ten records that I can remember enjoying the most in full from these times. I have to admit that while choosing some of them, I found my memory of these times, and the music, to be fading faster than a flower (third Roxette reference in this introduction). I admit that it took me some time to compile the lists.

So jump in while I take a drive down memory lane over the next few days. We’ll be travelling the highway from the early 90s until now and stopping at rest stops like grunge, to thrash metal, hip hop, to indie pop and alternative country. It’s going to be wild. Part One will begin tomorrow.

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