Last week I was missing Chandler something fierce. I had picked up my phone several times throughout my day to send him a random meme I found about the show Cops, only to stop myself because I knew he wouldn’t respond. Honestly though, maybe I should send the text. I read an article a few months ago about a programmer who created a bot of her friend who had passed away. She used analytics to mimic their entire text conversations and capture the “tone” of her friend, which would determine the responses needed. She built a virtual monument of her friend for when she missed him. I found the entire thing fascinating and sad. I was also jealous.
After a few minutes of sitting at my desk and reading through a solid year of text messages with Chandler, I decided to log onto YouTube and listen to his playlists. I was more than halfway through one them, when a vaguely familiar song came on. I tried not to peek at the artist, as I wanted my damn brain to remember where I’d heard it.
Failing at my own memory game, I clicked on the tab and I noticed the album cover first: a chewed up dog toy.
Or rather, what I always thought looked like a chewed up dog toy.
Here, see for yourself:
He has this album? This one? How the hell did he even find this? Did I tell him about it?
When I was in high school, I used to write album reviews for a local Nashville ‘zine.
This was some serious shit for me. Writing music reviews for a pseudo-underground newspaper at fourteen? SOLD.
And this album right here is the first one I reviewed.
As soon as I saw the album cover, I closed my eyes, thinking back to the phone call I got from that newspaper. I honestly cannot recall how I even chanced upon this gig, but it’s safe to assume I was at Cafe Coco with my friends one weekend when I saw it. The guy I talked to was excited to have a “young person” write reviews on upcoming bands. Now, this makes me laugh. If I was fourteen, how old were the owners? I remember how my heart was racing during that conversation and I thought, “This is it! I’m going to make it as an indie writer and eventually work for Rolling Stone! (just so you know, I only did three more album reviews before the magazine went under and with it went my dreams of crushing the souls of shitty bands with my wicked reviews)!
The magazine sent this CD to me in the mail and in return, I would write a 500 word (or less) essay on what I thought. They would pay me $10 and I could keep the music. Believe it or not, this album is really good. It had serious potential at the time. However, it was also released at the peak of grunge. Well, maybe not the peak peak, but at least the running start. This album was released in late 1993. Nirvana had been around and was at an obnoxious level of fame. Alice in Chains had released Dirt, but not Jar of Flies and Tag Team was winning the scene with Whoomp!(There it s). Personally, I was in my industrial metal phase (Skinny Puppy, Ministry, KMFDM to name a few), so this album wasn’t something I kept on rotation in my collection.
And last Friday, there it was.
I instantly looked up the band on YouTube and played the entire album. I logged onto Facebook and discovered they had a few fan pages, but nothing too current. I even thought about writing them to let them know that somewhere in the Metro Nashville area, there is probably a warehouse with leftover newspapers with my review in it. You know what else is crazy? I wrote that review ON A TYPEWRITER. IN MY BEDROOM. I was so hipster before it was even thought of.
In case you don’t feel like looking them up for yourself, you can have a listen HERE. You should take the time to close your eyes and remember the nineties though.
Life was simple then.
Only a few of us had pagers.
Even fewer of us had the internet.
Well, maybe it wasn’t that simple.
I was a freshman in high school with braces and limited social skills.
Which is probably how I wound up writing shitty music reviews for an underground newspaper in the first place.