This was the name of, I believe, the first album I had ever bought. I had a weird relationship to music growing up which shows itself in far more places than just my playlist. I remember being a young child and listening, secretly and in the bathroom, to a Cypress Hill album on my brother’s Sony cassette player. I think I always felt nervous about encountering music for the first time…and I’ve realized why. The images that I equated rap music with was a video that was thrown on a party island. The man were tough and tattooed while the women were curvy and scantly dressed. It was a lot for me and I also lived in a household where the drug use prevalent on the television screen was a real part of our day to day lives. So, at a very early age, I couldn’t grow a relationship with the rap or hip-hop music that my siblings listened to. It felt like it was music that wasn’t indicative of the state of mind that I held as a child. Perhaps that is what innocence is. Whatever it was, it is now lost. Not because of any hip-hop album but rather because I am alive and have lived in this world. That’s enough of a reason for anyone to lose their innocence.
With that context paved, I lead you to the year 2005 or 2006. I was vacationing with a friend from high school and we’d spend time at a beach retreat in plum island to play a music video game ‘Frequency’. The goal was to rhythmically tap out the appropriate pattern using a game controller. Hand eye coordination and dexterity are key. My favorite song was a Weezer song ‘Dope Nose’. I think this was the song that changed everything. It was a rough, subversive Geek Rock banger with distorted power cords and a rad 16ish bar solo. I was hooked for some reason. Later on in that trip I happened to go down to the record store and purchase their newest album ‘Make Believe’. Now, if you hadn’t heard Weezer before, you’d know that ‘Make Believe’ contains the hit single ‘Beverly Hills’ which correlated with the point in time when people claimed that Weezer sold out. At the time I didn’t know any better. If you asked me a year or two after having purchased that album what I thought of Make Believe I would have said that the Blue or Pinkerton albums are better. If you would ask me now what I think of ‘Make Believe’ I would comment on Weezer ‘s adaptability as a band, River’s songwriting process and what that means for Weezer and how I saw them live one year play the ‘Blue’ album in it’s entirety. Only in Dreams is probably my favorite song ever and that build up, being their live for it, was everything I’ve ever hoped for. It was a wild experience that I am forever grateful for.
I can’t even recall where that album is right now (I might have an idea..hmm) but I remember how it sparked in me a mania in which I would go through the, at the time, dark web and download entire albums of music through torrenting. It was a lively experience at the time. I downloaded a lot and exposed myself to so much music. Shortly after that experience I happened to be in possession of $150. The reason why was very serendipitous and a life changing experience, one that I’ll talk about at another time, but it was the first time in my life where I had the autonomy to make a purchase over $20 or so. It was empowering and the possibility felt endless. I ended up buying an off-white squire Stratocaster. I was as happy as anyone could be. This was right around the time when the blues became an obsession and so I just started learning and teaching myself guitar, at times to the dismay of my neighbors. I was so happy.
That kind of began my lifelong obsession with music, songwriting and the visceral experience of connecting to an instrument. I hope to continue on and develop this skill alongside my other curiosities.