Monday, August 13, 2007

Beware, all those angels with their wings glued on

It's likely, they were the first band I heard that made me realise that beauty exists (and indeed thrives) within the midst of pure chaos. I see it as a life lesson. The first few times I heard Cherub Rock, I only heard the crashing drums and ear splitting guitar. There was no melody, rhythm or tune for me - it was just chaotic, messy and far too loud. I scoffed at people who liked it. I can't remember what made me go back and give it another go but I do remember when the song changed from messy to melodic: Mid 90s - bedroom - too lazy to change out of my school uniform - headphones - volume pushed up to 11. It's as though at that moment the sky opened up, all the distortion in the piece ceased to exist and I heard only the elegance and delicacy of the tune. I couldn't believe it had taken me that long to hear it - it was right there, under all the noise. I felt so dumb. Try as I might I can't go back and hear that messy sound anymore - it doesn't exist to me. It's like another musical door opened that day and I went through it and never looked back. Is this what happens when people find "the one" in life and love?

Ahhh Smashing Pumpkins; I soon fell in love with the mix of heavy guitar with breathtaking melody. As for the lyrics, well Billy Corgan might be a bit of a git but he knows how to rearrange words until they fit exactly right. To me, lyrics are incredibly important to a song - whether it's political or poetic I don't care, but if the music makes me feel in my heart AND mind then I know it's especially good. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a good instrumental - I was reared on classical music after all, I played it for a long time. But we're in a whole different section of music store here. Billy is especially good - not close to Nick Cave - but very good. I respect the writer in him that knows how to twist a tale through lyrics.

Around this time, Artist Cousin and I were fast becoming obsessed with buying music magazines that cost an arm and a leg. We bought and shared them to cut down on costs. She was the big Smashing Pumpkins fan - far bigger than I. The difference was that she was in love with Billy and I wasn't. I just loved the music. This is especially interesting since given the chance I'm one to romanticise any leading man to superstar status. Not this one though. My eyes bypassed Billy Pumpkin and went straight to Iha and D'arcy.

I was in year 12 and my father was about a year in the ground when Mellon Collie.. came out. Like all albums I listened to around that time it has become immortalised to 'music which changed my life'. I put it down to this: music is more defining and important when you're fighting against every urge to jump off the nearest tall building. Hence in order to really cement my inner feelings bout the whole thing I bought one of those "zero" t-shirts and wore it until it literally had holes all the way through it. What did I do after that happened? Well I just patched up the holes and kept wearing it of course. It's funny though, despite the whole zero shirt fiasco - I probably haven't listened to Mellon Collie in about 9 years. Siamese Dream is always close by and close to my heart though. I pick that one over the others. As it goes, I've ignored the post-head shave, neo-gothic, bad tempered, line-up changing, pleather sporting Pumpkins of now anyway. I don't want to know them. I'm not even remotely interested. Funny how we hold fast to that which we see as important - refusing to admit that the way of the world is that things inevitably ...change.

I saw them in concert just before the big overhaul. They were amazing. So let's leave it there - right there - zero t-shirt wearing young girl in a mini and tights with pink laces, swallowed up by the crowd and drowning in wave after rolling wave of exquisite loveliness.

Obscured - Smashing Pumpkins

Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins

(thanks chai for the player info!)

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