21 September 2006

8+

“The Asphalt World" by Suede* which clocks in at 9:25

I'll never forget the first time I realized the ability of olfaction to elicit memories. I was eight years old and upstairs in my room. My mother was downstairs in the kitchen making cookies but I wasn't aware of this right away. I was just chillin' and playing with some Transformers and Legos until the sweet smell of cookies in the oven wafted upstairs, grabbed me by my nose and carried me halfway down the hall. Then I paused. Something clicked. A feeling. A memory of this same smell from (perhaps) years before. Instantly I was transported to the past. I remembered exactly when and where I had smelled this very same odor and couldn't believe how strongly it was tied to this memory. And yet the memory wasn't a very specific one. No, it was mostly just a sense of who and where I was when I last smelled the sweet smell of fresh cookies. Even as an eight year old boy things like this fascinated me.

Certain songs have the same ability to conjure the past. Most often it'll be a song you used to love but haven't heard in quite some time. Perhaps you left the song because it reminded you of pain, perhaps because a new and better song came along to take its place, or maybe just because you started to find yourself not needing the song so much anymore. Whatever the reason, whatever memories the song unearths, it's an all too familiar feeling. The past rushes back as you suddenly realize that there's this one moment from your life forever frozen in tandem with this particular song that you'd nearly forgotten about. This song that brings on a kind of auditory deja vu, but you most certainly remember the moment. And the song. It had just been a while since you last listened to it. For me, “The Asphalt World" is a perfect example of such a song.

I gave up listening to Suede when I broke up with my 'high school sweetheart' about a month or so into my second year of college. At the time Suede was my favorite current band and had become my soundtrack to our relationship. In college we attended different schools that were 30 miles or so apart and it seemed that every time I was driving to see her I was listening to Suede or Dog Man Star. As well, the two of us drove down to Atlanta from Raleigh to see them play The Masquerade and also were fortunate enough to attend Suede's concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Strictly speaking for myself, Suede was our band. I never actually realized this at the time but did years later when I first started listening to songs from their first album again. Without my knowing the songs Suede released from 1993-1996, and most importantly the songs from Dog Man Star, just kind of sat there frozen in time.

When I revisited Dog Man Star for the Overlooked Albums from the 90's post I was amazed to realize that, of all of the songs, this particular song brought back the most vivid memory. It reminded me of coming back to my dorm room one night to many messages from the same person. Reminded me of getting into a fight on the phone and then driving to Chapel Hill late at night to continue the fight in person. Reminded me of laying in bed together after the fight talking about how we weren't going to fight anymore. Most notedly, when I re-listened to “The Asphalt World" it just reminded me of this one very particular moment of my life when I was free to transform Brett Anderson's tragic romanticization of the streets and drug use into my own romanticized version of what it felt like to be young and bound by the restrictive freedoms of life and love.

Buy Dog Man Star HERE on Amazon.

*I refuse to call this band "London Suede". Always have, always will. Just because some jerk sued for the right to the name "Suede" here in the US doesn't mean I should have to call them something other than what they decided they'd like to be called.

(picture from HERE)

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Red Hot Chili Peppers - “Sir Psycho Sexy”
Newcleus - “Jam On It”
Aarktica - “Song For A Free Williamsburg”
Bob Marley & The Wailers - “Exodus” (1984 12" Mix)
Charalambides - “Two Birds"
Explosions In The Sky - "Memorial"
Rush - “2112"
Love and Rockets - “Haunted When the Minutes Drag"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

7 comments:

bus#5 said...

At first, I wasn't digging this write up. But you completely won me toward the end. How very familiar: Fight. Lachrymose reconciliation. Repeat. Eventually a collection of branded music. Or something.
You screwed it up, didn't you.

Anonymous said...

There's one thing I'll never understand about Americans...




The plural of Lego is LEGO, dammit! Not Legos.

Matt said...

haha!

but...it's not even a real word, it's a a PRODUCT name. right? how are there standard rules for pluralization for words that have been made up by companies?!

let's look into it...

The Lego Group's name has become so synonymous with its flagship toy that many use "Legos" or "Lego" (collectively) to refer to the bricks themselves, though the Lego Group considers such use a dilution of their trademark. Lego catalogues in the 1970s and 1980s contained a note that read:

"The word LEGO® is a brand name and is very special to all of us in the LEGO Group Companies. We would sincerely like your help in keeping it special. Please always refer to our bricks as 'LEGO Bricks or Toys' and not 'LEGOS.' By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand of which we are very proud and that stands for quality the world over. Thank you! Susan Williams, Consumer Services."

"Lego" is officially written in all uppercase letters. The company asserts that to protect its brand name, the word Lego must always be used as an adjective, as in "LEGO set," "LEGO products," "LEGO universe," and so forth. Nevertheless, such corporate admonitions are frequently ignored and the word lego is commonly used not only as a noun to refer to Lego bricks, but also as a generic term referring to any kind of interlocking toy brick.


um, it appears (if you're out to make the legal department at LEGO happy) the plural that should be used is "LEGO products," or "LEGO bricks," or something along those lines. (watch now as i rage against the corporate machine) but i think, even if it does look a bit like an Elven name from Lord of the Rings, i'll stick with Legos.

Jackstraw said...

LOL! What you just said there about LEGO is extra amusing (to me) given the notion you established in this post:

"I refuse to call this band "London Suede". Always have, always will. Just because some jerk sued for the right to the name "Suede" here in the US doesn't mean I should have to call them something other than what they decided they'd like to be called."

Suede. Legos. You're a rebel.

josie said...

I can see it all like a movie.
So good.

josie said...

In the post office parking lot yesterday:

"I Want Your Sex" came on the radio.

What do you think I thought of?

I couldn't wipe the grin off my face for at least 10 minutes.

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