Thursday, September 27, 2007


Spoon's "The Underdog"

Two weeks ago, driving Georgia home from preschool, this song came on the radio. On my life, I thought it was a late-seventies Billy Joel track I'd never heard before.

Now, clearly it's not, and heard on something with a bit more fidelity than the low-end speakers buzzing in my 1997 Ford Escort it's pretty much immediately obvious. But still, there does seem to be an influence here, doesn't there? Something along these lines?

Speaking as the resident Billy Joel fan (his Bridge tour was my first real concert-going experience. And the bootlegs, the glorious bootlegs) I have to say that there's not enough piano for this to be a genuine William Martin Joel doppleganger. But yeah, this would've been right at home on 52nd Street.
Jayme, unless I'm misremembering, Joel's An Innocent Man was the first album that I bought new (as opposed to buying it used, or at a garage sale, or whathaveyou). I've still got the LP in a crate upstairs, and haven't listened to it in years, but I heard it often enough those first few years that it's still ingrained in my brain. Don't think I ever saw him live, though.
My first album (actually, it was cassette--I didn't get into vinyl until a year or two later) was *either* Billy Joel's "Songs in the Attic" or Christine McVie's solo album. I bought them both within a week or so of each other, and can't recall which came first. My first CD a number of years later was either John Cougar Mellencamp's "Lonesome Jubilee" or Howard Jones' "One to One."

I've seen Joel in concert twice. A very good show, even if his set list has started to ossify.
See, I was an LP man for years, long after I should have stopped buying them. So I've got "Lonesome Jubilee" on vinyl, as well as "Big Daddy." I switched to cassette when everyone else was moving to CD, and did stupid things like buying the Lou Reed box set in cassette, instead of CD for a few bucks more. The guy at Tower looked at me like my hair was on fire and I was taking a leak on the counter. "You do know these are cassettes, right?" I got all uppity, telling him I wasn't going to pay an extra five bucks or whatever it was for the same music. Good decision...
Ha ha! /Nelson

CDs were one of the few things I was an early adopter on. For a while I would buy the CD *and* LP of new albums, simply for the larger format of cover art on them. And I read every issue of Rolling Stone, cover to cover. Such was my life.

I remember one of my few acts of teenage rebellion was sneaking off and driving into Houston to get Sgt. Pepper's the day it was released on CD (our lone record store had closed, and Wal-Mart didn't actually stock CDs at that point yet. I think). Actually, I wish I remembered that. I did sneak off to Houston to get it, but it was like a week later because I was terrified my folks were on to me.

Man, I *really* pushed the envelope in those days.
Wait, so you bought the CD and the LP of each album? Yikes. Of course, back then the CD's came in those oversized boxes, as I recall, which weren't all that much smaller than an LP sleeve.

I don't even remember the first CD I bought, because it was so late in the game it was a non-issue. And to make things worse, for years I didn't even have a CD player of my own, but would just use whatever my roommates at the time had. So there was a brief time in my mid-twenties when I had a fairly substantial CD collection but no roommate, and thus no way to listen to them. I quickly remedied it by buying the cheapest "boom box" I could find, and believe me, I got what I paid for.
I saved *all* the CD long boxes I'd bought, and in college, at some point, wallpapered my room with them. Somehow I thought this would establish me as cool beyond all doubt.
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