This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I never really listened to lyrics in songs until recently. I heard sounds, which formed a vibe, but I never really paid attention to the actually meanings. It was almost as if I had created some sort of emotional security system. Going back through some of my favorite records, and I am going wayyyyy back, I am hearing things in technicolor.
Take for example. 1993's "Altered Beast" By Matthew Sweet. This record is brutal! How could I not have heard it before? Sure, there are the guest artists (Mic Fleetwood here, Nicky Hopkins there, Robert Quine, Richard Lloyd, Ivan Julian everywhere!) most of which I wouldn't even recognize by name until recently. But when you hear the songs, man, put it away, it's bleeding! Perhaps I picked up on the black humor of "Someone to Pull the Trigger" and the rocking rockingness that is "Ugly Truth," but you think I would have heard the desolate obsession with a relationship that is to bad to keep, but too good to ditch.
And it doesn't stop there. Every song. Every. Single. Song. Funny, I don't remember being an overtly sad teenager. This being one of my favorite records, I need to re-examine. Let's go down the check list: suicide attempts=0, overdoses=0, runaway attempts=0. There you have it folks, I am certified oblivious. And Jody Stephens is on this record, given my latter day Big Star introduction (thanks to pd)… you'd think I'd have noticed the jangle.
The production is super-compressed, I guess to bring out the vocals, and you'd barely notice the guitars except for the fact, um, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE! But I think I appreciate this record more now that it's 14 years later. I actually had this one before "Girlfriend" which I technically never bought. Tracing it back, I think this was a record that an old girlfriend didn't get back. Strange, she got all the REM, but not Matthew Sweet. Score!
Funny how it works out. Man, I still love this record!