Friday, October 28, 2011

Memory Lane

I've often wondered why it always seems to be pop songs that come to define certain moments in my life, rather than music i actually enjoy, pursue, listen to often.

I suppose, now that i actually take the time to think about it, it's largely due to the song's fleetingness. It's on the radio for a few months, I hear it a fair bit, probably listen to it a bit secretly, and then it's gone. Hearing it again some years later, it reminds you of the time when it was secreting out the air waves.

This of course never happens with Slayer. Slayer doesn't remind me of a time, or a smell. Because Slayer is timeless. They are there always and forever, and thus cannot represent a particular time or place.

With this in mind i present to you the pop songs that have so far represented a time in my life that i now look back on with nostalgia:

This song reminds me of getting up really early to watch Couch Potato on ABC. I think it started at seven, but i of course was way too excited about the prospect of watching it. So i would get up at like five thirty, and sit puzzled as i sat through an hour and half of Rage. I could never work out why the fuck people would get up soooo early to watch music videos about partying at night. It never occured to me that Generation X was stumbling home at 5 in the morning, flannel covered in chunder, to watch Shampoo with a glazed expression. Meanwhile, Generation Y was sitting there in a onsie, eating cereal, eyes the size of plates, trying to make sense of a world it just wasn't ready for.

I think this was released in 99, and all i reminds me of is pools, strange tween partying, and feeling confused. Also, my Dad really liked this song, and he would do this weird 1960's jive to it, much to my total embarrassment.

This song was released just as I was moving to Italy, so my old man could set up the Monash centre in Italy. I really didn't wanna go. I was in grade 6, i had heaps of friends, girls were just kind beginning to make sense, i was happy. I didn't wanna go to some country (where i had been before anyway) and start all over again. I was pretty depressed about the whole prospect. Thus this song is always kinda melancholy for me. I also recall wearing some epic cargo pants and skate shoes during this period in my life.

This little pearler came out while I was living in Italy. I don't think it was such a big hit in Australia, but in the summer of 2002 in italy it was THE hit. You couldn't go five minutes without hearing it. It was the World Cup, Italy had been knocked out by South Korea, it was fucking hot all the time, and i drank a lot of ice tea. In Italy, during the summer, all the italians fuck off to Germany and stuff, so the city literally empties. In Florence, there are usually more Americans than italians. The streets are bare, silent, and kind haunting. There is this timeless, sleepy nature to a European summer. This song reminds me of the empty streets, the crowds huddled around the tv in bars watching the soccer, the feeling that the world was standing still.

I was 15, total nerd, no music taste, Gwen Stefani was a babe. A cultural wasteland of a year.

I'm aware i said metal doesn't feature as representative of parts of my life. There is one exception: when i actually discovered metal existed. It was 2005 and i was on some biology camp. My friend Morgan, gave a me a bunch of cd's to listen to. I liked Morgan, but i was scared about his music tastes. I was a studious nerd, with no real interest in music. I liked books, computer games, and the occasional movie. Hearing Metallica for the first time was utterly life changing. James Hetfield's snarling vocals took me by surprise, but the aggression, the hatred in his voice (and I can't believe I'm saying this) spoke to me. I suppose to an extent the old cleche of the angry nerd was partially true. But, suddenly, this rage didn't have to be suppressed, it could be explored, and even celebrated. Safe to say, things have never been the same.

Back to shit pop. This was a huge hit in 2007, at least for kids my age. When i hear this song, I remember 18ths, being way to drunk than i should have been, laughs, stressing about year 12, trying to talk to girls, then remembering you have braces, long hair, acne, and a sweet Metallica shirt, with the logo in fluro green.

This is why i like pop music. It's so fleeting, that i comes to define the moment in your life in which it was released. Songs become time lines, time lines become stories, and suddenly your own vision of your life takes on this linear, clarified narrative.

But yeh, Slayer sums up my life.

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