I saw Nada Surf play at the Scala this week.
Their 2002 album ‘Let Go’ has been a constant companion. I love a lot of music, but this is one of the very few records that I am always listening to.
My friend Simon gave me this album out of nowhere. He had an advance copy, and he’s one of those older guys who I always admired. He had not just great personal taste, but he could nail what records you would like with just a few simple questions. And he got this one so right.
I wrote a few months ago about Pet Sounds, and that funny relationship you have with an album you have known for many years. Not a record you loved for a while then went back to. But one where you know all the parts. When the band played Inside of Love this week, and that tinkly guitar part before that big last chorus kicked in, it felt like home.
The other odd thing about this record is that it has meant so many different things t me over the years. It started as a record for unhappy times. Lots of listening to this record in the dark, smoking my eyeballs out, feeling pretty crap. Then it became a dark party record. Songs like Happy Kid and Hi-Speed Soul were the soundtrack to my first steps towards being really, really decadent (in my own way). Sitting at a corner at Death Disco while they played another shit Strokes song, and then just giving into the moment. Those upbeat songs ran through my head in those moments. Later on, I decided to rip off this album in any way I could in my own band.
Even the individual songs have flip flopped over the years. Take ‘Inside Of Love’. It’s sadness was well soaked up by me when a relationship that meant a lot to me dissolved to nothing. And then shortly after, when I met a girl who also loved this album, it became a hymn of hope.
(And again, I hopelessly ripped off the riff to this song for own of my own.)
I told everyone I could about this record. I worked for the record company that was distributing this album in Australia, and every few weeks I would order another bunch of copies and just give it away. I paid good money for it on vinyl (with an alternate tracklisting – the record collector in me had a nerdgasm), and downloaded plenty of bootlegs.
They have a new album out. It’s called ‘Lucky’, and it’s been 6 years since Let Go. And I find it funny how many people ask me what I think about it. Even seeing Barry and Casey in Sydney, over a few beers, we had to get back and talk about this record. It’s just a part of my life, of our lives.
Lately, this record has come to be something quite soothing to me. With not a lot of drama in my life, it’s become a warning of traps I fell into in the past. If that makes any sense. It’s just interesting that this album has changed again.
Its also interesting when I think of the time I loved that record for the first time, there were other albums that I loved. Weezer’s Pinkerton. Belle And Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister. Even Wilco’s Being There, what I consider to be my favourite album…according to my ipod I have not listened to some songs on that album in over a year.
So that’s me and Let Go. I don’t really care if anyone else ever discovers this album. It doesn’t really appear on many greatest albums lists. But I’m thinking this is probably my new favourite album.