When I finished my post yesterday, I said I was going to take a break for a couple of days, but that was more about not being near a computer than it was about wanting or needing a break. I’m feeling pretty good about where I’m at for things, and blogging as well. I’ve got a small milestone coming up, and I’m looking forward to writing about it in my blog. But I was going to be at the cottage, or so I thought, so I had planned a short stoppage.
Yet, morning came, and J wasn’t feeling well. I had been “off” for M/T, Andrea was feeling “off” W/Th, and the cub was “off” F and now Saturday. While lots of people would have just pushed him to “suck it up” so we could go to the cottage, I try extra hard not to do that type of pushing. If it was me, I would have been trying to decide how to stay home without disappointing everyone since I’m the driver, and pushing me just makes me feel worse. So I told him flat out that we wouldn’t push him, it was his decision, and since he really wasn’t feeling up to it, we ended up postponing the trip.
Which gave me some time for more progress on the basement, but it also left me with a bit of time to play with some of my music collection some more. And out of nowhere, an old album came to mind.
The album was called Street Hits and it was put out by CBS Records, but the distributor in Canada that created the partnership? Bata. Yep. The shoe company. There are 10 songs, 7 of them by Canadian artists I guess.
We have Apple Music, and we really don’t get our money’s worth out of it much these days. We used to play music trivia while driving to work, but that is out. I do turn it on sometimes in the basement while I’m working, although I also have to keep turning it off for conference calls and frequently forget to reach over to hit play again. But with the entire library at my disposal, could I find all the songs from Street Hits?
A walk on the dark side
My older brother (by 13 years) had Deep Purple, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Meatloaf, etc. But he was older, married, lived a few blocks away. For my brother closest to me in age (by 6 years), we were living with our parents who were mainly Top 40 listeners. One of the two local radio stations, CKPT Peterborough, was permanently on the dial in the kitchen and we weren’t allowed to change the station. Nor in the car. Not that there was much else for AM or even FM to reach the Peterborough Valley area. There was one other station, CHEX, but it wasn’t a whole lot different. CKPT had a bit of the older stuff too, CHEX seemed to be newer music. But it was relatively plain pop music.
Parts of Street Hits seemed subversive in comparison.
First up was “Hold On”, by Triumph. Nothing particularly startling there, a pretty basic ballad. “Music holds the secret, to know it can make you whole…”. It’s pretty up-tempo after a slow open, but it’s not revolutionary.
Second on the list was Loverboy, “Working for the Weekend”, with everyone trying to get it right with a new romance. Again, a nice basic up-tempo song, with a bit of backbeat.
Then you hit the third song. “Wango Tango”. Ted Nugent. And suddenly you are in the NSFW category. And you don’t get three guesses to figure out what Wango is referring to…later on, when he is describing the new dance, well, both her ankles are turned out, her belly is down, and her butt is up. You do the math. But then it goes further. There’s a bit more metaphor…she is supposed to pretend her face is a Maserati, turbo charged and he’s offering fuel injection, and the music and lyrics are done in a rhythmic fashion. See where I’m going with this? No? Are you a monk? What about when he looks for a garage to store the car?
For a 13-year-old kid, it was like finding out someone had made a porno and released it on cable. My description of the song sounds terrible, I know, but the music is decently compelling, it has a strong backbeat, and more importantly, a gravelly voice that’s almost a throw-forward to eventual rap-like lyrics with less spitting or rhyme.
That this qualified as “art”, was workable as a song, was mind-blowing. But we made sure we only listened to it when our parents were away.
Goddo followed up the porn song with “Pretty Bad Boys” singing about being, well, a pretty bad boy looking for a pretty bad girl.
And then Straight Lines took us back to a love ballad called “Letting Go”. WTF? “And the hardest part of love is letting go…”.
On to Side B
Right, an album. So after five songs, you had to flip it over. 🙂
Ozzy Osbourne kicked it off with “I Don’t Know (Live)”. He was playing for the first minute to his fan base, and honestly, I couldn’t care less. It sounds like satanic worship music, or what it was pretending to be anyway. But after that, the next four minutes is a decent song with a pretty aggressive guitar-led set of riffs. It lags a bit in the middle, but the rest? Not bad.
Judas Priest’s “Heading Out To The Highway” was next, and it wasn’t much of an addition to the album for us. If I’m honest, Ozzy wasn’t much either. It’s okay, just not very compelling.
Then you hit Rough Trade, which has a pretty aggressive band name that a lot of people wouldn’t necessarily even understand, but the song is called “All Touch”. And you could listen to its metaphors and similes for a long time and still have no idea what exactly the song is about. “Splintering fragments of conversation, Never got down to cold hard facts, All touch but no contact”. Casual sex? Missed connections? The start of a break-up? When you read the lyrics, you see it seems more like drama between lovers or a cat-fight, where the fight is all verbal (all touch but no contact). It was like something I had never heard before and it was the only reason to listen to the B side.
“Follow You There” by the Queen City Kids (who had opened for Ozzy apparently) was okay, but nothing special.
And then we close it out with Harlequin’s “Thinking of You”. Another lily-white love ballad. It sounds like something that should be sung by Billy Joel.
It was one of the weirdest albums we owned, and I don’t even know what made us want it. We made a special trip to the Bata shoe store in some mall to buy it, it was $3.99 and we asked our mother to get it for us. We had to have seen it advertised on TV, but it wasn’t like we knew the songs really. But we wanted it. And every weekend, that album was in our rotation.
But it isn’t like you make a mixtape for your Walkman and throw Wango Tango on there. Trust me, I know, because I did just that, and if you’re not sitting in a kitchen listening to music blast with your friends, but instead are walking around in the sunshine delivering papers and listening to someone’s face being a Maserati, it’s just plain out of place.
Tonight, after Jacob went to bed, I pulled up the menu and searched. All the songs are available on Apple Music, even the Queen City Kids one. Heck, I even found a picture of the album cover online (a FB page for a bunch of radio audiophiles talking about old albums had mentioned it).
It was fun reaching back almost 40 years to 1981.
Today I choose to listen to some nostalgia.
What choices are you making?
The Playlist in Apple Music: