"That's my favorite!" my sister kept yelling at the top of her lungs, over and over again, as a group of us were trying unsuccessfully to play Rock Band. In our Christmas Eve stupor, I tried to rationally and emphatically explain to her the very meaning of favorite. Favorite means 1. Favorite means the top of the top. Favorite has the implication of being the one and only. The idea of several favorites takes away the very thing that makes it unique and exclusive. Cut to today. Time off from work meant I began going through all the boxes I hadn't gotten around to opening since I moved away eight years ago. As I sifted through the years of my life stuffed haphazardly in a jumble, I paused when I came upon a dusty broken cassette tape case. I ripped open the zipper and marveled in amazement at all the forgotten music I haven't heard in almost a decade. Back before itunes, mass music distribution and the music sharing goings on of today, there was music that you had to work hard(!) at uncovering.
Don't get me wrong, I greatly appreciate the convenience and availability of music nowadays. Honestly, I don't have the time to manually sift through the bins and bins of talented and unheard gems not yet discovered. The internet has been, if anything, a welcome opening of pandora's musical box.
Going through the tapes I uncovered music from high school and college years that I had shelved - long forgotten. My sister's shrieks of "you can have more than one favorite," kept ringing through my ears and I decided with a sigh that I had to acquiesce. For readability purposes, I will list the Top 5 Bands (broken down in a few postings) that formed my youth, led me to several out of the way dark and grungy music venues to catch my beloved shows, and above all; transported me to a time where music was the single most influential and creative force in my viability.
Jawbreaker. Pop and sometimes melodic punk that resonated with Blake Schwarzenbach's poetic and then raspy vocals. While he mastered the art of lyrically provoking the angst ridden masses, he was able to simultaneously pick with humor at the scene way back when it started to take itself too seriously, "You're not punk...and I'm telling everyone...1,2,3,4 who's punk what's the score?" touted Boxcar's anthem on 24 Hour Revenge Therapy (1993). The tongue in cheek attitude of the album resonated with my disdain for the indies who took themselves too seriously. I think it great and ironic that these albums are now on itunes.
Unfun's Want and Indictment actually ruined my car's speakers from blaring so loudly out of my tiny car (1990). I recall the carefree feeling of having nothing but time on my side, and the friends who introduced me to this new unknown world. Life wasn't getting any better.
But my favorite of the three albums is of course Bivouac (1991). I remember listening to Shield Your Eyes, Big & Bivouac feeling completely understood, perplexed and elevated all at the same time. I think this album best conveyed the emotional complexity and magnetic force that was the band's identifiability. When I saw them perform, I left sincerely hoping that everyone would have a band, at least once in their life, that they loved as much as I loved Jawbreaker.