I remember the first time I heard my favorite record. It repulsed me. I bought it because I'd been a fan of the band's first record, which, in hindsight, was pretty commercial. Even so, there were two absolutely perfect songs on it, to my ears anyway. The rest was ambitiously harmless Still, there is a darkness about them that I looked forward to hearing develop.
And then they were gone. I'd heard they got dropped by their label and figured I might not ever hear from them again. I should mention this was before the internet, so there was no realistic way to keep up with artists we liked after they got dropped.
When a band got dropped, they literally ceased to exist to the world until they got signed again or one of their members went on to join a bigger band, thereby making the band you dug an oft-regurgitated footnote within the bigger band's narrative.
So when a new LP by the band magically appeared in the bins one day completely out of nowhere (to me, at least), everything about it's appearance led me to suspect a completely different band had co-opted the name. Wouldn't have been the first time I'd seen that happen.
I scan the back credits for a name I recognize. Nope, uh-uh, not that one, nope.
The one name I do recognize is the only one that mattered from the first album, truth be told. He is the source of "the darkness", I suspect, and that's all I need to know. I buy the record and, in doing so, alert the store manager to its existence. "Wow, I didn't even know they made a second record," he says.
It is both funny and sad that I know his store's inventory better than he does.
I get the album home, tear open the shrink wrap, and introduce needle to vinyl.
Five seconds in, I'm literally checking the speaker connections because what I'm hearing sounds, well, broken. Imagine walking in on a Commodore 64 having rough sex with your Atari 2600.
I immediately grabbed Back In Black because thats what everybody uses to EQ their systems and make sure their speakers are functioning properly. I was relieved to find I hadn't blown a cone or something.
For some reason, maybe boredom, I kept listening. And I kept shutting off the album in half-admiration, half disgust. That's enough aural information to process for one night, thank you.
One day, after dozens of spins, a switch was flipped and everything about the album falls into place.
In hindsight, it's like meeting the love of your life. Only you don't know they're the love of your life yet. In fact, you don't quite hit it off. They challenge you in ways you aren't ready to be challenged, say things you aren't expecting, and mock the rest of your record collection.
"Passion Puppets?!" "Freur?!" "Til Tuesday?!"
Hey, that second album is a great rainy day album, you want to say but don't. They're right, of course. Your collection is severely lacking in awesome. It's not, really, but you have to admire the fucking chutzpah. And suddenly, BOOM, you get them.
Not only do you get them, but you get WITH them. It happens suddenly, unexpectedly. By the end of the first kiss, you're picking out china patterns in your mind.
And to this day, that album has its own fucking shelf because you literally cannot and will not put anything else next to it. Oh, you'd like to someday because to find even just one album capable of doing such a number on your head would be gloriously satisfying, but, as it stands, it remains an album that does not play well with others or suffer fools gladly.