10 Albums Santa Didn't Bring Me in Time to Be Cool
Daxis (Creative Commons)
Santa Claus and I have had a tenuous musical history.
There have been some good years, for sure, especially in 1986, when he brought me Christian Death's Only Theatre of Pain on vinyl. I'm sure Kris Kringle, viewing from his magic snow globe, loved seeing my sheer delight as I relished the irony of the gift. I was 17 and pissed at the world, but "Santa," at very least, was supportive.
For years, though, I had suffered from Santa's inability to recognize my evolving musical tastes. There was almost always some music for me under the tree while I grew up, although I typically received whatever crap was popular on the radio. Luckily, I had figured out how to tape over the little holes on a cassette tape and re-purpose the gifts that I didn't enjoy. Somewhere I still have a copy of Quarterflash's eponymous debut that hasn't played "Harden My Heart" since about January 15, 1982. If you were able to find a working cassette player in my house, you'd hear my home recording of an early '80s episode of the Dr. Demento show instead.
Now that I get to play Santa myself, it has made me look back and consider what records I wish Santa had brought me when they came out, rather than waiting for me to either discover them on my own, by reading music zines, or hearing with a friend. A few of these came out before I had the dexterity to operate a hi-fi, of course, but they were all brand new to me at one point, and would have opened my ears and mind to some musical ideas I had not previously considered.
I suppose there is also a selfish connotation to this as well. These are all albums I love and unwrapping them earlier would have just meant that I could have enjoyed them longer or better yet, it would have meant that someone out there, even a rotund herder of reindeer and elves, would have understood what truly makes me tick. When you think of it, those are really the best presents, after all. The ones that say, "I totally get that you are pissed off at the world. Enjoy this death punk classic."
I still have that Christian Death record, by the way, as well as all of the rest that follow.
The Beatles - Abbey Road
Released less than a month before I was born, this record has a little bit of everything. There is not much I can expand upon that hasn't already been written about what has been argued by music critics for almost 45 years, but for me this is the Beatles at not only their best, but their most inspiring. Truthfully,I really didn't appreciate this record until after I started playing music myself, but I also didn't really listen to it until I was an adult.
I wish Santa had given me an original pressing to me for my first Christmas with a note that said, "Open when you are 12... it'll get you chicks." Whether Santa's advice would have been true, I'm not really sure, but I know it would have gotten my attention. It would also have gone a long way in terms of laying a strong foundation on how to structure not only a song, but an entire album. The songs here are so solid from top to bottom that it is much easier to pick which one is the weakest than the one I like the most -- and even then, it's hard to think of "Octopus's Garden" as weak.
I never get tired of how this record just opens up like a fireworks display in full glory with the one-two punch of "Come Together" and "Something," but when we get to side two and the "Medley" hits your ears, it's magic. The transition between John Lennon's "Polythene Pam" and Paul McCartney's "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" is song is so seamless . . . it makes me wonder what they could have done if they'd been allowed to work together again. Damn you to hell, Mark David Chapman.
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