The Best Album You’ve Never Heard Of: ’98 edition
Editor’s Note: Tuesday’s are Tunesdays.
I can remember going into my friend Dave Whitehead’s office in a kitchen and him playing me a record by a band called the Gloria Record. After listening to it, I found the Crank!Records website and ordered EndSerenading by Mineral. The simple packaging and lack of spaces between words told me this album was right up my alley. It made its way into heavy rotation for the rest of high school. My blue Buick Regal heard me jam out to the album tons of times. I burned it and gave it to my friends Ace, James, and Pytlik. I tried, unsuccessfully, to woe girls to the sound of it.
As time went on, it was buried under an avalanche of new CD’s and new bands. When I started working at Starbucks, and got my first iPod, it made it’s way back into heavy rotation. My friend Dan was a huge fan and we often talked about our favorite parts of the album. Not too long ago, I stumbled back upon the album; I always forget how great this album is
The album is short, clocking in under 50 minutes, and it isn’t very diverse stylistically. In reality it feels like a really long song, which if you like it as much as I do, is a really good thing.
The guitars drone on, and quite frankly don’t show a lot of technical skill. The same could be said of the drums and bass. And yet, when all of these ingredients are added together and combined with Simpson’s monotone voice, magic happens. I wanted to point out two songs that will give you a feel for the album as a whole.
The second track on the album is Palisade
Here are the lyrics:
There I was, fourteen spinning
With my arms out like a scarecrow
Walking down Monroe to the park
Dancing up Madison
With my eyes closed your feet
Sounding like a symphony of strings
You picked me up and whispered “Forever”
Like a secret in my ears
Now. . .
The song, as with most of the album, finds the singer reminiscing about his life when he was younger. The brilliance of the song is in the simple poetry of the lyrics, combined with the story-telling done by the instruments. I am particularly impressed with the way the songs builds and then breaks down just before the 4 minute mark. This song is a great representation of the album as a whole.
Another song that stands out on the album is the second to last track, &Serenading.
Will you come and what will I say
Oh I have been so distant and unhappy
Like I could disappear
When I was a boy I saw things
That no one else could see
So why am I so blind at twenty-two
To the hope that is all around me
Filling up this room
On the road on my own
Waiting for the words to fall from your tongue
Into my ears
When I was a boy I could hear
Symphonies in seashells
So why am I so deaf at twenty-two
To the sound of the driving snow
That drives me home to you
You can find the album on iTunes here.