Last weekend I acquired two new albums. Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. Both have been very enjoyable and have made me think about lots of things. The album sleeve for She’s So Unusual is incredible and the songs are full of synths and some sweet vocals. And “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” is an incredible song. Did you know it was written by a man? The original version gives out a real sleezy message but unlike the Ne-yo/Beyonce situation discussed earlier in this blog Hazard didn’t give this song to Lauper. She took it and changed the whole meaning in a much more aggressive way.
However it feels a little unfair on Cyndi to put these two albums in the same anecdote because Rumours is pretty off the charts in terms of classics. I found it on a wall, outside a house near the St Werburghs City Farm in Bristol. Its on cassette tape. It makes me tingly.
I listened to it whilst strimming my lawn in the sun on Monday afternoon. I felt like a real proper adult. This album feels like adulthood to me. There’s a wisdom and weariness to the songs I think. And I guess that its pretty funny to think of an album from 1977 as symbolising my adulthood. Especially as I only just listened to it for the first time two days ago. And I’m only 23. Maybe when I look back in the future this album will actually symbolise the exact opposite of adulthood for me. Not the exact opposite, because that’s childhood and that album’s probably Magical Mystery Tour, or ABBA GOLD or something. But the opposite of adulthood which is that weird thing where you are old enough to make decisions but absolutely incapable of doing anything remotely responsible. Please don’t tell me that is life because that is not very encouraging.
I love albums that you think you’ve never heard but then you know every song on them. I love catchy tunes. I love boy/girl vocals. I love that I don’t know anything about Fleetwood Mac and I’m pretty sure I should but somehow I just don’t. All cultural references to them just go straight over my head. There’s a documentary about them on Radio 4 tomorrow morning at 11.30 so I’m gonna listen to that and accrue some facts. But I love coming to albums with this notion of its historical and cultural weight but no actual knowledge.
The point of all this being that these albums have made me think about my current obsession with music that isn’t current. I seem to be incapable of listening to music being made NOW. Which is a problem because I am making music NOW. But the comfort of listening to an album that has had twenty or thirty years to settle into the world is hard to resist. I know its just the scratchy vinyl and wobbly old tape that make these albums sound warm and loved and listened to, but its hard not to feel reassured by the fact that millions of people have listened and loved to these songs before you. I am so scared of new songs. They seem so anchorless when you listen to them.
However, this is obviously an insane way for someone who makes music to feel. Its a pretty insane thing to admit in public. I should love listening to new music. It should be exciting. I should be excited. And I feel sure that at some point in my life I probably will be. But right now I feel like all I can listen to is Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac and the upsetting Robert Hazard version of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ on endless repeat. And that really can’t be healthy.