Liking most of these more wouldn’t half of made my life easier, at various stages. Would it have been too much of a compromise to make? Apparently so.
1. Radiohead – The Bends
Or, indeed, any Radiohead album. You have to understand, I was once in the position of being a Person To Know. If my taste had veered towards the more ordinary or the more popular then everything would have been so much simpler. This was the album that I infamously hurled across the Melody Maker offices, straight into Deputy News Editor Mat Smith’s bin during one of our regular bouts of “Play it or break it”. I got called out for it later by Radiohead themselves. I thought ‘Paranoid Android’ was hilarious for half-a-second – hilarious in a good way – but then really couldn’t stomach the chest-stroking.
I don’t think I’ll bother embedding any YouTube videos here.
2. Smashing Pumpkins – Gish
Billy’s press agent wanted to fly me out to Chicago in ’91 so I could write 200 words on the band. I loved flying to America, me. Swinging through the skyscrapers like Spidey on his web. I totally fucking wanted to visit Chicago, me: industrial, drinking city, home of a thousand cliched gangster stories. I wasn’t too adverse to writing 200 words about bands I felt indifferent to either, if the bribe was big enough. Unfortunately, I’d already heard Gish.
3. any album by The Stooges
This one is entertaining, at least – seen me through many an otherwise dull night drinking in bars with indie ‘rock’ bands. Apparently, it’s heresy to like rock’n'roll and not like The Stooges. I love Mudhoney. I love The Birthday Party, too – and can totally see and acknowledge the influence. I’ve never seen the Stooges live, though (reviewed them live, yes: seen them live, no). I’ve never dug Iggy’s mock-operatic voice, or the ridiculous music hall theatrics. The music is fine: it needs a better front man… reason number 31 why I love Mudhoney so much.
4. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
I’d have been as happy as a hog in hog heaven these last 10 years, wouldn’t I? This could have been My Time. Picked up a load more commissioned work along the way, admitted to a passing admiration for the 70s work of Genesis and Yes, and fitted right in with all the other aging hipsters so desperate to fit in with all the other aging hipsters. But no. Taste had to intrude.
5. Pearl Jam – Vs
I could’ve travelled the world! Hung out with the stars! Weird true story. I saw Pearl Jam’s first ever UK show, in the tiny Borderline bar in Charing Cross Road, London. Hated them: the fancy fretwork and bare-chested anguish. Took a taxi back home (as was my wont) all the way to rainy Cricklewood. The phone was ringing when I got to my apartment door. It’s John Silva (Nirvana and Beastie Boys manager). “I heard you saw Pearl Jam tonight, Everett. And I heard you hated them.” How the fuck did he know? I hadn’t spoken to a single soul. Was I that obvious?
6. The Vines – Highly Evolved
I liked the B-side of the debut Vines seven-inch, same way I liked the A-side of the debut UB40 12-inch: crackly, reasonably pleasurable slices of cod-reggae just the right side of easy listening. Had the misfortune to see The Vines’ debut UK show. Wrote something along the lines of, “there’s no fucking way this band can be from Melbourne cos they’d have been laughed out of the city if they were, because the one – almost the ONLY – thing Melbourne bands understand is HOW TO ROCK. And The Vines don’t rock, not even vaguely.” The following day, one of our three major clients pulled all their advertising from the magazine I was editing, Careless Talk Costs Lives, costing us thousands of pounds (a big deal at a time when, at any given point, we were around 10 grand in debt). Whatever. Time proved me right on this one.
7. Cardiacs – Sing To God
I saw Cardiacs play in ’87, or thereabouts. Absolutely hated them. Since then, I’ve never even countenanced the thought of wishing I loved a Cardiacs record, not even in my darkest, most self-hating nightmares, and have never wanted to hear them again… that is until I read this absolutely stunning piece of writing from Lucy Cage. So good, it made me go and listen to the damn Cardiacs after a 25 year break. And guess what? I still hated them.
8. Foo Fighters – The Colour And The Shape
He’s the world’s biggest rock star, man. And he could be my mate … if only he made halfway decent records.
I was going to include Coldplay in this list. But there are limits, even in a hypothetical list.
9. Lush – Spooky
My Melody Maker review of this 1992 album (wherein I accused the two females in the band of being unwitting puppets of male Svengali figures, specifically Robin Guthrie) cost me my best mate at the time (who just happened to be one of the two females in the band). I could’ve said it to her face! We next spoke in 2008.
10. Paul McCartney – Memory Almost Full
We got offered Macca for the front cover of Plan B Magazine. We had to turn him down. His album sucked.
11. any album by Nirvana
You know how hard it’s been, pretending all these years?
Eleven records I’m embarrassed about liking