Monday, September 29, 2014

Rediscovered Albums - Boomtown Rats / The Fine Art Of Surfacing

There seems to be a recurring theme that leads to me rediscovering an album.  The album typically comes from my youth and has one song that I fear I may deafen myself with a pointy object if I hear one more time.  This album qualifies.

'I Don't Like Mondays' is the poster boy for hating Mondays.

There is a local radio station in Philadelphia, 93.3 WMMR, that played this song every Monday.  It got to the point that I hated Mondays just because it was inevitable that I was going to hear 'I Don't Like Mondays'.  Let's face it, this song is about the very true story of an American Teen that snapped and shot up a school yard.  Something that is still a reality in these times.  To have it as an Anthem for hating to wake up early and go to work is somewhat absurd.  But, you know, whatever gets you through your day...I'm not one to judge.

This song was the reason that I had not bought this album.  It was a very different song, 'Keep It Up', that provoked me to buy this album.

My older sister had an awesome vinyl collection.  My sisters, who shared a room, would lock their door before they went out to prevent me from touching their vinyl collections.  After they would leave I would pick the lock to the door and then make cassette copies of their albums.  One of my favorites was a compilation called Exposed.

This compilation introduced me to Loverboy, Adam and the Ants, Judas Priest, and 'Keep it Up' by the Boomtown Rats.  I loved this song.  Enough to buy the vinyl.  I gave the album the once through but I ended up just wearing out the grooves on 'Keep it Up'  As I discovered new music this album was pushed aside.

Fast forward to the 'Great Move Disaster' of 1999.  This was during the height of CD existence.  I decided that packing up my vinyl collection was too much of a hassle and anything that was scratched, poor condition, or not listened to would get thrown in the trash.  I narrowed my vinyl collection down to 100 pieces and The Fine Art of Surfacing did not make the cut.

A few days ago I made a pilgrimage to the Princeton Record Exchange do "research" for a an article.  Research consisted of a few purchases.  When I shop at large record stores I go in without a wish list.  I let the albums jump out at me and sell themselves.  I was completely excited when I found The Fine Art of Surfacing in the Dollar Bin.

I have a rule when I buy vinyl these days.  When I get home I clean it and I listen to it all the way through before it filed.  I listened to this album first.  Given my recent penchant for Power Pop it struck me immediately.  This album was fun!

This was Bob Geldoff before the seriousness of Live Aid.  The album was fun because they were having fun.  There are little comedic interludes and even fun itself embedded into the songs, like 'Nothing Happened Today'.

I enjoyed the album so much I listened to it twice.  If you exclude the morose 'I Don't Like Mondays' it is upbeat and fun.  Even songs like 'When the Night Comes' were Springsteen-esque.  This was under my nose for so long and I just didn't realize its greatness.  But like everything else there is a reason.  Maybe I just wasn't ready for it.  Fortunately, I am ready for it now.  I see this gem in heavy rotation.  Along with other power pop classics of this time.  Get The Knack.  New Clear Days by The Vapors.  The A's.  I am happy to have rediscovered these classics.  Hopefully, you will too. 

See you when the needle drops!


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