It's been years since I've been the first kid on the block with a copy of the hot new album of the moment. The last time, I think, was in 1990, when I bought Nirvana's Nevermind the day it was released. But yesterday I did it again, quite by accident.
I bought a new iPod recently. It's the 80-gig model, so I have a lot of room for new music, so I've been perusing iTunes a lot more lately. Well, last night I logged on and saw a new release from one of my favorite bands, The New Pornographers, and, without even thinking twice, I added it to my cart and downloaded. It was only after I'd done the deed that I realized it had been released that day.
Jesus Christ, I'm cool.
Anyway, I've been listening to it all day and loving every note. The music's good, of course, but the purchase has also reacquainted me with an annual rite of passage I'd fallen out of step with: The autumn new album release. I think it's tied in with school or something. I vividly remember loading up with new tunes before going back to college each year, and how that new music seemed to define each new semester, like it was all wrapped up in the hope of new possibilities, or whatever, who knows, but at very least it was cool.
Nevermind was one of those albums. I first heard of Nirvana when I saw them live on my birthday at the Gothic Theater in Denver, opening for Dinasaur Jr. They were by far the best opening act I'd ever seen. They turned the entire concert hall into one giant throbbing beast, pulsating with every strum of Kurt Cobain's guitar. I didn't even know the name of the band until I checked out the T-shirts they were selling behind the bar, but I was blown away. (Incidentally, if you check out the booklet accompanying Nirvana's boxed set, you'll find a poster for this show.) So, when I later saw Nirvana's new release at my neighborhood record store, I quickly snatched up a copy (on cassette, no less). And then I played it constantly as I worked as a driver of one of the campus buses that circulated around the farflung dorms at the University of Colorado. I can still remember this cutish girl asking if it was the new Nirvana album. It became a big hit. But I had it before it was a hit. I felt so cool. (No date from the girl, of course; didn't even try to ask.)
So here I am again, nearly 40, with a big late-summer release, feeling cool as can be. I'm not, of course. But one can pretend.
(BTW, The New Pornographers will be in Lawrence on November 4, and, by God, I'm going. Waddaya say, Joel? Wanna check them out?)