“IT WAS 1995 and I had just turned seven. I started saving my pocket money religiously to make my first ever purchase. I cleaned up my room endlessly to buy Michael Jackson’s HIStory – 30 tracks from his solo career for fifty dollars.
“I played the discs until they were so scratched that the only song left playable now is his collaboration with Paul McCartney, The Girl Is Mine. Sadly, it is a godawful song. and even Quincy Jones’ production couldn’t have made this cheese-based dish any more palatable.
“Fast forward 20 years and I generally only listen to music in the hire car on tour. The last album I played to Compact Disc Death was XO by Elliott Smith.
As albums, both HIStory and XO will never let you down, particularly now that CDs are on the way out and it’s impossible for mp3s on an iPhone to fail from excessive listening.
“It doesn’t take imagination to subscribe to the idea that the songs to which you hold a strong affinity, you share similarities within your personality to that of the writer.
“Somehow, they express how you feel. I’m not interested intellectually as to why I am drawn to a song, album, artist. I just want to drink it dry until the dregs leave that bitter taste; that The Girl Is Mine moment, or just one line too many from Elliott. But those dregs have a different kind of satisfaction – it humanises the genius from the throne; those rare moments to peer over the fence and realise that these writers are really just the kids next door f…ing around with cheap instruments.
” The only difference between the suit and the songwriter is the songwriter is self-absorbed enough to breeze blissfully ignorant past their first few hundred horrible songs, then drive 10 keepers around the world, selling them to any sucker willing to believe the hype.
I’m a believer. And I can’t see myself ever throwing out HIStory or XO.
AT A GLANCE
Australian indie-folk artist Christopher Coleman tours New Zealand for the first time in July/August, supported by NZ singer, Monty Bevins.
Tour Dates: Wellington, Rogue & Vagabond, tonight; Masterton, King St Live, July 30; New Plymouth, Rhythm, July 31; Auckland, Wine Cellar, Aug 1; Tauranga, Major Tom’s, Aug 2; Auckland, Kingsland Folk Club, Aug 3.
– Sunday Star Times