Considering I've long declared Beck's "Odelay" to be the first or second best album of the '90s (Radiohead's "The Bends" is the other), I was more than a little surprised to find my CD in the basement the other day. I was stunned to find that I never ripped it to iTunes, which meant somehow, I haven't listened to the complete disc in several years.
I took care of both pressing issues this morning, forgoing my normal routine of listening to NPR's "Morning Edition" on the way to work, and instead cranking this amazing album. I made it through about five tracks, skipping to "Where's It's At" as I pulled into our office, where I immediately ripped the album to my computer.
It's funny how an album can take one back into time. I remember a 1996 road trip to St. Louis, where I met my old college friend Oscar, who drove up from Kansas City. During that silly Labor Day weekend, we must've heard "Where It's At" on the radio a dozen times, and it became the official theme song for the trip.
So, on the way back, I pulled off the highway somewhere in southern Illinois and bought "Odelay" at a random Wal-Mart. I put that album on loop and listened to it the entire ride home. I was blown away immediately. I had owned "Mellow Gold" in college, but I found myself speechless to hear Beck's musical evolution in just a few years.
When I got home, I listened to it even more. I memorized the ridiculous lyrics, anticipated the crazy samples and listened to it as I fell asleep. I'm surprised I didn't wear out that CD.
And then, at some point, I must've put it away, because even though I own every subsequent Beck album (some are great, some just so-so), apparently I haven't heard "Odelay" all the way through in a long time -- the disc was in a box with some bank statements from Firstar and a 56k modem.
Anyway, I got my "Odelay" back. Now 12 years later, the music sounds maybe a tiny bit dated -- but it's still awesome. I don't remember all the words, but I remember most. And I think "Odelay" will be the official soundtrack of my day today.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.