Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
Alex Cameron – Jack Ladder’s Hurtsville
They say an ex should always be mad at how much better they made you, as a person. Your ex found you, as you used to be, saw love in you, or at least the potential for it. They give you dexterity. Teach you how to get the proper physical reaction. They make you cooler. Encourage the right rhythm in your hips. All the while they know that in teaching you, all these improvements are likely gonna be the benefit of some other, new lover. Which is probably what leads to the break up. A good ex gives you the confidence of love. And they hate you for it. Maybe, rightfully so.
I don’t know about all of that, but if there’s any truth to it, then right now Jack Ladder’s Hurtsville is cooking with a new kinda rage.
The album is a clear Australian classic. Anyone that has listened to it more than once will tell you that. But like like an ex-relationship, no one wants to admit that it formed a lasting impression on their lives and on their ability to express remorse and romance all at once.
For every verse, there’s a line that changed my perspective on song writing. Jack Ladder writes “I’m planting seeds among the weeds I never kill,” so I wrote “I got shat on by an eagle baby now I’m King of the neighbourhood.” He writes “Love is a bone that I chew, when I’m alone and I’m thinkin of you.” So I wrote “Our love was like a fire, I pissed on it so I could sleep.”
I didn’t even know that album was teaching me. I thought I was just enjoying it. But then again, it’s always been my exes that have relieved me of any clumsiness or pubescent impatience, the whole time having me convinced I was just being myself.
There are the elements that I love, but would never want to take with me. The cold guitars. The deep thwack of the snare. The jangling riffs that could only come from Jack Ladder’s fucked up tuning and gigantic hands. Man.
And then there’s the reason we broke up. Bad management. Like a toxic in-law. A label not strong enough to take the album where it needed to go. Stifled by family matters. The love couldn’t spread. So we had to move on.
That doesn’t mean I don’t think about it when I’m alone in bed with nothing to do.
Alex Cameron continues his run of Aus tour dates this weekend. Head here for details.