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 Love Letter To A Record 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.
Eli Greeneyes – Kings of Leon, Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004)
Dear ‘Aha Shake Heartbreak’,
I know a lot of my friends were probably expecting me to write to Definitely Maybe by Oasis or Urban Hymns by The Verve as the ’90s were a huge part of my upbringing and musical taste. But you were different.
You came along in 2005 when I was 11 years old growing up in Scarborough, Western Australia falling in love with the surf rat culture and bodyboarding. I didn’t listen to you a whole lot when you first came out. I don’t think I quite understood what you were to me yet. It wasn’t until my best mate Amalia in high school was so into you and showed me the video for ‘King Of The Rodeo’ in the 8th grade for the first time. I was obsessed from then on. The rawness, the hair, the punk sentiment, the infectious parts that each member played and of course Caleb’s insane voice. You couldn’t really understand what he was singing in any of the songs, which was kind of amazing because you would look up the lyrics and freak out at how poetic they were and how they would transport you to a dense scene and feeling.
‘Taper Jean Girl’ would make me want to dance. ‘Milk’ would make me want to cry. ‘Pistol of Fire’ would make me wanna crash a party. ‘The Bucket’ would make me feel like life was gonna work out, and I really needed that feeling at that point in my life, so thank you.
It’s all pretty unusual to look back on because I was writing my own music at the time I heard you, but it was all on acoustic guitar and piano and extremely different.
It wasn’t long before I was making playlists of the band that made you on my iPod Classic and sitting down with my mate Amalia in year group talking about certain songs and how they made us feel. You got me through high school to be honest. Besides a few friends, bodyboarding, writing music and you, school was worthless to me. The bus ride home became an excuse to listen to you or talk about you. The music room was an excuse to learn about you and surfing was an excuse to get footage and edit videos to you.
My school was a catholic college that my parents sent me to and I hated it. The fear complex was strong. Some of the teachers cared, most of them didn’t.
You made it worth it though, I would tell teachers I had a music lesson during most of my classes so I could sit in the music room writing songs and studying how you worked. It’s very clear now that there wasn’t a lot to figure out. You were just yourself, pure expression and feeling. Something that can’t really be deliberated over or taught. I was immersed in you. I still listen to you today to remind myself of how freeing and god-like music really is.
Watch Eli Greeneyes’ latest single and video ‘She Don’t Care’. Catch Eli Greeneyes on the DRAPHT tour in WA, kicking off in Geraldton on Friday October 15.