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.
meadowhip – Beck, Sea Change, (2002)
My dearest Sea Change,
I often reminisce about the moment that you first caught my eye. With those rosebud lips, your perfect early aughts indie boy hair cut, and those otherworldly, sad, sad eyes – you were really standing in stark contrast to the avant-garde slacker and Vans Warped Tour company in which I found you.
I was apprehensive. I had a “type” and you, with your soft exterior, were not it. But there was some inexplicable energy about you that kept me intrigued; kept drawing me in.
If I’m remembering it accurately, it took me at least 6 months to finally make a move, and I did so on the expectation of the whole thing being a bit of a lark. Something low pressure, low commitment, low risk. Just something relaxing to give a cute ambience to the sunny days of early summer. I remembered my sunscreen, but I had not protected myself against the force of the impact you’d have on me. So in a matter of weeks, you had managed to carve profound and permanent pathways into my nervous system.
I was immediately mesmerised by your weeping guitars, keening strings, and simmering bass. Even now I am readily lifted and suspended in their atmosphere of spacious, luscious heartache. I am primed to absorb your swirling mellifluence and dysphoria. My bottom lip is still set to tremble at the sparkling dissonance and your haunting drama. My body has evolved to align with you – order me an EKG and you’ll see that my heartbeat is actually the first bar of ‘Paper Tiger’.
And your words? They’re scratched on and absorbed into my flesh, and with it, your sweet existential despair has become mine, too. Through them, you take me on nighttime drives through the Southern Californian desert, and through a full spectrum of human emotion. You step quickly between bitterness and hope, fragility and bravado, melancholy and acceptance. They’ve shown me that there is catharsis in pain and a cinematic beauty in loss.
As I reflect on my own writing – my traits and tendencies – your influence on me is inescapable. I’m all metaphors and symbolism and unanswered questions. I will admit that I have never permitted myself to reach your level of openness in my expression or the topics I address; you’ll probably find me closer to Midnight Vultures on that front!
But you are the magic that I aspire to.
All of my love