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.
Soft Powder, The Cure – Disintegration (1989)
When I was 14, my friend burnt me a mixtape CD containing Nirvana, Simple Plan, Blink-182, Green Day, Silverchair and The Cure songs. ‘Lullaby’ was on there, and it was the first time I heard The Cure. I was instantly mesmerised. 14-year-old me jumped straight on to the family PC, fired up Limewire without even bothering to log in to Runescape, and downloaded as much of The Cure’s discography as I could. Luckily, you (Disintegration) were on there, so I downloaded you in full, exhausting my family’s monthly 500mb internet limit just days into the new month.
The scolding I received from my parents was worth it as you went on to provide me with countless hours of comfort. I used to spend hours in my bedroom lying on my bed listening to you on my walkman whilst staring at the black and white The Cure poster on my wall that my neighbour gave me. I used to wonder how you managed to sound so eerie and comforting at the same time. I was so used to listening to the So Fresh compilations that I kept getting for Christmas that when I heard you I was utterly consumed by the atmosphere and emotions in your songs.
You (Disintegration) are a sombre yet enthralling journey from start to finish. From the heavenly opening in ‘Plainsong’, to the glistening and lush ‘Pictures of You’, the cunning and introspective ‘Fascination Street’, to the tragic, gloomy and atmospheric ‘The Same Deep Water As You’, to the hopeful, reassuring ‘Untitled’. Somehow, you manage to be deeply unsettling, tragic, hopeful, starry-eyed and love-stricken all at once, and it still baffles me.
You have been with me for a long time now, and as I’ve grown older, you’ve managed to grow with me. Your songs have continued to take on deeper meaning as the contexts behind your lyrics resonate with me in different ways than they did when I was 14.
Though my music taste evolved throughout my teens, from rock n roll, to emo and hardcore, through to indie and electronica, you’ve never felt outdated or out of place. You’ve always managed to stay lyrically and sonically relevant to my moods, and have continued to influence my songwriting. Your warm, blanket-like synthesisers and glistening, sparkling guitars continue to inspire my music. Thank you, Disintegration.
‘Somewhere Like Paradise’, Andy Szetho’s debut album as Soft Powder, is out now.