Too many letters don't get sent.
Sigh. OK. Enough of that.
It's been raining a lot lately, around here. And for reasons that I don't really want to go into right now, I've been thinking back a lot, back to the days when I was in high school. Staring out the window on a rainy spring afternoon waiting for my life to start. Sometimes I feel like it never really did, but at least when I was in high school I had an excuse. It almost makes me miss those days, or at least wish I'd taken more advantage of them. Back then, though, it was the same as it is now--all I could focus on was how lonely and unfulfilled I felt. I guess it's no surprise.
But the point I'm trying to get to is that my musical listenings have taken a bit of a nostalgic turn, at least where one band is concerned: Adorable. I had their 1992 album, "Against Perfection", in my senior year of high school, and it was the soundtrack to a lot of aimless drives around the boring rural countryside where I lived back then. Adorable were considered part of that whole shoegaze thing, but they were never the least bit hazy. I think they just got thrown into all of that because they were British guys with guitars and distortion pedals who also liked to put melodies into their songs. The closest they come to sounding like any of the true shoegaze stuff is when they get going on one of their more frenetic tracks and come to resemble a less grunged-out version of Swervedriver. Most of the time, though, they sound more like the mid-80s British guitar bands who hadn't been influenced by J Mascis and Kevin Shields. I figure the guys in Adorable were much bigger fans of Echo and The Bunnymen or The Chameleons--which are more than respectable influences.
There was another Adorable album in addition to "Against Perfection", 1994's "Fake", but I never really owned it. Yeah, at some point in the past half-decade or so I downloaded it and burned it to CD, but I think I listened to it 3 times or so. Whenever I thought about listening to Adorable, it was because I wanted to hear the songs I knew, like the beautiful ballad "Sunshine Smile", on which they were closer to shoegaze than they were on any of their other songs (perhaps not so coincidentally, this was their biggest hit). Or "Homeboy", which veered between mellow bass-driven verses and dramatic, distortion-charged choruses. Or "Favorite Fallen Idol", my favorite song on the album (no pun intended), which rocked hard on the verses and got a considerable head of steam going before blindsiding you with the much more melodic chorus--which at the same time was still every bit as driving as the verses. Then there were all the other great songs like "Sistine Chapel Ceiling" and "Crash Site" and "Glorious" and "A To Fade In", and I never wanted to pull out an album I'd never heard before when I could return to these much-loved favorites.
What's finally, after all these years, led me to discover the treasures that always awaited me on "Fake" is 2008's "Footnotes", a greatest-hits compilation for a band who only released two albums, and basically only existed for three years. That might seem like an excessive gesture, especially when you see that "Footnotes" contains almost the entirety of both albums--only two songs from each were left off, so that it contains 18 of the 22 songs Adorable ever released (on albums--there were a few non-LP B-sides). I'm not complaining, though--all my favorite songs from "Against Perfection" are here, and in fact, the only two songs left off are the two songs that I never thought were all that good. Being unfamiliar with "Fake", I don't know that the two songs from that album that were left off are also the two worst songs on there, but considering that pretty much every song from "Fake" that made it onto "Footnotes" is awesome, I can only imagine that they did just as good a job cherry-picking that album.
What I've found most interesting as I've continued to listen to "Footnotes" is the way the songs from "Against Perfection", which I've been playing steadily for years and years, have started to sound a bit stale for me. Lately, instead of sitting through the less familiar songs and waiting excitedly for the ones I know to come around, I'm much more stoked to hear the new, fresh-sounding songs like "Submarine", "Vendetta", and "Kangaroo Court", some of which are proving to be as good or better than my favorites from "Against Perfection". I think I'll probably always love "Favorite Fallen Idol" most of all, but it's a very near thing when compared to "Kangaroo Court", a song that is less driving and more melancholy but based around a melody that's pretty close to perfection. The lyrics are a metaphor for the ending of a relationship, comparing such a thing to an unfair trial in which the evidence is skewed and all the laws are twisted against you. I've felt that way a lot in life, but what I really feel when I listen to this song is the anguish in singer Piotr Fijalkowski's voice when he pronounces the word "kangaroo", especially at the end of the song, when the music is trailing off.
The more melancholy tone of "Kangaroo Court" seems reflected in most of the songs from "Fake", actually, especially on "Lettergo", which follows "Kangaroo Court" on "Footnotes". Unlike "Kangaroo Court", in which Piotr is lamenting that he's not being given a fair chance in a relationship, "Lettergo" describes a situation in which he never made his feelings clear at all. "It was a pleasure and a privilege," he tells the object of his affections, "But I guess you'll never know." By the end of the song, he's urging the listener not to share his fate--"too many letters don't get sent. Too many letters don't get read." That's another place I've been too many times.
I guess maybe that more melancholy tone is why I've found myself relating more to the songs from "Fake". The sun hasn't shown up here in days, and right now I can look to my left and see the view out of my rain-covered window. Nothing but gray skies. That melancholy feeling is still with me. A lot has changed since my high school days, but a lot of times I still feel exactly the same.
Adorable - Favorite Fallen Idol
Adorable - Crash Site
Adorable - Submarine
Adorable - Kangaroo Court