So, this morning I woke up with Happy Birthday Ralph by Atom And His Package in my head. Who knows why. It’s possibly that I was thinking about what to get my girlfriend for her birthday. Though I should point out that her name is not Ralph and the sentiment of the song’s chorus (“Happy birthday Ralph, I love you! Even though you are fucking disgusting”) only holds up in part to my feelings for her.
Anyway, arriving in my office, I cranked up Spotify and put on Atom’s live album, Hair: Debatable, to satisfy by sudden need to hear that song. Somewhere along the way, something I heard on the album made me think of King Missile. So once Atom was finished with his very silly pop songs, I moved on to King Missile’s also quite silly Mystical Shit album.
Once again, something in the record sparked a memory of something else. This time it was easier to pinpoint, there was something in the spoken word delivery that made me think of Want by Recoil. Not that there are any real similarities between them, really. But that spark was still there and came out of nowhere immediately discernable, save for a few vague memories that somehow linked themselves to each other.
So, at this point I decided to only listen to albums my head subconsciously suggested to me. The only condition being that they had to be on Spotify. Now, I will warn you at this point, I am going to continue describing the choices I made, which will either be incredibly tedious or a fascinating inside into the way the human brain works. I’m expecting the former, so if you want to skip to the end, I won’t be offended.
From Recoil, I went to Curve. This one is easy to explain. Curve’s Dean Garcia was involved in Recoil’s Liquid album (from which Want is taken) and I still very clearly remember reading this fact on the press release back in 2000. Then from Curve’s Come Clean I went to Songs Of Faith And Devotion by Depeche Mode, partly because of a sonic similarity and partly because the guy who introduced my to Curve also introduced me to that particular Depeche Mode album.
The next move may seem slightly odd, because it’s to Deftones. However, I seem to remember that Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away) by Deftones was influenced by Depeche Mode’s In Your Room. And then Be Quiet And Drive linked me to Foo Fighters because that and Everlong have quite similar guitar parts.
The problem now is that we’re heading into my teenage years and memories were firing off in all directions, throwing all kinds of stuff at me (well, mainly other 90s rock). I had to go with what I thought was the first one that had come to mind, which was Groop Dogdrill’s album, Every Six Seconds. This lead me to what was possibly the strangest connection, because I went from the noisy rock of Groop Dogdrill to the far more chilled electronica of King Of Woolworths.
Why? Okay, here goes. First thing to start things rolling was the porny lyrics on On Me Not In Me by Groop Dogdrill, which caused Stalker Song by King Of Woolworths to come hazily into view. However, the link was cemented because I have a vivid memory of playing that particular Groop Dogdrill album to my friend Ven in my car several years ago. I have another memory, less vivid but a memory nonetheless, of playing King Of Woolworths’ Ming Star album to Ven, also in my car. The great thing about listening to Ming Star is that you always realise how many (and how often) track from it are used on TV. It’s not a well-known album, but you’d recognise a lot of it. Probably not Stalker Song, though. That one’s a bit dark.
Next up (and finally) came Xploding Plastix, because the spoken word sample in To The Devil A Donut by King Of Woolworths is similar to the one on Xploding Plastix’s Comatose Luck. Which isn’t the most interesting connection to end on, but that’s what happens when you rely on your stupid sub-conscious.
So, there you go, that is how my brain works. The reward for those of you who read this far (and those of you who took my advice to skip to the end) is this Spotify playlist, featuring a track from each of the albums mentioned.
EDIT: I also wrote about this in my editorial in CMU Weekly. I love self-plagiarism. Check it out here.