My favorite album
(inspired by the Guardian’s music blog)
It was 1989 and we were at the end of a materialistic decade to say the least, I had started working at an unrewarding job, well actually just started working altogether, and found all the promises of adult life to be fallacies, bosses replaced teachers and parents, taxes and deductions were the new grades…all was for nothing more than buying power and power bought everything.
I still can’t decide whether U2 were fighting the system or milking it with “Rattle and Hum” (circa 1988) but I had no doubt I didn’t fit in and needed some relief, “Street Fighting Years” did just that and still does it to this day.
From the bass line on the opening track to the closing bagpipes, it is my masterpiece of enlightment and beauty.
I had been listening to Simple Minds as a teenager, ‘Don’t you” was all over the radio and so were the singles out of “Once upon a time”, the music media had invented a rivalry between The Cure and Simple Minds and night-clubs were sometimes divided between mascara-wearing Robert Smiths and long haired Jim Kerrs firmly believing the other side sucked; I secretly listened to The Cure and “desintegration” became one of my favorites.
With the introduction of Street Fighting Years, the long curls disapeared, violins, slide guitars and celtic melodies replaced the “easy” tunes of 1985 and the lyrics explored the political arena more than ever, Alive and kicking became Belfast Child, All the things she said, Mandela Day and so on.
Times were a changin’ for a generation, soon Nirvana and Pearl Jam would dominate the musical landscape but rather than feel like a extinct dinosaur, the whole sound of the record was a welcome change, it was comforting and spiritual, perhaps a coming of age on my part but 22 years later, it is still growing and never ages, a desert island recording.
I have no doubt it is also related to the magic of Trevor Horn who had produced Yes back to life with 90125, the first record I ever bought, love it or hate it, the arena oriented sound brings out the ambiguity of the songs; the opening track is a perfect example, it is symphonic at times, rocky, lyrics are hardly audible but the whole thing is in perfect harmony.
It is by no means a sing along record, more of a listening experience.