Another part of the neighborhood menagerie

We sat on the deck for a time into the early evening. The weather was fine, the birds were in full throat, the reading needed to be read. There was a baby bunny on the deck with us. See the chair leg? That’s my chair.

It moved from one side of my chair to the other, but he was otherwise quite still. Stayed by us, too, sitting patiently. I’d read a little and then glance down. Still there. Read a bit, look over for my buddy, still there. This went on for a half hour or so. Probably, it was wondering what we were about.

I half expected it to speak up in a Disney-type voice, wondering when I was going to make with the lettuce and carrots.

We return now to the Sisyphean task of catching up on the Re-Listening project. Overall, this is about listening to all of my old CDs in the order in which I acquired them. I figured I’d write a bit about them, embed a video, share an impression or a memory, but never reviews because what the web needs right now is a decades late write up of a one-hit wonder. No, not that. It’s just for fun, and for whimsy which, as I like to say, is what most music should be about. But I’m also chronically behind in the write ups, it seems. So, chronologically, we’re going to briefly return to somewhere in 1998 or 1999. Or, if you prefer, last Saturday.

Often times I can remember which disc came next, but the real fun part is when I have no clue, which was where I found myself, while out running errands, last weekend. When you don’t know what’s next, the transition from one disc to the next might seem even longer. The CD changer makes the disc-changing racket and while the new one spins into action and the laser eye does laser eye things to make the 20th century music play, there’s a long beat of quiet and wonder. What will this be?

This one was pretty bad.

I’m not even sure why I own “How to Operate with a Blown Mind,” by Lo Fidelity Allstars, but I do. It had one single you might remember, and it sat on the US Billboard 200 in the 115th spot. It topped the Heatseekers Albums chart, but, most importantly, it taught me that electronic big beat was not then, and is not now, my genre.

Right now, I’m trying to find a track to embed here, but they just all annoy me. I’ll need to look at the liner notes to be sure, but I am hoping this was a radio station giveaway or something. I’d be disappointed with myself, these many years later, to realize I spent money on this record.

Which brings us to a somewhat better album, and March of 1999, and something that was definitely a station giveaway. (It has the little stamp on it that says so.)

Citizen King’s upper midwestern blend of hip-hop, soul, and punk, on their second album, “Mobile Estates” still holds up surprisingly well, even if some of it has the feeling of someone just learning Pro Tools. (Anyone learning a new production software platform knows what that is like.)

Here’s the big single, it reached the 25th spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

One of the strengths of the record is how varied they got with the samples. And there’s enough chaotic, everyday noise to either make mastering easier, or infuriating.

There’s some silly low fidelity pretend funk throughout the thing, and all of it feels cheery enough. I have the impression, from this re-listen, that I just played this in the car a lot. It probably got attention from recency bias, until the next stretch of records came along to dominate my listening rotation. And so it was that when the penultimate song began I had almost no recollection of it. But it’s clever in its own Beckesque way.

Then they close the record with a series of totally anachronistic sounds.

This record featured the band’s biggest, broadest success. They split up in 2002. One of the guys bounced around in other musical projects in California, and has since moved to Berlin. Two are well regarded audio engineers and producers. One worked for a long time as a DJ, and even spun records at Lambeau Field before Packers games. He’s still making music these days, among other things.

But that’s enough of this, for us, for now. After this entry into the Re-Listening project, we are only … two CDs behind again.

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