Thursday, April 05, 2007

The album that changed my life

being the little copy cat that I am I'm going to use the above title taken from a FRANKIE magazine editorial and start raving.

(PS If you feel like sending me a title - i may meet the challenge and come up with a blog entry to match)

Album that changed my life? mmm I feel the pressure to say something really cool here but not necessarily truthful. Because there are some people that that I listen to these days that may be considered cool by some.... I'm goona go with the truthful option and am prepared to loose any shards of 'cool' I had going for me.

I am internally debating 'Martika's Kitchen' -just because it was the first album i ever owned... but na, didn't exactly change my life.

OK I'm going to delve into the time of my life that was Ben Harper "Welcome to the Cruel World". Think high school, think big crushes, think intense year 12 major art works, think Bens.

The Summer of 1997 was the year I discovered Ben Harper. and it was not really a surprise that I fell in love on first listen - he was after all the fourth 'ben' crush I had had that summer (sadly there was a succession of ben crushes to follow into my uni years - thank goodness i married an Alex.) My gorgeous friend Ivy first coined the term "there is always a Ben" first it was in relation to my crushes, but then the saying seemed to embody all boys that were slightly bewildered by life and generally had that 'oh please show me what it's all about" look about them. It got to the point that when i met this guy on a train and when he said his name was ben i said (out loud) 'of course it is'

anyway back to Ben Harper.

Wow This album was and is pure magic. There was blues, soul and humour and suddenly it dawned upon me that there was a whole world of country style music that was actually OK - that was not like the music that I heard down the main street of my hometown during country music festival. suddenly country could be cool and lightening bolts descended midair. I was changed never to return to my smashing pumpkins cranberries loving faze again. The best bit about this album was that he sang about 'issues' and yeah well... I was a teenager and that was my job right, to love all things intense an 'meaningful'?

I used to go to sleep every night to 'waiting for an angel',This guy sang me 'walk away' at a festival (for all i knew he could have been a ben too), and i danced around the art room to 'we will rise'.

Sadly my ben harper experiences plateaued when i saw him live twice - O be honest! my affection was waning and i was more interested in the guy i was standing next to (Alex) than with Ben Harper.

then ben harper ... well ... in my opinion... got crap/sold out and I discovered other 'country' albums like M Ward, Iron and Wine, Calexico and more recently The Be Good Tanyas and Jolie Holland and now I seem to be progressing to dirty grubby raspy country rock and haven't really looked back.

but thanks for the memories to all the Bens and ben wannabees.

so how bout you tell me about the album that changed your life...


anneenna said...

Hey Rach, cant think of an album. BUT...have you read this book?

x Anne

anneenna said...

or if you want a propa link,

here it is

Jason said...

That Jackie French book is brilliant. Read it in one hit, then read most of it again.

Movie that changed my life - "End of Suburbia".

My favourite Ben was and still is Ben Cousins. He's too hard to replace.

Christopher said...

Hi Rachel,

Your experience with Ben Harper sounds similar to mine - minus the romantic obsessions. When I saw him live and interviewed I thought "you are such a tosser".
'Welcome to the Cruel World' is phenomenal though.

Ben Cousins is also one of my favourite Ben's

An album that changed by life, was Nick Cave's "The Boatman's Call" showed me that piano and other instruments could sound cool. And that you can write songs that are sentimental, sincere, dark, and humourws all in one.

Rachel said...

Jas and Anne - I haven't read it but I want to - bad!

who is this Ben Cousins you all speak of?

Christopher - yeah Nick Cave rocks - The boatmans call was the 'soundtrack' to a trip to Nepal i did when I was 17 where i bought his tape very cheap on the way in Bankok.

meredith said...

hi rachel - your post made me laugh. 'of course it is'. i bet that freaked him out! i am a late convert to ben harper - the first of his albums i bought was the one with steal my kisses on it. i was too angsty in high school to listen to anything without lots of rock guitars (eg smashing pumpkins, soundgarden etc etc) but i still ove what he does. in what sense do you think he's a sell out? i think his stuff with the blind boys is great, and diamonds in the inside is perhaps the most satisfying album i own. i don't have welcome to the cruel world, though.

T said...

Hi Rachel, I have been stopping by your blog for quite some time now, and I so enjoy my visits here! Thanks for sharing such great insights and truths. I think I stumbled upon your blog through Andrea Scher or Keri Smith; two blogs that I enjoy a lot.

I just bought Jackie French' book for my partner's birthday last week after reading about it here! I had been scratching my head wondering what to get and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I love this book! He loves this book! Anneenna and Jason, thanks for sharing your insights. I believe it can be a life-changing book, indeed. I have already read the whole thing once. And yes, I am hooked. We live in the tropical North, yet many of the ideas can be adapted to a hot climate. I have another great book suggestion, which has opened up my eyes. Unfortunately, I think it is out of print now, but a copy might be obtainable from somewhere. It is called 'the Townsville house' by Felix Riedweg. I could write a very long passage about environmental friendly and unfriendly houses because it is something I am very passionate about. Perhaps I should start a blog so I can write about it in more details:) However, I shall keep it brief. Basically, this book shows us how to maximize ventilation and energy efficiency when building a house in the tropics. Townsville is the place where they– in 2007! - build whole suburbs based on the most energy inefficient designs. We are talking mid-day sauna effect. In other words, houses built for aircon. It is such a shame that the knowledge of 100+ years worth of building traditions in how to maximise airflow etc is completely ignored. Anyway! My dream is of course to one day be able to build my own house with my own self-sufficient backyard:)

Rachel said...

Hi 'T', thanks for stopping by! The book sounds great. Alex and I currently are being inspired for the second time by Jim McKnight's "A Procrastinators Guide To Simple Living" which jas actually got us onto.

ps T get those great ideas down on a blog and let us know the address.

ps T jas has a great blog

Rachel said...

Hey Meredith,

maybe I was too harsh on harps. I just think that none of his subequent albums following "welcome to the cruel world" seem to come close to the purity of his first album. In my mind he gets a bit 'pop' which isn't a bad thing - just not my thing.

ps. also forgot to say I have my eye on Murrundai as somewhere I'd like to live but I'm hanging out for their river to floe before I make any decisions to build my haven and that ain't lookin heaps likely.