Saturday, August 30, 2014
You'd Prefer an Astronaut?
Hum's You'd Prefer an Astronaut is one of the soundtracks of the '90s that has survived the weathering of years largely intact. The soaring, heavy guitars and "shoegazing" have badly dated some efforts, but not this one. Very much of its time yet still fresh. Released when "new rock" and "alternative" were in full bloom, when radio found a new format.
I've written before of my encounters with stations 99-X in Atlanta in 1995 and The Buzz back home in West Palm Beach later that year. I first heard "Stars" in early '96, I think. Somehow it was so appropriate. Not just lyrically, but the lonely, dreamy, almost science fiction sound of it was perfect accompaniment to my single life. I had moved back to W.P.B. from almost a year in Georgia. I was very content in my new life for awhile, nearly a recluse. But eventually I realized I needed some social contact.
From that emerged a sort-of relationship that went south over a silly and ultimately unforgiven mistake (made by me). Then, a potential fling with my downstairs neighbor that never went past the first date. Later, a summer all alone. "Stars" always seemed to be playing somewhere. Matt Talbot's weary voice a melancholy commentary on whatever he was singing about - and my own travails. Music forever married to those days, but still as thrilling and fascinating as ever to hear now. The entire album. Check it.