Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Buffalo Tom - Big Red Letter Day - 1993

Back in 1992, I got my first job. I was a carnival barker at Peony Park in Omaha. Unlikely, you say? Maybe. But true nonetheless. I worked in the midway at Peony Park, manning the darts game, the milk jugs, the skeeball machines and, my favorite, the ball toss. It was a crazy summer. I learned how to juggle. I found out the age of consent in the state of Nebraska. (No, not for me - my boss was dating one of my coworkers, and they needed to know it. They were within it.) I ended up seeing a few minutes of Primus, and a few minutes of The Smashing Pumpkins, both of whom were playing the Pavilion inside of the park. I overcame my fear of rollercoasters, by having to stick my arm and leg out of one near the top of the thing. (What? I'm still alive. And I was doing it on the orders of my boss, who was up there with me. We were attempting to get the car unstuck. We ended up doing this a dozen times. Yes, I'm aware how wildly unsafe this is now, but back then, I was young and invincible, at my first job, and scared shitless that if I didn't do what my boss told me to, I'd get fired.) I ended up not doing a whole lot and not getting paid a whole lot to do it, but it kept me busy for the summer.

But the guy who was my boss ended up lending me a tape from this band I'd never heard of called Buffalo Tom. The album was "Let Me Come Over." There were a number of great songs on "Let Me Come Over," including the song "Taillights Fade" which made it on one out of every four mix tapes I made until I was out of college, but the album had a number of songs on it that just didn't connect with me. That would all get fixed with "[big red letter day]," the follow-up album.

"Sodajerk" was the first single off of it, and apparently a lot of people ended up hearing it on the show "My So-Called Life," which I never watched. The album is a lot more varied than "Let Me Come Over," shifting from rock to melancholy and back. It was an album that was best listened to on summer evenings, right as the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon, but the orange glow was still lingering in the clouds overhead. It's an album where I love all the songs on it, and that's certainly saying something.

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