Posted by Dennis G. Schmuck on Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary (1994)
During the summer of 2003, I was living in a hovel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, working a shitty internship, and my entire social life consisted of either going to Saturday matinees at ABC No Rio or taking the train to New Jersey to attend shows with my one friend with whom I shared common musical tastes.
One day I decided that instead of being a constant spectator, I could learn an instrument and maybe start a band of my own. As one would do when one makes $250 a week, I bought a used $40 bass on eBay. During the next few months I learned to play 5 songs on bass, The Police's "Message in a Bottle", Sisters of Mercy's "Lucretia My Reflection", The Strokes' "Hard to Explain", The Misfits' "Last Caress", and the opening riff to what became my favorite song to play, Sunny Day Real Estate's "Seven".
There's no happy ending to this story. I never started a band. I never ended up making any other friends at shows. I never learned any more songs on bass and that $40 investment is currently collecting dust in my closet. However, I still listen to "Seven" regularly 8 years later. Diary, the influential Sub Pop band's debut album, is considerably top heavy. I would always listen to the 1st 3 songs on repeat, while occasionally trying to slog through the rest, hoping tracks like "Phuerton Skeurto" would hit me the same way that "In Circles" did. Eventually I stopped trying to appreciate the album as a whole and just enjoyed the best aspects of it.
I've had a similar relationship with the 2010-11 Knicks. Going from a team with 1 great player, a few solid starters, and a good bench, to a team with 2 great players, an aging point guard, and a bunch of glorified D-leaguers has not been an easy transition. Watching guys like Jared Jeffries, Roger Mason, and Shelden Williams emerge from the rubble of a blown up roster was particularly painful as the Knicks suffered losses to sub .500 teams like the Pacers, Cavs, Bobcats, and Bucks. But in the past few games, Carmelo Anthony has put the team on his back, averaging well over 30 points a game, scoring in his usual effortless fashion, and even playing some defense, most recently on...Travis Outlaw. Ok, so Carmelo's defense isn't exactly Scottie Pippen incarnate, but the effort is appreciated.
Watching Melo and Amare trying to co-exist among a seemingly lost Landry Fields, an overworked Toney Douglas, and an overmatched Ronny Turiaf has made me appreciate their individual greatness, while acknowledging that the rest of the team doesn't quite stack up to a 2011 contender. In the same vein, Diary's 1st 2 tracks, "Seven" and "In Circles" are among the best opening songs on any album I've ever listened to. The 3rd track "Song About an Angel" is slow, meandering, with sporadic moments of brilliance, a good transition into the muck that follows. I call this the Chauncey Billups track.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh on the rest of the Knicks. I am still a huge Landry Fields fan, especially his work on the "Andy and Landry Show", and I love Douglas's defensive effort, though he tends to think he's Monta Ellis on the other end. By the same token, I'm probably being too harsh on side B of Diary, as it's collecting dust along with my bass, while I listen to mp3s of the 1st 3 songs and play heated sessions of iPhone NBA Jam. If the Knicks can make a 1st round series against Boston or Miami interesting, maybe I'll give "Grendel" another chance.
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