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The Desert Road

The cover art for this new album takes me back. I remember I had just recently purchased Songs for the Deaf but I was too busy to listen to the full album much. I was a senior in high school that year, I delivered pizzas like 3-4 nights a week, I was writing all my final papers and generally just being a kid, running around all the time. Anyway, we were going on our Senior trip and it was like a four hour bus ride, and so I got on that bus and just listened to that album from start to finish four times back to back.

Songs for the Deaf was I think the first CD I truly fell in love with. It brought everything that was going on in my life together in one sweet car-crash, the pain and pleasure of frustration, the desire for escape, the adolescent f-it mentality, all enveloping me as I sat there in my only world with the rest of my class around me. The funny thing is that I think of myself before that point and I know that I "liked" music before then, but I can't recall a single album that did to me what they miraculous music from the gods did to me that blissful afternoon, and I think the distinction is that for the first time I was experiencing music as one does as an adult. Not just imitating the catchy tunes but really trying to understand them and how the people who created this art must have been thinking when they found the music in their heads.

On the other side of that coin is the bitterness that I feel, a few years down the road, knowing that I will never truly love an album like that again. I've heard too many patterns in my head, had too many reflexive experiences of finding "the album that changes the world" and then growing bored of it eventually. There's a certain cynicism that comes with this realization. I think now, I probably could have been listening to a lot of different things during that trip, and maybe I would have gotten obsessed with any of those other CDs instead of "the one". Maybe my idolization of QotSA and Josh Homme is completely arbitrary, and I might have been obsessed with...Kid Rock if that happened to be the CD in my disc-man that afternoon.

But I wasn't, so when I listen to Josh Homme moaning in a swirl of humming static it brings to me a shadow of the vitality that I felt when I was young; that pulsating, never-quenched desire to feel consumed and worshipful of life itself.

I hope I never lose that.



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