By Chris Moore:
So, in the middle of the second biggest, busiest weekend of my semester, I decided to record a Laptop Session. A couple years ago, this would have been no surprise, but it’s been a long time since the “session-a-day” workaholic’s regime ruled this blog.
That’s the date I posted my last acoustic cover song music video. I’ve recorded performances of original songs since then, but it’s been since before the premiere of Steven Page’s “Indecision” that I posted a true Laptop Session.
Back in July, I had based my cover on an acoustic performance by Page that a fan had posted on YouTube. That pretty much sums up my working philosophy concerning covers: I’m not on a schedule so much as I’m waiting for the interest to strike. Of course, I keep plenty busy in between writing music reviews and publishing playlists, as well as facilitating the Guest Sessions division of the blog, and I’m happier about my work here than I’ve been in a long time.
Still, there was an appeal to those days when cover songs were the sole focus of our efforts, and we were excited about expanding our repertoires at a breakneck pace.
That being said, I’ve learned fairly recently that the past is a nice place to think about and even visit, but I wouldn’t want to stay.
Today’s session is born out of how pleasantly surprised I was to find how much I like the Goo Goo Dolls’ early nineties work. I’ve been a fan of the band since I first heard “Iris” on the KISS 95.7 morning radio show in early 1998. I remember saving up my allowance so I could pick up the song the next time my parents took us out to the mall. This being before I understood and appreciated albums, I picked up the first CD I could find with “Iris”: the City of Angels soundtrack. (If I remember correctly, Dizzy Up the Girl hadn’t been released yet.) This wasn’t a complete loss, as this is the disc that introduced me to other great songs like Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House,” Eric Clapton’s “Further On Up the Road,” and one of the few U2 songs I truly love, “If God Will Send His Angels.”
Needless to say, I fell even more in love with “Slide” when that was released as the follow-up single. Looking back, I took this time period entirely for granted: excellent rock bands like the Goo Goo Dolls were on the radio all the time and their music videos were being played — sometimes at full length (gasp!) — on MTV. To this day, I can’t listen to “Iris” without imagining clips from the video, like in the tower or under the over pass.
At the end of the day, though, I’ve always felt Dizzy Up the Girl to be an okay album and not much more. There are some outstanding songs — “Broadway” became and remains my favorite song from the album and “Acoustic #3” is utterly, heartbreakingly beautiful — but there are also a handful of “okay’s” and throwaways. Compared to other albums I was listening to at the time — BnL’s Stunt and Matchbox20’s Yourself or Someone Like You — Dizzy Up the Girl took a back burner, and I never bought a follow-up album. By the time I was old enough to know about and be interested in back catalogs, I had left the Goo Goo Dolls behind.
Fast forward to 2010. Something For the Rest of Us is released, and interestingly, my review of Dizzy Up the Girl could be duplicated here, with only the specific song titles needing to be changed. (For the record, “Still Your Song” is in the running for my favorite GGD song and there are others, like “Sweetest Lie,” that I love.) My friend Mike kept singing the praises of this new album, so I gave it another chance (thus falling in love with the aforementioned songs that I hadn’t paid more than one listen), but the result still falls flat in comparison with his enthusiasm.
Then, Mike, my girlfriend Nicole, and I saw the Goo Goo Dolls in concert.
Several songs into the setlist, something clicked. I finally “get” the Goo Goo Dolls. Unlike Third Eye Blind (another late nineties favorite of mine that promptly faded from my radar when I “got” them and consequently got bored), the Goo Goo Dolls have such depth and energy that I had partially forgotten and partially missed. So, I set out to find albums from their back catalog. The first two I’ve been able to find are 1995’s A Boy Named Goo (discussion of which I will reserve for a future post) and 1990’s Hold Me Up. The latter is such a boneheaded album filled with boneheaded little rock songs like “Laughing,” but I loved it instantly. Almost immediately, I began singing a quieter version of “Laughing” to myself, eventually figured out the chords, and have played it now and then over the past week. Finally, I got the urge to record it today and voila!
It should be noted that I’m rusty and the consequences are as follows: I didn’t comb my hair, I didn’t think to hook up my new USB microphone that I’ve been using to mic sessions for my new album, and I absentmindedly dragged over the nearest item that would hold my cheat sheet at the proper level. The results? I look disheveled, it’s harder to hear me than it should be, and I smelled the vague whiff of cat poop throughout my two takes (turns out the aforementioned item is the cat’s poop bin, moved into the spare room while the bathroom is being worked on).
So, without further ado — and there’s been much ado, many parentheticals, and a slew of sidebars — I bring you my first authentic Laptop Session in over four months. My acoustic arrangement is certain to drum up a compliment or two and a much greater number of grammatically nonsensical rants about my talent (or lack thereof) and sexual orientation, but that’s the only way to know I’m back on the blog!
See you next session!