The Cool New Music Chronicles: Aversion Therapy

AVERSION THERAPY (June, 1989)

 

In January of 1989 I started at LSU, living in the Pentagon dorms. It was a good time, and I spent it trying to shake the grime of New Orleans off of me. I was running with Liz’s crowd, making new friends, and not going back home on the weekends.

I matured to some extent, and tried new things, like an acting class (and briefly toyed with going into theater.) I also did a lot of things I hadn’t done before – got a lot more social, went to parties, went and played pool at The Bayou. Michelle and I never panned out, but I did start dating Jill at this time, which didn’t last very long due to unresolved issues for both of us (mine was named Katie, I forgot what hers was named.) But, unlike my other doomed relationships, we were able to stay friends. I at last discovered how much I enjoyed learning, and dove into a wide variety of classes.

I opened my mind a lot at this point — too much, in some ways — and read a lot of philosophy, weird mystic crap, and basically tried to figure out a spiritual angle for myself. Unfortunately, this resulted in me taking in a lot of junk at this point, like Tarot cards, but I eventually figured out the psychology that was really behind them and discarded them. It was a big awakening for me. Fortunately, I balanced a lot of this woo-woo junk with Flim-Flam by James Randi, which started me on a better path.

Just after I made this tape I headed for New Orleans with Ben (from Lafayette) to see Alex Chilton in concert, and with us was a friend from high school named Anita who I had somehow gotten back in touch with, and her friend Kelley. I confess that I kind of had a thing for Anita, but it was Kelley I would end up with.

  1. The Pursuit Of Happiness – Hard To Laugh
  2. Guadalcanal Diary – Always Saturday
  3. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Everything’s Alright When You’re Down
  4. The Mighty Lemon Drops – Take Me Up
  5. Indigo Girls – Closer To Fine
  6. The Replacements – I’ll Be You
  7. R.E.M. – Stand
  8. Deacon Blue – Dignity
  9. The The – This Is The Day
  10. Michelle Shocked – V. F. D.
  11. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Circle
  12. Alex Chilton – Let Me Get Close To You
  13. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Burn Up
  1. Jonathan Richman – Roadrunner
  2. Love and Rockets – 4 Stars (Jungle Law)
  3. The House Of Love – Christine
  4. 10,000 Maniacs – Like the Weather
  5. Everything But The Girl – Heaven Help Me
  6. Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army
  7. Wire – Eardrum Buzz
  8. Shriekback – Big Fun
  9. Christmas – Richard Nixon
  10. Voice of the Beehive – What You Have Is Enough
  11. Violent Femmes – Lies
  12. The Sugarcubes – Delicious Demon
  13. The Cure – In Between Days
  14. The Smiths – Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

What’s notable is what isn’t here. This is the first tape without a Depeche Mode song. Boy, I really wasn’t crazy about Music For the Masses, I suppose.

  • The Pursuit Of Happiness – Hard To Laugh

Although I may have read about this album (Love Junk) in one of the music mags, I’m fairly sure it was another one picked up on a whim. It is a great album, full of good rocking tunes.

  • Guadalcanal Diary – Always Saturday

The follow up to the incredible 2 x 4 was Flip-Flop which…well…do I need to say it? This was the one track worth salvaging off of it.

  • The Jesus and Mary Chain – Everything’s Alright When You’re Down
  • The Mighty Lemon Drops – Take Me Up
  • Deacon Blue – Dignity
  • The The – This Is The Day
  • Michelle Shocked – V. F. D.
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees – Burn Up
  • 10,000 Maniacs – Like the Weather
  • Shriekback – Big Fun
  • Voice of the Beehive – What You Have Is Enough
  • The Sugarcubes – Delicious Demon
  • The Cure – In Between Days
  • The Smiths – Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before

Nothing special about these. “This is the Day” is a little out of place, and that Shriekback song is not overly good.

  • Indigo Girls – Closer To Fine

Yes, I too got caught up in the neo-boho crunchiness of pop music in 1989.

  • The Replacements – I’ll Be You

The Replacements followed up Pleased to Meet Me with this bizarrely overproduced album. It’s okay, and has some good stuff on it, but it’s so clearly the beginning of the end for them.

  • R.E.M. – Stand

R.E.M. hit it huge with Green, and for good reason. It’s a very good album. As overplayed as “Stand” came to be, it’s still a lot of fun to listen to.

  • Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Circle

Speaking of neo-boho, here it is incarnate. Jill and I went to see Edie in New Orleans (McAllistar, perhaps?) and it was the weirdest show I ever went to. It was an older (than us, at least) crowd, and there was row seating. Everyone sat down, and the few people who tried to stand up were chastised back into sitting down by the people behind them. When the band played “What I Am”, suddenly it was as though someone had pressed the “dance” button…everyone stood up, shook around a bit, and had a good time, and then immediately returned to their seats when the song ended, remaining there for the rest of the show.

  • Alex Chilton – Let Me Get Close To You

As I said, the Replacements’ tribute to Chilton got me to check out the man himself, and there was no better time to jump on board than for High Priest, which is a hell of an album. I’ve seen him perform a number of times and he’s never disappointed.

  • Jonathan Richman – Roadrunner

Twelve years later, I discover the Modern Lovers. I don’t remember who pointed me towards Jonathan Richman. It’s possible that I stumbled into him myself or read a review somewhere. This track is credited to Richman only here because it came off a “Best of Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers” CD I picked up. Of course, by this point Richman is a solo act (and still is) and is another one you should see if you get a chance. This song is four minutes of pure pop bliss.

  • Love and Rockets – 4 Stars (Jungle Law)

This is the jumping-off point for Love and Rockets for me. Their fourth, self-titled album is a sludgy mess with few indications of how good the band could be. Most folks would have put the hi single “So Alive” in here, but this tune is much better than that one, which is something, because this one is not very good.

  • The House Of Love – Christine

This band was all over the British music mags (which, at this point, I stop following.) I adore this song, and they did a couple other good ones but boy howdy are they a pretentious, non-fun bunch the rest of the time.

  • Everything But The Girl – Heaven Help Me

Jill turned me on to this album (Love Not Money) and while I like the whole thing, this song is just amazing.

  • Elvis Costello – Oliver’s Army

Here I am catching up with the rest of the world on Elvis Costello. I grabbed a “Greatest Hits” CD because I felt I should check him out and it was everything I imagined. Why this song instead of just about any other? No idea.

  • Wire – Eardrum Buzz

It’s a shame that, given Wire’s incredible catalog, the only representative I have of them is this totally disposable, near-novelty song. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but nobody (including me, at the time) is going to go, “Wow, I need to hear more of these guys!” upon listening to this.

  • Christmas – Richard Nixon

A very odd album that I ended up giving away. These folks later went on to ride the “swing” train as Combustible Edison.

  • Violent Femmes – Lies

A new Violent Femmes album, hooray! Oh. It’s full of Gordon Gano’s Jesus songs.

Liz and I had a common problem of individuals whose presence in our heads kept us from making wise romantic decisions. We joked about needing some kind of aversion therapy to get the positive associations away from those people. Something along the line of her saying “Katie!” and then burning me with a cigarette (I was smoking around this time – and no, we didn’t really burn each other.) That’s where the title came from.

Click on the player below to listen to this mix!


(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)

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