Cleaning stuff out is always a fun experience. I don’t particularly relish the prospect of attacking the decay, the crumbling reminders of yesteryears that clog my room, at the outset. I’ve always told my friends that if I was to start over, my room would be totally minimalist, in fitting with my adoration of all things Le Corbusier clean, but as it is, faced with veritable mountains of junk, antiques, stationery and ticket stubs exploding out of every nook and cranny the room possesses, I think I find it easier to add to the eruptions of man-made material rather than actively seek to curb what my dad refers to as ‘just another one of your unhealthy habits’. But when you’ve perfected the art of accumulating shit as well as I have, it’s not that easy to just up and change a whole method of living; hoarding is not a habit, it’s a lifestyle choice.
In any event, probably the best thing to come out of my infrequent attempts to make a dent into the debris is the sensational level of nostalgia that such rummaging evokes. Surely, talking about school days and reminiscing about holidays have their merits but its not until you are faced with the tangible collateral of the past that real remembering starts. There is something more innately profound in the physical than in the emotional. So it was today when I realised that two entire shelves of my closet have been slowly, I’d like to say organically, inhabited by CDs and their often mismatched jewel cases. There is nothing like prising open your ‘Spice World’ case to find The Counting Crow’s ‘Hard Candy’ has replaced Mel B and co. but is still equally as scary. Or the distinct feeling that you should’ve really gotten into A&R at a younger age when you discover your ‘CD 2’ from your fourteenth birthday jam packed with Jamiroquai, Sergio Mendes, Blink 182, Ben Folds Five and Fun Lovin’ Criminals .
Grinspoon’s ‘Chemical Heart’ was about as unexpected an addition to that party mixtape then as it is now. The track is off ‘New Detention’ (2002), the third album from the Australian band that was derided by longtime fans for having forgotten their heavier, grunge side in favour of embracing a more commercial alt-rock sound. Mainstream or not (the song only peaked at #25 on the Australian charts proving it wasn’t too much of a crossover success), it lodged deep within my subconscious such that I’ve spent the last half hour reliving its perfectly executed balladry while dusting off the rest of the 750mb miscellany on offer. In a way, the strings on this remind me of Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘Iris‘ but with a bit of that ancestral grunge grunt in place of the maudlin desperateness that made that track such a hit with sentimentalists the world over. It could just be the nostalgia talking, but as far as rocked-out odes to relationships go, you can’t go much better than ‘Chemical Heart’.
Grinspoon – Chemical Heart