In an article about becoming a non-smoker, writer David Sedaris speaks of his childhood bedroom as a sort of oasis amidst the neglect and smokey odor of the rest of the house. "…if I'd had my way," Sedaris writes, "it would have smelled like an album jacket the moment you remove the plastic. That is to say, it would have smelled like anticipation."
The smell of anticipation. Wow. So for all of these years, I thought it was only my music-crazed self who cared about the smell of album jackets. Yes, every new record ever purchased does indeed come with that lovely aroma. It's a little like "new car smell," but maybe more narrowly focused. I have to say that I always felt a little weird savoring that smell, but as the stacks of records took over most of my living space, I figured that it was just an unavoidable and (supposedly!) secret part of my little ritual. When I get a hit of that smell now, the first two or three seconds of nearly every record I own can be heard echoing around in my head.
That is certainly true of The Cars first record, though this one has other things attached to it. I bought the album during a little adventure with a friend of mine. Neither of us had a way to get around so we decided to hitchhike to the nearest big town. This wasn't my idea as I'd never hitched a ride before, my nerd self being deathly afraid of being killed by some psycho in a pickup truck. As it turned out, we got picked up by the mother of a good friend of mine. She was pretty cool about it (read: didn't tell my parents), seeming more amused than anything else.
We got to the store and I immediately pulled a copy of The Cars from the new releases rack. "Good Times Roll" was all over the radio at the time and I just had to have it. Heck, I was ready to head for home right then and there, the draw of new music perhaps being as strong as nicotine addiction (I don't know… I've never smoked), but Andrew wasn't finished yet. More poking through the bins and I take a copy of The Tubes What Do You Want From Live, having been highly recommended by another friend of mine. Come on, "White Punks On Dope" sounds like just the sort of song that'll piss off the parents. Oh yeah, I was such a rebel.
A rebel with not enough money. There is nothing worse than a music freak on a vinyl high. I actually lowered myself to asking Andrew for a loan. It felt sort of low and sleazy, but I'd already attempted the album calculus in my head and couldn't come to the solution as to which record to put back. I needed them both.
Somehow, we made it back home. Apparently, the pickup truck psychos don't come out until the evening.
Back in my room, we peeled the plastic from the albums and shook the walls with The Cars, The Tubes, and Nazareth (Andrew bought either Expect No Mercy or Razamanaz, I can't remember which).
Dang, it smelled great.