Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Soul Asylum - One Way Conversation

"One Way Conversation" was released as the B-side of a promo only 12" supporting the 1990 album ...And the Horse They Rode in On. To the best of my knowledge, it has never been made commercially available, although a quick search of reveals that it was covered by Crash Vegas. I imagine this song didn't make the final cut because it was decided it wouldn't fit in with the rest of the album, seeing as how "One Way Conversation" is actually a decent song. (I remember thinking Horse was a disappointing album when it came out in 1990 on the heels of Hang Time, and I guess still think so today.)

I have to admit I've soured on Soul Asylum in general over time. I haven't listened to them in years. Even the recent passing of bassist Karl Mueller was not enough to get me to drag out Made To Be Broken in a fit of nostalgia. I'm not exactly sure why I turned on this band. I don't think it's because they temporarily got big, or even because Dave Pirner stole my then make-believe girlfriend Winona Ryder.* It's just that lyrics that once struck me as clever seem too facile, even downright embarrassing, now.

My judgment is probably too harsh: when I cringe at one of Dave Pirner's cornier lines today, I think I am mostly feeling contempt for the dumb kid who used to worship these guys (i.e. me 15-20 years ago). Why Soul Asylum evokes that contempt more than say, Robyn Hitchcock, The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, or any one else, I'm not sure.

And to tell the truth, as I look over the track list for ...And the Horse They Rode in On, it doesn’t look like such a bad album; "Spinnin'," "Bitter Pill," "Gullible's Travels," "Grounded"...those were all solid songs. It would have been a stronger album with "One Way Conversation" included though. Also, "We 3" really should have been cut, the lyrics to that one made me cringe 15 years ago.

*True story: I used to clerk at the infamous New York City video/music store Kim's Underground circa 1993-94. One day I was sent to sub for someone who had called in sick at the West Village location. While I was there, none other than Winona Ryder walked in and purchased every Soul Asylum CD. And no, she didn't shoplift them, she paid for them with a credit card (although for all I know she might have walked out of the store with a couple laser disc players under her blouse). A few weeks later I saw her and Dave Pirner walking hand-in-hand down St. Mark's Place.

1 comment:

seamstar said...

I came into work last week and was amazed to find Dave Pirner sitting with a couple of dudes drinking coffee. His band's music was a centerpiece to my adolescence and yet, almost as soon as I was old enough to see them live I didn't want to hear it anymore. Classic case of loyal fan base alienation? No you're right, there's something unnervingly trite about the words that I think a younger me thought were tongue in cheek. I said Nothing.