Tag Archives: Screaming Trees

SINGLES, THE PORTRAIT OF A GENERATION

I’ve heard this morning that the 20th anniversary of the release of Cameron Crowe’s film Singles had been early this week. Unbelievable! This is the kind of things which make me realize I’m not a youngster anymore, and at the same time, the awareness of this fact also invades me with nostalgic memories.

I don’t know how much you’re familiarized with this film, catching a moment of emotional mess  in the lives of a group of six friends in their 20s, living in Seattle. It is basically a cakey compilation of love stories, with one of these generational stunning casts, including Matt Dillon, Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, Bill Pullman and Eric Stolz. And the added value of guest appearances which had to do with the current local heroes at that time.

To be honest, not only the plot is quite simple but also the movie is not big deal. It’s nice and entertaining but it’s not overwhelming. However the great achievement by Crowe was to portrait a generation of American youth in that time, affected by a wave of pessimism caused by the Persian Gulf War, which in a way awoke the ghosts from Vietnam.  And more accurately, he approached the grunge movement in Seattle, the epicenter.

 It took quite a long time to release the film in order to find the most suitable marketing strategy. The big bosses were confused about the bait to attract the audience. Love? Seattle? The voice of a generation? Grunge? Singles eventually saw the light in September the 18th 1992. Here in Spain things took even longer time and the film was released the year after in August, worse timing ever as most Spanish people are away on holidays, so it just lasted one week in cinemas and Singles was unnoticed.

Cameron Crowe has a taste for romantic and mild stories, but also, and this is what makes his movies worth watching from my own point of view, the director is a music lover, and the soundtracks are essential in his films. They are awesome.

What happened to the Americans with Singles and its soundtrack, was the same which occurred here. Officially the soundtrack of the film was released about 2-3 months before the film was released. It included songs from the hottest bands in Seattle: Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins and Screaming Trees. The first ones released two songs for the film, Breath, and my personal favorite, State of Love and Trust. Chris Cornell also recorded the wonderful Seasons, and the presence of Nancy and Anne Wilson (Heart) as The Lovemongers was also remarkable. This soundtrack was a compilation of the current Seattle scene of the time, and it was the final push to consolidate grunge and turning it into mainstream.

As commented before, Singles was released in Spain in summer 1993 which was a complete disaster. All of my gang, approx 20 boys and girls, were on holidays, and never heard of Singles in town. It took more than half a year to be re-released for just one week again and it was in English with subtitles, something unbelievable in that time, which made the whole experience even more exciting so we could hear “their” voices for real.

Therefore, in early Spring 1994, a gang of 20 went to Eliseos movie theater in our coolest outfits to watch Singles. You can imagine, wool hats, plaid t-shirts, Doc Martens, XL tees with our bands there… it was like attending a live concert. By then we had learnt the soundtrack by heart, thus when we were hearing Nearly Lost You or Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns subtly, we were all singing low. And we were out of control when Eddie Vedder (I was in love with him for many years) and Chris Cornell were appearing. I think we really didn’t pay so much attention to the film because when it was over we thought it was one of the best movies ever, and we were hugging each other as if congratulating for sharing the experience. I kept the film advertisement on the local newspaper for ages. We were 17. We were a bunch of teenagers, genuinely innocent and easily affected, crazy about our most recent discovery and passion: rock, and Singles was the peak of it. And we all were trying to start our bands hahahah

Few years later the gang was missing members day by day, and everybody grew up and moved on.  Most of them are into music, but we’ve separated paths and our tastes are different. We are spread in the world, some are married, some have kids, guys cut their hair, girls left their Martens in their wardrobes… Still in touch with some of them, but in the distance.  Probably I’m closer to what I was back then than the rest of my friends, and it’s funny, because I wasn’t the coolest, nor the toughest, not the most badass in the gang. The truth is that I’m still devoted to rock and music, even more committed than I was as a teenager.

Anyway, at the end of the day what Singles really means to me is the tangible summary of the most intense period in my life, when I started being myself, growing up, taking decisions, getting acquainted with many things, experiences… Singles is the witness of my lifetime choice. Positive, one of the best times in my life.

(*) Johanssen, Vane and Lorenza, hope you read this. I love you!

ALBUM OF WEEK 38 – SWEET OBLIVION

Dark days, black nights, same old story. I was so fucked up and pissed off last year, I didn’t remember I usually pass through down days in September.

Not sure what’s the reason for feeling not blue, but estranged. This year weather is still warm and don’t have a strong feeling of Fall coming, although I feel like a bit of introspection and chilling out, and it’s time to start making some decisions on what to do the coming months, because I’ve been self-indulging the whole year and now I’m seriously broke… with plans ahead though (which of course imply dough).

Also my birthday is coming, and depite I enjoy getting older and celebrating, most likely deep inside I feel weird.

Anyway, my latest listenings reflect my inner situation more than expected, and here is another example.

Play the CD, and the first song is Shadow of the Season, repeating In the Shadow of the Season, To Find a Reason to Carry On. Such a declaration of principles to start the album, which somehow I currently feel identified with.

Sweet Oblivion has many things, but it’s mainly sour, yet an amazing album. Marked by Lanegan’s deep sad voice, almost singing in despair and slovenliness, I always think of him as a poor soul who’s managed to find inspiration from his inner demons.

Nearly Lost You is probably the most popular song of theirs, for being part of Singles motion picture soundtrack, but I reckon all songs are amazing. More or Less, Troubled Times, The Secret King… your choice. You know when you listen to an album and can’t find a song for filling purposes? For one reason or another, all of them are special, and that’s the greatness of this album

Some months ago I commented on Dust. I really thought it was my favorite album. I’m not so sure about it, and Uncle Anesthesia is on its way to my Hellhouse.

What can I say? I discovered Screaming Trees in a proper way very late. Not the most popular, I’d say, personally speaking, of course, that my usual Seattle top 3 bands, formed by Alice In Chains, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, is to become a top 4, by adding these guys. Who knows, in a couple of years I might have a sacred top 5 if I get to focus on any others.

Aaah! Nostalgia is being present lately, the 90’s was the decade that marked my life undoubtfully, and feel really proud of having been able to be with my ears wide open to the music wonders of that time.

ALBUM OF WEEK 20 – DUST

As you know, apart from getting ready for last week shows, I’m in very QOTSA mood lately, really, I’m listening to all the albums very often, that’s why, I started thinking of Mark Lanegan, and consequently Screaming Trees emerged in my head.

To be honest, I had original Sweet Oblivion and a dirty copy of Dust, but thanks to Internet, I have my new copy right beside me at ridiculous cost. Love when you think of an album, check on several websites and you find it’s so cheap you cannot miss the chance to buy it.

It’s true due to money issues I still have copies of CD’s, but try to buy as many as possible, love the covers, the booklets, I’m very sentimental, I guess, MP3 or MP4 or you can name the format, are very comfortable, and I’m an Ipod user, BUT, love having my living room full of CD’s.

Anyway, yes, DUST was my fav album last week, and one of the reasons is that Lanegan’s voice totally hypnotizes me, deep, dark and kind of mysterious…I love it!

Songs are amazing, all in this low mood, almost depressive, not being super slow, they are not as heavy and stunning as others coming from other Seattle bands fighting for the podium of the scene, yet  the atmospheres created are so haunting, Screaming Trees are to be praised at the same level as Alice In Chains, Soundgarden or Pearl Jam.

Go on! Listen to All I Know, Dying Days and Sworn and Broken…then tell me what you think. Dust is a MUST.