Smileswithteeth: “What’s The First Album You Bought?”

– By The Violet Wave Staff –

We are starting a new series in which we interview artists and ask about the first albums they ever bought. As music lovers, that’s always a nice memory to dig up, and our first post is from Montreal-based electronic act, Smileswithteeth, who talks about the first album he bought using his mother’s credit card, “Hang-Ups” by ska-punk band, Goldfinger.

“My first album was a bad one for a good reason.


Goldfinger’s Hang-Ups was a mostly forgettable entry in a wave of Californian ska-punk that hasn’t aged well beyond Rancid, but its lead single soundtracked untold hours of me getting really, really good at Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1. I don’t know all the lyrics, but that horn riff is tattooed into my brain, along with crashing glass, grinding rails, and thwacking boards onto cement (all of which comprise the natural habitat of Goldfinger’s magnum opus).

I seem to remember ordering the album online, with the help of my mom’s credit card, in what must have been 2000, and its arrival and my subsequent marvelling at the liner notes (there’s a bit that rails against commercial meat production, my first introduction to the credos of veganism, whose novelty I promptly reported to my rather unfazed parents) still were no match for the joy I felt playing that specific game to that specific song.

I couldn’t tell you a single other tune on the album, but to listen to “Superman” now is a portal into my Southern California childhood and my ska obsession that, thankfully, never progressed much further. The lyrics, “getting older all the time, feeling younger in my mind,” are perfectly on-the-nose for the pop-punk of the day—though the song structure is a little sharper—and yet, there’s a blissful potentiality in them. An aimlessness that sits just as well with an 8-year-old me playing video games, whose life has yet to come, as it does with a moderately successful rock band spinning out at the tail end of the music industry’s profitable reign.

In a way, the song’s about where me, and a lot of us, are at now—confused, anxious, trying to make sense of a world that seems to be falling apart, feeling powerless but believing we can, and must, change that. California ska might not have aged well, but that message sure did.”

Read: Blankets Up To Your Chin | An Interview with Smileswithteeth



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