The Formative Years – Heartbreak
It was in 1996 when my first relationship ended around the same time I finished the German equivalent of high school. As Rod Stewart put it, the first cut is the deepest and to overcome what felt back then like one of the most tragic things that could happen, I planned my first trip to the US.
Equipped with addresses sources from Maximum Rock’n Roll, I roamed through NYC and Chicago, met a lot of great people and had some fantastic adventures,.
In one of the record stores, I scored ALLs Pummel album in tape format for $0.99 along with a range of other tapes. Having been a big Descendents fan, I had all previous ALL releases on Cruz Records but never got that much into them, especially since they had recently landed on a Interscope Records in 1994 in the wake of success of bands like Green Day and The Offspring, which back at the day of purism was considered a no-go.
When I listened to it on my Walkman, I instantaneously liked that it seemed much darker and angrier than what I was used from them, which might have been partly due to Chad Price’s heartfelt and intense vocal delivery – the perfect soundtrack to the inner turmoil I encountered caused by heartbreak.
I listened to the tape a lot for the rest of the trip and it remains one of my favourite albums emanating off the triumvirate Alvarez / Egerton / Stevenson as it encompasses the DNA of what their song writing unique yet pushed things to the next level.
Commercially and in terms of what Interscope’s ulterior motives for signing ALL were, the release was a flop, which made it all the more endearing.
The album holds up to this day with especially the first half of the album being flawless with the band channelling their alchemy in a more stringent manner than on previous releases.
Needless to say, the feeble attempt at humour, i.e. the song “Hetero”, stood out like a sore thumb and was already cringeworthy back in the day and rightly exposed by e.g. Pansy Division for what it was..
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