To end another wonderful decade of great music, I’m going to write about ten albums from each of the last ten years, that are either great, or hold some sort of personal significance. A musical kiss off to 00s.
2000 – #6. Eels – Daisies Of the Galaxy
I was 19. I was very drawn to sad sack records. And man is this one of the all time great ones. I moped and moped to this album. So did the Eels themselves. It’s an album born of tragedy. But like all my favourite sad sack albums, there is a fair bit of hope in there as well. Ladies and Gents, I give you Daisies Of the Galaxy.
In truth, it seems the record before this one – Electro-Shock Blues – is the really tragic album. Lead Eel (named ‘E’) lost his mother to cancer. His sister committed suicide. He lost most of his band and several other friends past away. Another failed relationship.
But it’s the follow up to all that – the sad and lonely reflection on what has come, that really punches me in the gut. Because the sadness doesn’t come from wallowing – it comes from childlike hoping. The cover says it all. Thinking so many songs must be about his Mother and Sister, E sings of missing people, and missing homely things like wooden nickels and picnic blankets.
Even the angry title of It’s A Motherfucker is really just a tender ballad. For me, the image that really sticks out for the album is the title of A Daisy Through Concrete. That’s what this album is – a crooked, out of shape flower trying to get through all the heavy shit someone put on top of it.
So where was I in all this? I don’t know. Another failed relationship too. Before I started playing in a band, and I really didn’t know what to do with my life. My friends were in Uni, and I just made the jump from working in a supermarket to working part time at a record store. I was pretty sure the suburb of Campsie would pretty much be it for me.
The only happiness I got was music, and going to gigs. Books. I withdrew myself and got on with it, until a couple of wonderful chances to prove myself were given to me. Life got better quite quickly. But I listen to this record, I remember how much things felt like one big fail.
Years and years later, when I was in my own band called the Reservations (we were amazing by the way), Casey suggested we cover the most popular song on this album – Mr E’s Beautiful Blues. It was a brilliant way to end such a sad record – with one of the most joyous songs I’ve ever heard.
Maybe we’ll get around to doing a version one day. It will be a nice place for my relationship for this record to go. To check back in on that crooked daisy and enjoy the fact it became a big beautiful flower.