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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Slowdive - Machine Gun

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They're walking and I know, she's my friend, again
Just the way that the water, drags me down, again
Please don't think I'm a [...] it's my friend, oh yeah
It's just the way that the water, makes me feel, again

I went to HMV store in Hong Kong. I remembered the first time I got there years back. A wide array of artists and bands to choose from, from rarities and obscure albums, as well as classic and foreign movies, just blew me away. Not much by any stretch, considering that record stores are supposed to offer different titles anyway, but comparing this store to, say, Odyssey XL or Tower Records in the Philippines, it just had my mind spinning. If it were up to me, I would, for the life of me, stay here the whole trip and ogle at records that I haven’t even heard of. By the time we’re leaving, I can say that our family vacation in Hong Kong was a totally out of body experience.

On this visit, it was no different.

Saw machine gun
I saw you down
Saw the arrow
I slow you down
It is all I need, yeah

The first move was to buy an album. Despite the temptation to buy zounds of records that would harbor me for at least a year or so, I was intent on buying just one. Just one, I keep telling to myself, before I lose my money on the first day of our vacation in this country. Before actually searching for titles to choose from, a song immediately popped into my mind.

"Machine Gun".

I went to pick up Souvlaki by Slowdive. I held it in my hands. It felt like all unsold records should feel like, jewel cases wrapped in plastic. On the front, the album cover was a pitch black canvas with the group’s black and white photo on the lower right portion of the cover, with the words “slowdive · souvlaki” on the upper left corner. The back continued the black theme, with nothing of particular interest, except that the album includes bonus tracks that is not available on local release. Peeking at the corner of the album, the inlay was not thick, so it obviously isn’t gonna be read-worthy, the inlay, that is.

"Machine Gun".

I remembered hearing that song the very first time, immediately after downloading it from Limewire. “Alison” was great, but this track was just mind-numbing. Imaging floating on liquid sedative, in the middle of nowhere, and as the substance drags the listener into the slow ebb of its waves, a muffled voice from the dark deep hollers a lullaby, mesmerizing and ensconcing the listener into a sleep of a mysterious blue dream.

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They're walking and I know she's my friend, again
Just the way that the water, drags me down, again
Please don't think I'm a [...] it's my friend, oh yeah
It's just the way that the water, makes me feel, again

Enough, I said to myself. I have to see other records before I totally lose my mind like I always do. After a lengthy and thorough search, I was on the verge of choosing between Jeff Buckley’s Grace and Elliott Smith’s posthumous album, its title I quickly forgot. At first, I simply have to own Grace, an album I was drooling over for the past 2 years. As for Elliott Smith, owning his very last album would be a fitting tribute to an artist who made a living using depression, emptiness, and sadness as his muse. I was torn. Both of these albums are not available in the Philippines (I heard that Grace was available on local stores, but so far, I have yet to see it.) But the power of "Machine Gun"’s chorus drags me in again into its wonderful world of black obscurity, and this time, it won’t let me go…

Saw machine gun
I saw you down
Saw the arrow
I slow you down
It is all I need, yeah

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