Stranded In Stereo: My Formative Years: Troublegum by Therapy?

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Formative Years: Troublegum by Therapy?

From the song Stop it you're Killing Me: The world is fucked, but so am I / Maybe it's the other way around I can't seem to decide. They had me at fucked. The year was 1993. Nirvana had broken huge 2 years earlier. Alternative Rock radio began a brief golden era. The Therapy? album Troublegum exploded. This disc sold over a million copies. it was #5 on the UK version of the Billboard chart. The record must have had 8 singles. I was young impressionable and in a totally unlistenable band and trying to define my sound as a drummer. The sound of Fyfe Ewing's kit was straight out of the garage but still had that snare popping clarity that grabbed me and apparently a million others. The first track was "Knives" The chorus included the classic teenage angst lyric "All people are shit"
"My girlfriend says that I need help / My boyfriend says I'd be better off dead
I'm gonna get drunk / Come round and fuck you up
I'm gonna get drunk / Come round and fuck you up
And you can't help my life / But you can hide the knives"
What could be better than that? Well the rest of the record nearly was. There is not a single weak track on the album. Within days of my purchase I knew the words to every single song and appreciated the nuances of each members performance, even the ballad "Turn." The album mixed blatant pop songs like "Screamager" with thick riffed metal songs like "Trigger Inside" and "Brainsaw." A pall of darkness and discontent connected the whole record. What 16-year-old cant' connect with the lyric "I'm in hell and I'm alone." The Joy division cover "Isolation" only underlined their full rack of indie-cool.

The record stands as an LP in an era of radio singles and vacouous filler. But it had a heaviness they didn't again touch until the 1999 album
Suicide Pact - You First. But I didn't know that. I ravenously bought up their other albums Nurse, the Teethgrinder EP, and the Babyteeth EP. The brand new album Infernal Love was good, but not as good. they are still together today, but my connection to them is very much tied to one album that's now about 15 years old.

Their newer albums have some lingering taste of
Troublegum, and even in some cases some taste of their own greatness. But that initial connection to that first break out album overshadows my ability to appreciate anything they've done since.

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