Friday, January 15, 2016

Hippies vs. Punks: The Lemonheads' Creator (1988)

The plan is that for the remaining Fridays in January Hippies vs. Punks will be devoted to what I believe to be the seminal recordings of The Lemonheads -- Creator (1988), Lick (1989) and the major-label debut on Atlantic Lovey (1990), leaving us deposited in February at the doorstep of It's a Shame About Ray (1992), the breakthrough album for Evan Dando during the zenith of Grunge.

It is unclear at this point if I'll have the stomach to plow forward to Car Button Cloth (1996), the last album before the band was mothballed; there is some merit in doing so because the seven albums The Lemonheads produced from 1987 to 1996 correspond to the rise and fall of Grunge, a decade when it seemed possible that there might be some sort of durable counterculture forming.

The release of Creator in August 1988 coincided with my relocation to New York City. I bought the album at Bleecker Bob's in the West Village, probably after work or on my lunch break at my first job in the Big Apple, a research assistant for a lady manager at Scholastic Magazines.

I listened to the album a lot because it reaffirmed a sense of pure youth endangered as I became devoured by the brutal post-collegiate workaday world. Looking back now I realize that the hat tips to Charles Manson on Creator -- "Your Home Is Where You're Happy" and "Die Right Now" -- were an upside down flag, a signal of not only distress but refusal to assimilate.

This refusal to assimilate would mark my years from 1988 all the way to the millennium. By the time the millennium rolled around the confidence of a youth-based counterculture had been narrowed to a select urban milieu, which I suppose is a return to the origins of Punk.

But in 1988 the Grunge rocketship is fueling on its launch pad, and in 1989 it would blast off.

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