Bush – Razorblade Suitcase
A record collection is kind of like a restaurant. You gotta curate the shit out of everything. There’s the wine/beer selection, the executive chef, the fucking modern furniture…it’s all methodically and meticulously chosen to send a message to all those who step inside. Similarly, a record collection is the physical embodiment of one’s personal tastes. As such, its owner is responsible for ensuring a consistent tone and style that will both clearly communicate one’s tastes while imparting a bit of oneself to whomever happens to be browsing the collection at a certain time. On second thought, I probably shouldn’t have started drinking before sitting down to write this post. I’m pretty sure I’ve just written a bunch of sentences that don’t make any sense. My point is, I think most collectors take a lot of pride in their records, and probably think of their collections as an extension of themselves. Which is why it’s so totally wrong and hilarious that I own a copy of Razorblade Suitcase on any format, let alone vinyl.
When I was in middle school Bush was a big deal. They had that first album (Sixteen Stone) with its big songs “Comedown,” “Glycerine”, “Machinehead” and to a lesser extent “Everything Zen”. You couldn’t avoid those songs on the radio back in 1995-1996. And I hated Bush because I was still in the grips of my Smashing Pumpkins obsession (I’ve written a tome’s worth of material in the past eight years about my Siamese Dream introduction and die-hard fan phase that lasted from 1994-2000), and there was always reported “beef” between the two bands. Or maybe I just didn’t like that kids at Bar Mitzvah’s were championing “Glycerine” and not “Bullet With Butterfly Wings.” Fuck Bush!
Then Razorblade Suitcase came out in late ’96 and I started to REALLY hate Bush. The Pumpkins were still touring on Mellon Collie and Bush had put out another record. It was like the Beatles vs. the Stones (or maybe The Beach Boys?) only for pasty, tubby white American teens living in the suburbs. I’m pretty sure “Swallowed” was the only huge hit on that album, and I’m sure I made a lot of jokes about the singer of Bush swallowing loads. I was 13 at the time, my joke repertoire was only about…3/4 of where it is as a 31 year old.
When I started collecting vinyl Ian and I used to go to Princeton Record Exchange sometimes once a week. We’d sell off our weight in CDs to buy just as much vinyl. And when we occasionally perused the used CD section there were veritable TONS of copies of Razorblade Suitcase. In about 2003 or 2004, I’d go so far as to say that 1 out of 10 used CDs in any record store were copies of Bush albums. We must have spoken about it a lot…or maybe it was the fact that sometimes we’d get stoned and ironically jam out to “Mouth” in my basement. Somehow Ian and I developed a thing for goofing around playing Bush songs on guitar. And then somehow that transitioned into him buying me a copy of Razorblade Suitcase on vinyl. As far as I know, my copy is a 1996 original, because it’s not the Simply Vinyl 2LP reissue from 1999 and it’s not the colored vinyl reissue from 2012. I don’t know if that makes it worth any more or less, but it definitely has a lot of personal significance to me because it was a gift and I refuse to sell any albums I receive as gifts from friends or family. It’s the reason I’ve held onto my $350 mint mono original copy of Magical Mystery Tour and it’s the reason I’m holding onto my $10 copy of Razorblade Suitcase. It’s special. In that…retarded younger brother kind of way.
It’s also one of the worst records I own. Which makes it perfect for today’s post, as I’m counting off the five worst records in my collection this week. I’m sure this album needs no introduction. You all heard it in the mid-90s. You’ll hear it on classic rock stations for the rest of your life. It sucks just as much now as it did then. And it’ll suck in ten years, too. And twenty. And thirty…
(Interscope – 9009-1, 1996)
A1. Personal Holloway
A2. Greedy Fly
A4. Insect Kin
A5. Cold Contagious
B1. Mouth [MP3]
B5. Distant Voices
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