New Miserable Experience
Released: August 4th, 1992
When I think about being a kid, it feels like thumbing through a wet notebook. Not a lot of memories are singularly visible; they’re all stuck to something else now. I remember shit that was there for sure—I put it in there. Other stuff is melted and soggy, guessed at. At least that’s how it is for me.
One thing that’s stuck to just about everything—“Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms. I think about riding bikes around town with my friends, throwing rocks, and it’s there. Painful, confused adolescent feelings, it’s there. Being in a car at all—goddamn song was everywhere. It’s the soundtrack to everything I think about, whether it was really there or even if I want it to be there. All of those things the songs are stuck to in my head are being replaced by other things, but the songs are still stuck to those new things. It probably wasn’t playing during my first kiss (that would’ve been too perfect) but it is when I think about it now.
Once my older brother swore allegiance to Tupac in the East Coast/West Coast rivalry (we were from Illinois, kinda just had to pick one) I was gifted all of his useless alt rock CDs and cassettes. New Miserable Experience was one of the CDs. I could supplement the moments when “Hey Jealousy” wasn’t on the radio.
Now, it seems my love of this record is proof positive to my friends that I am uncool. Fine, I’ll take that. It probably is uncool. But it’s not just nostalgia that keeps it floating high on my list: I’ll be damned if the entire album isn’t great; deep cuts and all. Maybe it’s timeless power pop, maybe it’s dug itself far enough into my heart that I couldn’t bring myself not to like it. Either way, I keep a cassette in my glovebox, just in case there’s a good road trip or feeling needs a good soundtrack.
Should probably say a gin drink for symmetry, but honestly, it’s probably a cheap domestic beer. A nice, slightly-above-room-temperature Busch or Stag. Before the sun is down.