19. Guster – Goldfly
Guster! I was introduced to Guster in kind of a weird way. I was working in Holland at the time, and my friend Lindsay Veldhof invited me over to her place. Her roommate was from out east (New Jersey, I think), and when I came over, we were hanging out, and she asked if I had ever heard of Guster. I said I had not, and so she played me a song from them (Happy Frappy). I thought it sounded nice, but nothing spectacular. One week later I went to a Barenaked Ladies concert at Van Andel with Emily, and the opening act was Guster. To say I was blown away would be a pathetic understatement. Here was a band where the drummer played bongos (and it sounded amazing), and the two guitar playing singers looked and sounded like they were having so much fun you couldn’t help but like them. BNL was good, as expected, but when I got home, it was Guster I wanted to get a hold of. Emily had one album, and loaned it to me, and I put it in my cd player, and it remained there until Christmas (we’re talking months). For Christmas I received Guster – Goldfly. At first, I wasn’t so sure about it… I didn’t like it quite as much as the other album I had… but by the time my Christmas break was over (we’re talking 2 or 3 days), I had listened to it many, many times, and really liked it. If you were in the Unix lab at Calvin from January – May of 2001, you’ve heard this album. And it seemed like those that got to hear it really took to it, and liked it as well. (I remember getting Rocketship stuck in Serita’s head for quite a while.) I then made it a point to spread the joy of Guster to everyone and anyone I could.
So the album itself… If you’re completely unfamiliar with Guster, they have a harmony-rich, folksy sound that can range from rock to bluegrass. They have songs that sound like Simon and Garfunkel or the Beach Boys, and others that have a sound all their own. That having been said, here are some of the songs:
- Great Escape: It opens with the frantic bongos that I have to say, is amazing to see performed live. (Kristin got me tickets to a show in downtown Chicago, so she and I got to see them back in ’01, and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. They’re one of those fun bands that’ll just start improving at the drop of the hat, or do a cover just to make fun of the band they are covering [poor Bryan Adams]. They also did a cover of The Turtles – So Happy Together that was so good, I almost died of joy. ) Anyway, it starts full of energy, and that energy stays constant throughout the entire song… Circle, Circle, Dot! Dot! Dot!
- Demons: This band is fun and funny, but many of the songs are deep and often dark. This is one of those songs. Check these lyrics:
…it’s easier sometimes
Not to be sincere
Somehow I make you believe. Believe.
When I speak I cross my fingers
Will you know you’ve been deceived? I find a need to be the demon
A demon cannot be hurt
Honest is easy
Fiction is where genius lies
Cause it’s easier sometimes
Not to be involved
Somehow I make you believe…
This song is also a ton of fun to play, as it’s not all that complicated, but has a few string slides in it that sound kewl. This is one of my favorite songs on the album.
- Airport Song: A snazzy song that ends with one amazing drum solo/guitar jam … then the sound of ping-pong balls being hit back and forth. I always found that funny and confusing.
- Rocketship: My favorite song on the album, this is a song about suicide that I didn’t realize was about suicide for quite some time (until I read the lyrics, anyway). This song just sounds so pretty, and so perfect to sing along to, that you can’t help but like it.
So yeah, I realize that Rocketship is about suicide, but it still reminds me of the good days my senior year in the Unix lab. For the first time in a very, very long time, I felt like I belonged and was liked somewhere, and it was a great feeling. So hearing this song reminds me of that feeling, and those people.