30 Albums, 30 Stories: Psychic Warfare


This November, I’m telling 30 stories about 30 albums. The albums on this list are not necessarily my favorite albums, but they are the ones that are instantly associated with a time and place. All of these albums represent a chapter of my life. This is the story of those albums, and by extension, the story of me, presented mostly chronologically.

Album 30: Psychic Warfare by Clutch.

I always say that I don’t have a favorite band. I have a lot of favorite bands and several hundred favorite songs. I have a massive music library. This big:

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That said, when you get down to it, Clutch is my favorite band. They are the most listened artist on my last.fm profile. I’ve seen them live more than any other band. I’ve been a fan since practically the beginning. I have 306 Clutch songs in my music library, though they don’t have that many songs. A lot of them are duplicates from different live performances.

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The only artist I have more of than Clutch is Tom Waits:

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Not surprising really since I have his entire discography and Tom Waits has been making music a full twenty years longer than Clutch.

A huge chunk of Clutch’s 306 song are rated 5 stars in my library.

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This isn’t a full list; just what would fit on the screen.
So, by most measurements, Clutch is my favorite band. This is the second Clutch album in this series, and honestly, I’ve shown remarkable restraint in not listing all of them, because they all take me to a time and place. This band has been a part of my life since 1993.

A new Clutch album has always been an event. I digest them slowly. Even now, I still buy them on CD.

First thing I do with a new Clutch album is listen to it straight through for a general first impression without trying to make out the lyrics or anything else. With successive plays, I start hearing the lyrics and the hooks, and I get to know the songs. It’s funny that, through this process, the song that I love on first listen is not usually the song that is my favorite in the end.

This album was released just last month. Like all new Clutch albums, I pre-ordered it along with yet another new Clutch hoodie (which I’m wearing as I write this). That’s another Clutch thing I have a lot of: 20 years of wardrobe.

Like all the others, this album will remind me of where I was when it was released. This one will be the fall of 2015 in Los Angeles. It will remind me of the first Halloween and the first Thanksgiving after the love of my life died. It will remind me of a terrible summer followed by a terrible fall with a shitty job, a broken car that I don’t know how I’m going to pay for (again), a broken heart, and a broken brain that’s experiencing another bout of depression that’s so bad it’s a wonder I can get out of bed.

As terrible as this year has been, and it has been very terrible (even without all the other stressy stuff, Male’s death is the hardest thing ever), it hasn’t all been bad. It will remind me of friends who’ve been there for me. It will remind me of forcing myself to write posts even when I didn’t want to–especially when I didn’t want to–and following through on posting every day in November. I could have easily given up, but I didn’t. It will remind me of this post at this moment with all of you.

Favorite track:

Clutch never stops being awesome. They’ve consistently put out great albums for over 20 years with the same members. This album is no exception. I like it better than the last one and my favorite track changes almost daily. I could go with almost any song on this album, so here’s the first track on the album and the first single they released.

Thanks for coming along on this musical tour of my life. It ended up being far more work and far more emotionally exhausting than anticipated. Here’s to another successful end to Nano Poblano and NaBloPoMo. See you next year, Team Tiny Peppers! High five.

We now return to our regularly sporadic posting.