It isn’t easy to understand how taste and emotional turmoil mix together to breed meaning into songs that were not intended. How a simple line can be grasped on as hormones and depression impact how you hear something, and then you use it like a type of lifeline. So here I am, a young teen, feeling like a big bag of shit, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack is playing in the background at some party. I’m sure there is an unrequited crush somewhere around, because, well, there always seemed to be some sort of unrequited crush going on until I was old enough to not give a shit. (Then it became boy is confused with too many choices… but I digress.)
Now the first half of the Rocky Horror is almost impossible to be depressed to, I mean come on, a bunch of 15-16 year old fools screaming the words to “Time Warp” and “Sweet Transvestite” as if half of them have a clue is always an amusing spectacle. (I can honestly say that at 16, the themes of open sexuality and personal choices/freedoms were lost behind, the “want sex – want sex – want sex” images my brain was interpreting.”)
However, it is song three “Over At The Frankenstein Place” that has always made me return to this album. In my mind, it stands out as another example of a perfect rock influenced pop song. It has a simple message with enough naivety to make you believe in happy endings. In the one line “There’s a light, light in the darkness of everybody’s life” I could slip out of my “oh woes me” life, and believe that even “I” could be happy too. (Yeah, it’s overly dramatic, but, it was also a very long time ago.)
On its own the song can be as happy and uplifting as you want it to be. Put it in a mix between the Beach Boys “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and the Hollies “Bus Stop” and it fits great. There is just enough syrup to see life in primary colours, which is why I had such a strong feeling towards it as a teen. Somebody saying “everything will be all right” sounds like horse manure when your depressed, but hear it in a song – a light starts to glow over your head. Of course, now there is the inevitable “But.”
As a concept album and movie, the second half holds up musically, but is really so goddamned depressing you have to listen to the first half again to cheer yourself up. The whole ‘happy ending thing’ is just blown to shit with Frank dead, and Brad and Janet climbing out of the mud barely able to look at each other. Like life itself, everything is so much more complicated than a ‘perfect pop song.’
Which leads us to the question – should I buy it on vinyl?
Well yeah, of course!
Order this frickin’ collectors copy from Newbury Comics. Why?
Because my context
And the songwriters context
And anyone else’s for that matter
They don’t mean a thing.
This is a record that has one eye on fun and another on nostalgia and will have you laughing and singing along regardless of any context. The pink translucent vinyl just sends this over the top and makes it the perfect gift for the person who sat beside you as you tossed rice at the screen.
If I could go back to that guy I was at 16 I’d shake him and say “Relax, shut your face, do the “Time Warp” and stop worrying about all the shit that hasn’t happened yet. Afterall Dude, your still in the first few songs.”