Change and Comfort Albums

This morning, I grabbed my copy of That Dog’s Retreat from the Sun on my way out the door.  It’s been more than a few years since I listened to this record, and I’ve just been struck by how important it is to me.

Retreat from the Sun came out in April 1997, ten full years ago.  I remember spotting it in the racks as I was browsing the Western Hills Media Play with my friend George.  I had no idea the record was coming out.  I just happened to spot it.  I snatched it up because I’d loved the band’s previous record, Totally Crushed Out.  As soon  as we returned to George’s place, we popped the CD into the player to see what That Dog had come up with for their third album.

I was floored.

From the lazy country bounce of “I’m Gonna See You” through the driving rock of “Long Island” to the sadness of “Until the Day I Die,” the record just spoke to me in that way records seem to when you’re young.

In April of 1997, I was twenty years old.  I wanted to be a screenwriter or a recording engineer or a rock star depending on which day of the week it was.  I working at a Little Caeser’s that was about to close.  I was still trying to get over a girl who’d dumped me almost a year earlier, and I was realizing I was never going to be happy in small town Indiana.  I was changing from the person I was into the person I would someday be, and it hurt like hell.

Retreat from the Sun helped.

There was so much pain and love and sadness and optimism in that one record, written by a woman who didn’t want to be a part of her own band anymore, forced by her record company to make one more album with them.  I kind of felt the same way.

Five months later, That Dog broke up.  I still have that record, though, and it’s still one of my “comfort records,” music I can listen to whenever I need to get grounded again.  The Afghan Whigs’ What Jail is Like single is one.  Everclear’s Sparkle and Fade is another.  There’s a few more, but I’ll keep those to myself, tucked away safe.

To conclude, here’s some of my favorite lyrics from the record…

“I’m gonna see you when you’re boring.
I’m gonna see you every night.”

“You should be my new best friend.”

“You’d sit in your house.  You’re writing out your will.
He’d be there holding your baby, and I’d be there holding him still.”

“I have this problem with you.
I wanna work it out, but I don’t know how to.”

“I want to set a place for you at my table.
We can sit forever watching reruns on cable.”

“And I saw you, a dream come true.”

“You’re the most valuable player, but I’ve chosen the wrong team.”

“And no matter how hard I try, this will be until the day I die.”

So, what are your comfort records?