One for Friday: Happy Hate Me Nots, “Things Wearing Thin”

My music collection, at least as represented digitally, covers a lot of sonic territory. Once I became a true and total convert to my iPod and its “Shuffle Songs” feature, I worked hard to make that little device into the radio station I always long for, the radio station that already existed to a large degree in my collegiate past. I adored the vastness and variety of our music library at the college radio station, which afforded the DJs the chance to theoretically tap into every conceivable genre and subgenre of music, especially if they were artful explorers of the specialty stacks focused on the likes of punk, classical, reggae, jazz and many others.

Despite that current compulsion, I sometimes look back with regret on my self-perceived lack of adventure in building out playlists back then. I would occasionally dip my metaphorical toe into something well outside my comfort zone only to go scrambling back to the sort of sound I rigidly preferred as quickly as possible. Too often, my version of playlist diversity came from plucking obscure bands from the library that nicely reinforced my own tastes. When I found one of those bands that could ostensibly demonstrate my depth of knowledge while also hitting my sharp, fast guitar sweet spot they wound up cycling through my shows forever.

The album Out from Happy Hate Me Nots must have landed in rotation sometime during the fall of 1988, my first semester at the radio station. Before I poked around a little today, discovering, for example, that they were from Australia, I’m not sure I knew a thing about them except there were a lot of TV screens on their album cover. But I also knew that their songs fit in well between, say, Husker Du and Soul Asylum, completing the barrage of guitars and drums that usually made up one of my sets. The album was good, but it was also familiar, and it was the latter quality that probably drew me to it most strongly at first.

Now, it’s actually easier for me to hear the music for what is is and enjoy it as brash, tough, energetic and unpretentiously enjoyable. It’s no long part of a big block of similar music to me. It stands out in a way that I never let it as a DJ.

Happy Hate Me Nots, “Things Wearing Thin”

(Disclaimer: I’m operating with the assumption that Out is out of print, and probably has been for a good long time. I barely looked into it, to be honest. Maybe trolling through the Australia version of Amazon would have yielded a different result. Regardless, should I be contacted by someone who feels quite strongly that the song posted above should be removed from the Internet, I will gladly and promptly comply.)

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