One for Friday: Superchunk, “Florida’s on Fire”

Typically this space is devoted to songs that embedded themselves into my music fan psyche when I was working at the college radio station during my time as an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. However, I had another tour of duty with student-run radio, serving as the advisor and General Manager for several years at WPRK-FM at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. When I started the job, it was a major transition in many respects, not the least of which was the relocation from America’s Dairyland to the Sunshine State. The first time we drove into our new home state, the highway was cloaked in a thick haze. Turns out it was just the result of a significant part of the nearby terrain being on fire. No big deal. Happens all the time.

I also had to become reacquainted with the ins and outs of radio, having been completely out of the field for a couple of years. This include the pleasure of getting caught up on all the bands that had come to dominate college radio playlists in the time since I had been a student DJ. One of those groups was Superchunk, who had first started putting out albums on the upstart Matador label when I was in college, but I’m not sure any of that material ever crossed the threshold of our station. If it did, it didn’t make an impact in me, which would only be partially explained by their first hugely significant release coming out the year after I graduated. I knew of them, but had barely heard their music up to that point.

During my first fall at WPRK, Superchunk released the album that was widely expected to be their finale, Here’s to Shutting Up, and it did indeed serve as that until their well-received and damn good reunion effort, Majesty Shredding, showed up in 2010. On Shutting Up, one of the station’s most astute and knowledgeable staff members wrote on the label that was affixed to all of the CDs at WPRK, “Superchunk grows up, and that’s a good thing!” I kind of felt the same way about myself, so that was already a good sign that the album was a fine one for me to lean on in stirring up my rejuvenated knowledge about the music scene. Then there was the nice detail that my favorite track on the album evoked the transition I was making, particularly my experience in driving through the state for the first time as a pending Floridian. What can I say? “Florida’s on Fire” is just a great song.

Superchunk, “Florida’s on Fire”

(Disclaimer: It appears to me that Here’s to Shutting Up is out of print, but I’ve been burned before with the small labels that seem to register a little differently with the major online retailers I rely upon to check the availability of hard copies of releases. While I’ll gladly use their sites as research, I maintain that it’s best to purchase CDs, vinyl records and other music-related ephemera from your favorite local, independently-owned record store. So if I’m wrong about the status of Here’s to Shutting Up, please do ask for it by name. If I’m right and it can’t be purchased through those means, there are several other Superchunk albums worth exploring, including the previously mentioned reunion album. Despite my lack of certainty about the status of the record that this week’s One for Friday track emanates from, I’m leaving the song up here. That typed, it’ll vanish from this corner of the Interweb faster than Daytona racers if I’m contacted by someone with due authority to request its removal making exactly that sort of request.)

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