JUNE 1995, at a quarry somewhere outside of Cleveland (in rural northeastern Ohio), I suddenly came to. I had been tripping balls on a two-week bender of excessive alcohol and a countless hallucinogenics of varying acronyms… ragged khaki shorts hung loose from my taut 6’2″ 177-pound frame, my dingy brown Pearl Jam “Choices” t-shirt was caked stained in body paint and mud of curious hues. My shoes were gone, and my long wild mane was matted against my face, smelling faintly of sweat, patchouli and sour tobacco. A raging rave that lasted a fortnight, the carnies had now packed up and disappeared — leaving scatted piles of lost souls awakening, blinking blindly in the dawn’s early light.
I had gone through the looking glass but was now back on earth. I had lived a waking dream where I saw my past, present, and future converge. But now, I was awake for real. The party was over.
This was the first thing I thought of as the final bars of Daft Punk‘s 2013 album Random Access Memories (closing track “Contact”) faded into a swirling, clicking, and liquid undulating denouement. I felt rode hard and put away wet. It was as exhilarating an experience as I’ve ever had with an album, and I’ve listened to some heavy shit in my day.
But this album is lovely. The best album of 2013, I’m prepared to say. Sweet and mellow like watermelon on a hot Summer day… just as sticky, and just as messy.