As I said earlier, I wasn’t all that into music as a kid. Apart from the kiddie stuff, I can’t recall much music beyond what my parents forced upon me (and lets not go there). I do remember getting a CD-player (and my mother winning some CDs with a game on the radio before that), and one of the first kinda cool CDs we had, was a promotional sampler from our local super market. Looking over that track list, it’s a trip down memory lane.
This live version of “Symphony of Angels” was the last of three bonus tracks tacked onto Queen of the Ocean, the first Lana Lane album I bought, but I was sold long before I reached it. I first heard her on Ayreon’s Universal Migrator albums, and that was reason enough to seek out her own work. A sticker on that album made her out to be “the Queen of Symphonic Rock”, and I could go for that.
Her next album, Secrets of Astrology is my favorite of hers, especially the monumental title track. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was little she could do wrong for me.
Last year, I saw Hanson in Paradiso. During “If Only” I nearly lost it completely. Ever since Hanson released it as a single in 2000, it had been one of my go-to songs when I, ever the hopeless romantic, was once again drowning in heartache, suffering through another terrible, all-consuming crush I’d never cop to. If only I had the guts to feel that way.
So many times I’d been waiting, wondering, hoping what would happen if only I’d finally work up the courage to not just sit there waiting, wondering, hoping, but y’know, get it right, actually do something with that feeling screaming in the back of my head. Speak up and lay my heart out on the line. But, of course, with so many boys being so damn close to prefect, so many boys so much funner than me, that never happened.
So, during this song, I’m tearing up like it’s nobody’s business, and The Missus looked at me and said she never knew I’d been so lonely. Now, that might have been stretching it a bit too far, but boy, the great American philosopher Jim Steinman was onto something when he said that “‘If only’ are the loneliest words you’ll ever know.”
20th Century Ghosts is Joe Hill’s first publication, a collection of his early short stories. While I first learned about Joe Hill through his short story “The Devil on the Staircase” in Stories, I am not sure this bundle would have won me over.
It starts of fine, with “Best New Horror” and the titular tale, and then, well, there’s a couple of stories that are just there. Not good, not bad, just sorta kinda in the middle. In the middle of those, there’s another interesting one (“The Black Phone”) and then “Voluntary Committal” closes the book on a high note.
Seems to me that Hill was still trying to find his stride, and succeeding here and there.
Joe Hill — 20th Century Ghosts
A month before his deadline, Eddie Carroll ripped open a manila envelope, and a magazine called The True North Literary Review slipped out into his hands. (from “Best New Horror”)