Classic & Current Contemporary Non-Schlock-Rock Metropolitan Music
Grave Disorder (Aug. 2001) - The Damned
The Damned first caught my ear when IRS records sent us The Black Album at WFDD. Yet as much as I liked the Damned, it wasn't until a few years later than I became a hardcore Damned fan. By the time I was obsessed with Phantasmagoria about a year after its 1985 release, I was no longer in radio. So my early playlists don't reflect how much I grew to love this band. During the second half of the 1980s, The Damned were in my top faves and I had acquired most of their albums.
Then you know the early 90s rolled in with Nirvana and I found myself abandoning some of the older stuff I had listened to because there was so much new stuff going around. It's not that I ever stopped liking The Damned; I just didn't listen to them with the fervor that I did in the 1980s.
In 2001, I was working as a developer at a software company. My desk was next to the company's two search engine optimization gurus, Tom and Darren. I discovered that both of them shared my love of music.
When Grave Disorder was released, Darren loaned me the CD to listen to some of the time while I was coding. I thought it was quite good but I wasn't able to give it my full attention. Just the same, I was thrilled when I heard The Damned would be playing a gig at the Cat's Cradle about an hour away from where I lived. This would be my first chance to see The Damned live.
Although there was a good-sized crowd for the show, I found it hard to compute why the place wasn't packed, given my years of reverence for this band. Especially considering that Captain Sensible was back. My friend Steve used to say "Never let the guy with the skirt leave the band," referring to The Damned and The Replacements. (Another story for another day.)
I had only known of singer Dave Vanian as a long-haired goth figure, so it was quite a surprise to see him come on stage with short, Elvis-style hair, dark glasses, and leather gloves. His performance was so mesmerizing by then I could hardly imagine the more "goth" Dave Vanian belting out these newer tunes from Grave Disorder. The show was fantastic except for the fact that when I tried to dance close to the stage, no one would give me any room. These dudes were just standing there watching. I kept trying to get Captain Sensible's attention to get him to make these guys move so I could dance, but he didn't see me.
Unfortunately, we had to leave just as the encore was starting. On the way out Hubby and I ran into the band. I chatted with Monty Oxymoron for a minute or so as Captain Sensible adjusted his newly adorned pink tutu. I was sad to have to leave and not catch the end of the show. My buddy Darren from work was there until the end and he said it was rather bizarre but great.
Years later - 2006 to be specific - I rediscovered The Damned's Grave Disorder and downloaded it. Over the past year I have found myself drawn more and more to this incredible album. I truly think this is the best Damned album - and that's saying a lot considering how much I love their earlier works.
Lately, thanks to my iPod, I have been paying more attention to the lyrics. With most music, it's the sonic qualities that usually grab me first before the lyrics. I have always found The Damned's music to be incredibly beautiful as well as rocking so sonically Grave Disorder was a no-brainer on that one with its catchy and haunting melodies. Then you have a song like "Amen" that is so in your face you can't help but pay attention to the lyrics.
As many times as I have listened to this album, however, it wasn't until recently that I began to appreciate the insightful lyrics to songs like "W" (as in "George W") and "Neverland" (as in Michael Jackson's former abode). I guess I gotta be careful here or this essay is going to start to sound like a review. But I gotta say, Grave Disorder is a brilliant, engaging record. And it is records like this that make me glad to be back on the radio - however long it lasts - just so I can play songs from it.
The Damned - Grave Disorder Original Album Tracks