Showtime Goma: 5 Albums That Changed My Life
Jen Goma of A Sunny Day in Glasgow recently emerged as Showtime Goma and released her solo album, Smiley Face. It’s a varied, defiantly weird (yet exquisitely poppy) affair, featuring the talents of Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier and plenty more friends.
Before hitting the road with Of Montreal, Goma gave us a look at some records that changed her life. “I like this question because I don’t even know how to talk about history,” she told us. “History to me seems to be the most recent lie we can come up with. So I don’t know if this is true or not, but it’s true right now.”
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David Bowie and Trevor Jones, Labyrinth: The Original Soundtrack
This is probably one of the first pieces of music I was ever able to ask for by name. I was a really (well, I still am) a big Jim Henson fan. And the music in his movies has always been really nice, ear-wormy. What can I say, I really liked it! I now know Paul Williams was one of the writers of Rainbow Connection, and he has some fun solo records. But, yeah, I always just liked the songs in Henson movies, but these Bowie songs, they really knocked me out! They were sonically so crazy for a kid who was used to hearing honky-tonk piano and banjo in a Muppet movie. And David Bowie made me feel so weird. Not to mention the songwriting! I really hadn’t heard anything like them before. Rock I guess? I was in first or second grade, man; it rocked my socks off. I don’t know, I was fixated; I used to listen to that soundtrack all the time.
Stephen Steinbrink is a friend of mine. I met him in Arizona when we were both sixteen or seventeen? This record is an amazing record. I think we were friends before I had ever heard it. But once I heard it I thought, ‘Wait, I know this person! How is it possible that I know the human who made this?’
The music is so important to me because it sounds exactly like the time it was made in. I was identifying with recorded sound! Haha, it just hadn’t happened in this way for me before. But more than loving the songs, needing to hear the songs all the time, it was eye-opening to me to know the human that made this. Even though I’d experienced creativity and invention constantly, being in theater growing up, this was the first time I connected the dots between a human and the work they were able to make. It made me feel like anything was possible.
Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
I can’t articulate how this has changed my life because it’s still happening. I’m still in it, just the same it has nothing to do with me. So yeah, I just know that it’s out, I heard it and things are different now.
Michael Jackson, Thriller
I feel like the only reason I even got to hear this was because MTV and radio stations would emphasize playing ‘Thriller’ around Halloween. And I like Halloween a lot, and I really liked this song because I associated it with Halloween. But I didn’t realize that this Halloween Song singer, i.e. Michael Jackson, had other songs! So when I finally got to hear other songs by him, this whole record, I was pretty amazed at how candy music could be. I feel like I always knew that I liked music and that it was fun, but I didn’t realize it could be so mood-elevating and exacting. Because I remember liking parts of songs (the choruses) and not being able to remember the rest. But this was probably the first time I realized that songs could be the exact thing you want to hear measure after measure.
Eminem, The Eminem Show/Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods
Both of these albums turned me onto so much more; they were a jumping-off point. And I think they both were considered taboo at the time when I heard them. Well, Eminem actually had a shitstorm of people railing against him on TV/in the news; ya know he rapped about it a lot.
Sondheim was not at all publicly hated on that level. I just recall him being someone that people in theater would describe as being difficult to listen to. And I don’t know if it was their reputations, but I just remember some magic around opening these forbidden boxes and expecting I-dunno-what inside! Something truly awful? And after I got into it, I thought, ‘Oh, it’s just music inside here, and I like it.’
(Photo credit: Luxie Productions)
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