The very first time – so important (cause you’ll always remember it)

All my “social medias” (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace…) have been flooded with info about the new Firewind album “Few Against Many“, which has been gradually presented the past few months (and especially now in May).

They started by playing 2 new songs live (Athens in January), and I loved “Wall of Sound” in the live-version, it had a cool riff and a snappy chorus. It’s still good in the recorded version, however it sounds too “clean” and has lost some of the live-roughness, I think. But I will have to listen a few more times before I decide.

Then, there was the release of the single online – on YouTube. And then there was the live streaming of the whole album on Guitar World’s site a few days before it was released in Europe, then the US then….worldwide.

[Gus talking about the new album]

So, there has been a LOT of PR for this one. And I travelled all over the globe last year to see these dudes live. 20 gigs, to be precise, from north to south, from east to west. I’ve got some great memories from those travels (some of them in the Firewind tourblog:

BUT…. I haven’t heard the new album yet. 

I actually don’t want to. I have had all the oportunities in the world really, but the thing is that I’m on vacation right now with only a small little travel-laptop, and the sound won’t do the album ANY favors.

I have learned that sometimes it’s worth waiting to get that real, good experience (see, it’s not just sex). ;-)

If I listen to it now, on a little laptop with its built-in crappy speakers, it will sound absolutely awful. And my first impression of the album will be “it sucks”. Cause you NEVER get a second chance to make a first impression.

I’ve also learned that you appreciate music more if you’ve actually had to buy it. Well, I’m old-school, if it’s a band that I REALLY like, I want a CD or a vinyl even, if there’s a special edition or something.

It’s a special feeling to get a real CD and flip through the pages of the booklet, or like back in the old days, start reading the lyrics before even listening to the album (or curling up somewhere with the lyrics while blasting the songs for the very first time).

Almost every vinyl that I’ve got at home, has a story behind it – and I remember each and every one. Those that I bought when I was still a kid, were extra special cause I had to save up to be able to buy them. Sometimes I would try to get dad to buy an LP for me by explaining how I really REALLY had to have that particular album…! He got a few Boney M-LP’s for me in the 70s, a Beatles “20 Greatest Hits” and an ABBA-LP.

One of the very first albums I bought was Judas Priest‘s “Unleashed In The East” (I’ve told that story so many times that I’ll spare you this time :-) ). The second Priest-album I got was “Screaming For Vengeance“, but the deal was that my friend Camilla and I had agreed on getting eachother Christmas-presents that we could pick out ourselves. She chose Def Leppard’sOn Through The Night” and I wanted “Screaming for Vengeance”. We simply swopped. So, in a way I guess I bought it myself – kind of. It’s still one of my favorite albums of all time.

Then I went to this “K-Mart” thing in Sweden called Åhléns in the early 80’s and bought lots of cheap vinyls that were imported from Spain or something, and so called “cut-outs” (they would cut a small bit of the cover and sell it cheaper). Got Kiss Lick It Up” and Scorpions Blackout” that way for instance. I can even describe how it looked where I got them and the feeling I had when I had decided on which ones I wanted. It was something else, really. :-)

[This is a “cut out”]


 In the recording industry, a cut-out refers to a deeply-discounted or remaindered copy of an LP…. When LPs were the primary medium for distribution or recording, manufacturers would physically cut the corner, punch a hole, or add a notch to the spine of the jacket of unsold records returned from retailers; these “cut-outs” might then be re-sold to record retailers or other sales outlets for sale at a discounted price. A special section of a record store devoted to such items was known as the cut-out bin or bargain bin. – Wikipedia

Fast-forwarding to 1988 when I started writing for Kvällsposten and suddenly had records thrown my way. I litterally had sacks of records waiting for me at the office every week. For years they just kept coming, from every major label there was (this was still the era where the record companies ruled, the era before the internet).

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but I’ve got boxes of CD’s that I haven’t even removed the plastic from. Some of those are now out of print and super rare. To me they were just “junk” because I had too many records to choose from. I didn’t appreciate what I got. 

Since people stopped buying music and mp3’s are now more common than a physical CD, it’s just not quite the same. It’s very CONVENIENT and I’m as guilty as anyone else of ripping and swopping stuff back and forth instead of buying it. But the feeling is not the same.

The best example would be the DYNAZTY-album. At first, I got a link from the label, to one of those special players where you can’t download anything, you can only listen.

It was a great album, eventhough I had trouble getting that player to work properly, so they sent me a bunch of mp3’s. Still cool songs, but…. Then, there was a burnt CD-ROM thing, which was better but… It was always that “…but…“.

Then – FINALLY I received the ACTUAL REAL CD, with a note from the PR-lady thanking me for the patience and for the great review.
It wasn’t until I had the real CD that I felt it kicked major ass! It’s simply something special about owning an album as opposed to having something digital that is just abstract.

A record-collection is something quite different from having an mp3-collection on your computer. Most of those mp3’s were probably illegally downloaded and you didn’t have to look long to find them – right?

Having a record collection is almost like having a photo album – your whole life is right there. Your different phases, tastes, memories, feelings, and you had to do something to acquire it.

My point is, in order to get in the right mood for a new album, you sometimes want to make sure that everything is JUST right – the speakers, the sound quality, the album and your mood. Listening to an album on a good day will make you remember that feeling every time you listen to that album in the future.

You just never forget your first… ;) Make sure you get it just right.


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