1999 was a good year. I turned nine and the world was terrified about December 31st fearing that when the clock struck midnight and the new year began that the world would just suddenly implode somehow. Crazy, right? Well, one of my favorite things came out that year, it was a CD titled Lost and Gone Forever and it was by a band called Guster.
Two years earlier Guster had just started to make their mark in the music scene with their second studio album Goldfly and then they signed to a major label and released Lost and Gone Forever which changed them from just being a small band from Boston, Mass. to being a band that would have singles all over radio stations and in some small TV shows and even some blockbuster movies.
Now I did mention that at the time I was nine years old, so a lot of this I only know because I follow the band and fact check information on their wikipedia page, but what I do know is how much this album has changed my life.
Guster has always had a unique sound. They have two vocalists Ryan and Adam who often switch out singing in the middle of their songs (at least in their earlier CDS) and they also use a lot of percussion instruments such as bongos. I remember seeing them live at The State Theater in Portland, Maine with my parents and I watched in awe as their drummer, Brian, quickly pounded on the drums and cymbals with his bare hands. I swear it looked like he must have lost about ten pounds from that show alone.
Enough about the history of the band though, let’s get to why it’s one of my most influential albums. The first time I vividly remember hearing the band was at my parent’s old lake house on Thompson Lake in Maine. I was sitting in my room and listening to their song “Barrel Of A Gun” on repeat. I had never heard something so powerful. It had this weird style to it where it was dark and aggressive, but incredibly poppy and catchy at the same time. I then went on to rip the CD to my iPod and would listen to it religiously after school when walking home with tracks like “Happier” and “Center of Attention” on repeat. At that stage in life I was just realizing what it meant to have depression and those two songs, as depressing as they are, really helped me get through a lot of rough times. “Happier” is all about leaving your friends behind and being on your own and “Center of Attention”, well, that’s pretty self explanatory.
But its impact was even greater than I thought. Now I’m twenty-four years old and I’m still discovering new things about the CD such as how other songs connect to my current life, how the music and harmonies of the vocals compliment meanings behind the lyrics and how ultimately the CD flows so flawlessly from beginning to end. The CD really helped me because it expressed things in ways that I never could and someday, if I ever get back to music, I really hope I can do my best to emulate some of their greatness.
Here are my favorite tracks from the album:
“What You Wish For”, “Barrel Of A Gun”, “Center of Attention”, “Happier”, “I Spy” and “So Long”