TRON is not a good movie, but it’s one of my favorites.
For most of my adult life, I credited the video game for fostering that affection. I could never get past the third level, but it didn’t stop me from dropping quarters into the machine when I could.
I’ve watched TRON a number of times in the past few years, the most recent a television broadcast. The movie looks great, its art direction forward-thinking enough to overcome the dated computer graphics. The actors do their best with the dialogue, but the story from 1982 has a naivety that pales next to the future that came after it.
For all its faults, TRON holds a tight grip on my imagination. I never really examined why till my mom unearthed a vinyl record: The Story of TRON.
Before VCRs and the home theaters it would spawn, Disney understood not all families could make a night at the movie theater, so it released condensed version of its movies on record with narrators describing the action between snatches of dialogue and music from the soundtrack.
I desperately wanted to see TRON in a theater, but my parents wouldn’t budge until it played on a second run at a theater on base. So it was some months after the movie’s opening that I got to see it on the big screen. Well, kinda — I forgot my glasses, so most everything was a smudge.
Until that day, I had to content myself with The Story of TRON. That might have ultimately ruined the movie for me.
I played the record after more than 30 years and actually enjoyed hearing most of the story shaved of its cruft. In a way, listening to The Story of TRON is actually better than watching the movie.
And I think I may have realized that when I finally got to see the movie. I had hoped for a life-altering experience similar to Star Wars. It didn’t happen. TRON fell off my radar as I got older, and I wouldn’t really develop fondness for the movie till I saw it again as an adult.
At that point, I had to rib my younger self for falling for the onslaught of marketing at the time, but I had completely forgotten how The Story of TRON fueled much of that anticipation.
When I moved out of my parents’ house in 1997, I took my record collection with me, but The Story of TRON was left behind, then subsequently forgotten for 22 years.
It’s back in the collection again, its role in influencing my life full acknowledged.
Onitsuka Chihiro, Syndrome (Premium Edition), March 20
Aside from a poster and a photo book, this premium edition of Syndrome also includes a second disc of the entire album without vocals. Karaoke! It’s also housed in an LP-sized jacket. I say, just stick a vinyl version of the album in that jacket!
Weezer, Weezer (The Teal Album), March 8
I’m usually ambivalent about Weezer, but this album is actually fun. It’s been available on streaming services for a while now.
Gang of Four, Happy Now, March 29
I might check this out when it’s released, but I have to admit I haven’t even listened to Complicit yet. The band’s previous album, What Happens Next, was one of the last I downloaded from eMusic before I canceled my subscription.
Idlewild, Interview Music, April 5 (UK)
Idlewild dropped off my radar right around the middle of the last decade, so I’m not sure if they’ve got successively safer with each album or if they reverted back to the brashness of Hope Is Important.
The Drums, Brutalism, April 5
I think I’m still following the Drums because Jonny Pierce synthesizes post-punk in a way more sophisticated than Interpol, the Killers or the Strokes ever did.
Massive Attack, Mezzanine (Deluxe Edition), April 19 (UK)
I picked this album up from the thrift store in 2018. I like it, but enough to drop money on a deluxe edition?
BBMak, TBD, April 26
Don’t judge. I’ll be in London when this album comes out. HMV will probably be shuttered by that time.
… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Madonna, March 5
I missed out on the 2013 reissue of this album, so I’ve already placed my pre-order.
Mikami Chisako, I AM Ready!, March 6
I won’t lie — I would rather see fra-foa’s Chuu no Fuchi reissued on vinyl, but I AM Ready! was enjoyable. Maybe enjoyable enough to get on vinyl?
Utada Hikaru, “Face My Fears”, March 6
I’m getting this less for the new song and more for the English version of “Chikai”, going by the title “Don’t Think Twice”. “Chikai” is probably the most rhythmically confounding song Utada has written.
It looks like the January break is going to last for a bit longer.
At the start of January, I took a trip home to inspect a box of records my mom discovered. It turned out to be most of my dad’s records and a fraction of my brother’s collection. My two sisters’ meager collections were nowhere to be found.
I shipped everything worth taking. (A number of Disney storybook records were unsalvageable.) Alas, I had run out of shelf space to accommodate the new arrivals.
So I spent a weekend assembling new shelves and moving old shelves around, all the while listening to some my brother’s penchant for hard rock and light metal.
By the time I was finished organizing everything, the month had ended. So I’ve written nothing, but I’ve listened to a lot.
And I’ll share it with you once I make sense of it.