The Song That Changed My Life - With Manley

April 3, 2017

"What song changed your life?" It's a question I've asked everyone from Young the Giant to Manatee Commune because I think it provides such a great window into someone's soul.  In honor of this being the week that the greatest band of all time gets inducted to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, I thought I'd pull back the curtain on my life and tell you guys what song changed my life (in so many major ways!) - "Oceans" by Pearl Jam.

I have a theory about music, and its that you will never love any band as much as the band you loved when you were 13-ish. Adolescence is a totally weird time in your life where hair starts showing up in strange places, your voice starts changing, and you finally start to formulate your own opinions and feelings towards things. Especially music.

When I was around that age, my friend's dad made him a mixtape of this Led Zeppelin band that he grew up loving and wanted us to love as well. It was cool, and I knew it was interesting but it didn't really blow my mind...until the end.

So here's how mixtapes used to work back in the casette days... You would fill it with the album or song list of your choice, and if you ended your playlsit and there was still tape left, you just recorded whatever you could fit on there at the end.  

This particular mixtape had just enough room at the end for four songs by a band called Pearl Jam, and getting to that part of the tape changed me forever.

I can still remember where I was, sitting in the foyeur of the Regency Mall in Racine, Wisconsin, eating a chocolate covered pretzel from Hot Sam's, when it happened. I was listening to the tape while waiting for my mom to come pick me up, looking up at the rain cascading down the glass ceiling of the foyeur, when I heard it. 

"Hold on, to the thread, the currents will shift...."  

You know how sometimes the room tilts when you get hit with love at first sight?  You blink and suddenly the sun is a little brighter, colors a little more vivid? Well that's what happened to me when I heard "Oceans." Before it had even finished, I knew right then and there that Pearl Jam was my favorite band forever. Its kind of weird that it wasn't "Even Flow" or "Jeremy" that blew me away, but this strange little song that doesn't even really have a hook.  It's an album track, but it changed everything. I began devouring alternative music as fast as my budget from cutting grass and delivering newspapers would allow. Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins.  All were great, none were Pearl Jam. I am the luckiest guy in the world in that I somehow (HARD work) ended up being able to turn my passion in to a career, and I can trace it all back to that one moment, at the mall, listening to "Oceans."

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