Released in 2003, seven years after Magician Among The Spirits, Forget Yourself is the last album by The Church currently residing in my music collection. Obviously I have some major gaps in my collection when it comes to The Church's studio output. Forget Yourself is the band's thirteenth studio album, and there are three LPs between it and Magician. Since then, the band released seven more albums, for a grand total of 20 studio records overall – a daunting prospect for anyone new to the group trying to penetrate their catalogue.
I don't remember exactly when or where I got this album. It wasn't long after I'd moved to Pittsburgh and I think I was at some big box store where I saw the disc sitting on the shelf. Every other detail is blurry, but I do recall thinking, "hmm...new CD by The Church. I've already got Starfish and Gold Afternoon Fix...guess I'll check this one out." That's the last time I can recall purchasing a CD as an impulse buy. It was probably the last time I bought a CD at any sort of chain store too.
I have no particular fond recollections of chain store CD purchases. Even then I knew I was being ripped off. As far as I'm concerned, a CD should never cost more than $10. If some of the prices I've seen at merch tables lately are any indication, I'm a musician with a minority opinion in that regard. Perhaps I'm a sucker who should just be charging more for merch when I play a show.
Forget Yourself took three months to record, and is an album of few overdubs. By the time of its release, The Church had become accustomed to "jamming out" new releases for nearly a decade. The result is something a little less polished, a little more immediate, a little more raw. "Song In Space" was the single from this one, but album opener "Sealine" could have easily taken its place. The two songs go well together – and, indeed, they do as track one and two.
It has been a while since I've given this a listen and playing it again for the first time, "Lay Low" sticks out from the rest of the tracks. The song is like a harder rocking "Terra Nova Cain" without alien abduction subplot. It fits surprisingly well with the more downbeat, shimmery "Maya."
In case you've ever been curious, there are times when I'll stop writing these pieces and just listen to the record as it plays for a while before I resume typing. I generally try to write whatever I'm going to write within the duration of the album it relates to. On occasion (The Jim Carroll Band's Catholic Boy, for example), I've played an album through more than once as I write about it. At 63 minutes, Forget Yourself is pretty generous with the listening/writing time.
That said, I've made it up to "Don't You Fall" (track 10). I like the song, but I can't shake the feeling that I've heard it somewhere else before. Obviously I heard it when I've listened to the album in the past, but I feel like I heard it in a place divorced from that listening experience. The question is...where? It's actually irritating me a bit that I can't remember where else I've heard the song. Was it a TV show? Was it playing at some restaurant or coffee shop that I visited? Did I hear it in the car on a long trip skipping around on the left side of the FM dial? I bet I'll remember five minutes after I close this entry – or perhaps never at all.
In any case, someone looking for The Church to sound as close to "Under The Milky Way" as they will ever come again will find it in "Don't You Fall."