Let’s Hang Celebrates Record Store Day 2012
Suicide Notes (Formerly Good Vibrations) - The Simpsons
By Joe McAdam
This record store has the 90s-est of names, and it’s from the 90s-est of shows, The Simpsons. I realize this show continues to have a long and happy life after this decade, but we all know the golden years existed somewhere between 93 and 97, the juicy marbled meat of the Clinton era (our second coolest president, only outdone, of course, by Calvin “the” Coolest)
This store only appears in one episode of The Simpsons, “Homerpalooza”. In an attempt to connect with his carpool (cool 10 year olds?), Homer seeks out hip music, only to find himself in a world he doesn’t understand.
It’s a classic fish out of water tale, Homer remembers the simpler days of rock n roll, with Grand Funk, Bread, Mountain, and various incarnations of Jefferson related vehicle-inspired bands. But he’s stuck in a world of 90s irony, loathing, and detached hipness. Try as he might, it’s nearly impossible to fake cool, especially when you’re a fat bald old man in a Rasta hat.
This episode says a lot about “cool” and what it means. Maybe Homer was never a cool guy, even in his youth he is mocked and shunned by the cooler kids. But his quest is rebooted in his midlife though, by a trip to Suicide Notes, where he is promptly mocked by the slacker clerk for liking Styx. That doesn’t stop him from continuing though. He ends up reaching out to the counter culture by getting tickets to Hullabalooza. A move designed to gain the respect of his kids, which works, but also gets him the admiration from the alternative music scene.
By becoming part of a traveling freak show, Homer somehow manages to gain the respect of Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, and Cypress Hill in his middle age. Based on his ability to be himself, and have cannonballs shot at his gut, he reaches a level of cool he’s never experienced. It’s a rare thing to see a man so fulfilled.
I learned a lot about what “cool” is through this episode. I also learned a lot about what “cool” isn’t. Cool isn’t what bands you listen to, or what record store you shop at, it’s pretty much just about getting hit in the stomach with cannonballs. Take it from Homer Simpson; the man who embodies everything about rock and roll (except the music).
Here’s something I wrote for Record Store Day about the record store in The Simpsons.