'And Brave Songs Disappear': Sunny Day Real Estate


It's a mid-90s summer. I'm on summer break from my small town middle school.


It's an unassuming summer that is about to change my life.


My dad has decided that we are going to go into 'the city'. We live in a small prairie town which, on a clear day, you can almost see the city skyline from where we are.


My dad has done his 'research' (this equates to looking in the local sale flyers), he is ready.


We are going to buy our first family CD player. Cassette decks be damned, we are moving full speed into the future.


We all climb into our bright red Chevrolet Cavalier, and head down the road.


In 30 minutes, we are standing in the electronics section of a large department store.


A salesman approaches, 'how can I help you?'


Dad takes a breath, 'that one, right there.'

He's done his research, he's not here to haggle with a salesman. He knows what he wants.


After about 15 minutes getting everything sorted, we have a new CD player. We don't have just a CD player though. We are coming out with a new 5-disc changer, as well as a new receiver, EQ, and a set of surround sound speakers.


The salesman did a hell of a job up-selling.


With the new member of our family in the trunk we realize something. We don't have one CD let alone five CDs to fill this behemoth.


So, we head back inside with a plan. Dad, being the one who did all the heavy lifting, gets to pick two CDs, while the rest of us each get to pick one.


After looking over the shelves, our purchases are made.


Dad comes out with 'Unplugged' by Eric Clapton, and a Doobie Brothers best of. Mom has picked 'II' by Boyz II Men, and my older sister came away with 'This Is How We Do It' by Montell Jordan.


My pick wasn't so straight forward. This was my chance. I decided to cast a wider net. Instead of buying an album from one band, I went with a soundtrack. More specifically, I went for the Batman Forever soundtrack.


For starters, this album had my favourite song at the time, on it: 'Kiss From A Rose' by Seal.


Secondly, it had a ton of artists on it - some I knew (U2, Brandy, and The Offspring) , some I didn't (Massive Attack, Nick Cave, and Method Man).


Towards the end of the record, however, there was an unassuming band with a hard-hitting song. Some band called Sunny Day Real Estate.


'Who the hell are these guys, and why is their song name just a number?'

Being a middle school kid from the Canadian prairies, I had no idea what 'independent' music was, or that there were even things referred to as 'music scenes'. I assumed the only bands that existed were the bands I heard on the radio.


My first listen through that album, and my life would start to make those tiny little changes. The two songs that quickly became my favourite were from The Offspring and Sunny Day Real Estate.


This, alongside Green Day on the radio were my gateway drug into the world of punk rock.


Over the years my tastes would grow. My horizons would expand. Green Day and The Offspring were always around, but Sunny Day kind of drifted off for me.


When I was in high school, however, their name started to resurface. I was fully submerged in my local scene, absorbing every band I could.


It was when the post-hardcore explosion of the early 2000's happened, that Sunny Day came back around for me.


I was falling in love with bands like Thursday. When people started mentioning Sunny Day Real Estate alongside bands like Thursday, I was a little perplexed.


'You mean that band from the Batman Forever soundtrack? What do they have to do with anything?'

Then I started hearing rumblings that some guy from Sunny Day was in my new favourite obsession, Dashboard Confessional. Wait...some of them are in Foo Fighters too?


'Excuse me? The Batman Forever band again?'


It was at this point that I decided to dig them back up. When I went looking through their discography, I was immediately drawn to the album 'Diary'. The artwork was striking - incredible, even.

I put it on, and I was immediately hooked. They were the clear launching off point for my new favourite bands.


Fast forward, and I'm a grown-ass adult. Sub Pop announces a 20th anniversary vinyl re-issue. I am in, so I buy it. I put the double album on, and get to listening. To my surprise, on Side D, they've included some songs that weren't previously on 'Diary', one of which is the song that started it all for me, '8'.



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