After turning out one of the best albums of 2011 in the hauntingly beautiful The Taxidermist, Aileen Paron (aka Scarlet Season) has stayed busy with her hands in a variety of different musical project around Seattle. We, however, were able to corner her for just a few moments to find out five albums that changed her life. Here they are in her own words.
Depeche Mode, Violator: I was pretty sheltered as a kid in terms of music and movies. My parents were pretty strict about keeping me away from anything… naughty. When I first heard “Personal Jesus” (incidentally the first single I ever bought), I had this feeling of “Oh wow, my parents would freak if they knew I was listening to this!” There’s such forward sensuality in so much of DM’s music and especially Violator. I would wander the streets at night listening to that record over and over again.
Rolling Stones, Paint It, Black: I only had the single, but I have to include it because again, Whoa! My dad had a pretty great classic rock collection, which I began to pore through in my teens and this was one of the first jewels I came across. It said everything I was feeling at the time: that roiling sitar riff and insistent powerful beat made me feel sexy and angry at the same time. I had never heard anything else like it and I just love it so much to this day.
The Cure, Disintegration: I have to honestly say there has never been a record since this one that has affected me on as deep of an emotional level as Disintegration. I really can’t listen to it anymore, it is that painful. I think this record is the one that made me want to write lyrics and express myself through songs. That maybe writing music could be a catharsis for me and that beautiful things come out of great sorrow and pain. “Plainsong” and “Same Deep Water as You” are still two of my favorite Cure tracks.
The Smiths, Strangeways Here We Come: How much do I love Morrissey? Let me count the ways. This record changed me because of the sense of humor (black though it is) that came through. His fascinating way with words and unusual voice just captured me. I can be pretty sarcastic and, um, I guess a bit vindictive in my writing. I really related to the way he brought that quality into his music, particularly “Unhappy Birthday,” which I played on repeat about a million times when I got this record!
Tori Amos, Under the Pink: I stole this one from my mom. I have no idea why she even had it; I can’t imagine her listening to it. My college roommate introduced me to Tori Amos and it definitely changed my life. Again, it didn’t sound like anything I had ever heard before—I hadn’t listened to Kate Bush yet!—and it just took me to a new place. Pianos weren’t popular in rock music at the time and here it was the featured instrument! It got me excited about playing again. The way she used her voice was so emotive and raw and her writing again angry, but sensual. There’s a theme here! Add in the orchestral and classical nature of compositions like “Yes, Anastasia,” the venting of homicidal jealousy in “The Waitress” and the poking at religion in “God” and I was hooked with a capital H.
So how does it all coalesce in the work of Scarlet Season? Here’s a listen to “History of Violence” from The Taxidermist. Have a listen for yourself and see.