Standards was my first exposure to The Alarm. It was the album cover that really drew me in at first. I can’t quite remember where I saw the whole splatter design first, in my brother’s sketch book or on the album itself. I just thought it was a pretty rad design without knowing a damn thing about the band. I’m sure I had heard my brother or cousin play songs off that album before I actually took interest in the music.
I should say that I did end up digging the music too. It’d might be cooler if my first exposure wasn’t a compilation album, but by the time I paid interest to them, they were already broken up. Most would say that Standards is fairly representative of their music as a whole up until it came out (1990). I think what I liked most about The Alarm is how anthemic their songs sounded, especially my favorite, “Sixty Eight Guns”.
In all honesty, I didn’t really know about whole lot about the band itself then or even until I decided to write this. Since I was fairly young at the height of their career, I wasn’t really paying attention to how they were labelled as the poor man’s U2. And reading that now, I’m not sure what to say except that I’d really rather listen to The Alarm than U2 any day. Well, I’d rather listen to a lot of things rather than U2 most days, but that’d besides the point. And seriously, has Bono found what he’s looking for yet? (I will never get tired of that joke.)
I actually listened to this whole album through for the first time in years this morning and found myself singing along to all those anthemic tunes I loved. It may not be a part of the regular rotation now, but it was quite fun to “dust it off” and give it a listen. For you Spotifiers, you can give it a listen here. And for fun, check out Why It Matters: 88. Oh I Have Been Out Searching With The Black Book In My Hand for someone else’s personal experience with The Alarm.