One of the best albums of all time is also hugely underrated: I’m obviously talking about Soul Asylum’s 1995 album Let Your Dim Light Shine. I first discovered this as a 13-year-old when I subscribed to Columbia House. You remember that, right? You paid 1 cent and got 12 “free” CDs (or something like that) and all you had to do was “decline” the offers sent to you each month. My parents helped me with this and obviously after I had lost enough of my babysitting money to this scheme, they also helped me end it.
Let Your Dim Light Shine was one of those albums of the month. I remember listening to it while my brother and I played Super Mario Brothers and Tetris and Ducktales on the original Nintendo.
The magic of the album is that years later, not only can I can sing every word of every song, but I can relate to every song. And the beauty is that the album has a song for every occasion. Upset about the day? “Caged Rat” knows how you feel. Stuck in a weird place of your childhood and adulthood? “Hopes Up” puts it into words. The last two tracks “Nothing to Write Home About” and “I Did My Best” convey emotions that I can’t even put into words.
Of course, there’s the ironic “String of Pearls” that unravels a story with a twist and the hugely popular “Runaway Train.”
I can’t quite put into words how much I love this album because of how I connect with every single track. I can’t quite describe how this album has been something I’ve leaned on at various points in my life. I think of the artists who created it- they’re out there, somewhere, completely oblivious to how their work lives on in others.