Life Through Music #3: Adam and the Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier

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Iis said that the music that you discover in your teens informs who you are and who you become and also that who you are informs your musical choices and what defines you.

Probably no album was more seminal to me and checked all those boxes than Adam and the Ants’s “Kings of the Wild Frontier”. Riding the razor of punk & new wave, Kings sounds like nothing that came before and nothing that came after. And yet, it’s eminently listenable & enjoyable. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but it also has some serious things to say (about Native Americans, victims of an aggressive press and, of course, invading ants). It’s notable that “Ant Invasion” is being sourced for the upcoming Ant Man and the Wasp movie because the music that Marco Pirroni crafted wasso seminal and evocative.

But the album was more than that. Sure, Adam was a preening peacock, (and crazy out his mind insane) but he was also an excellent role model for a just pubescent teen. He was drug negative and sex positive and declared himself to be something that he just wanted to be. He willed himself into relevance. And, what teenager isn’t trying to figure out what the hell he/she is going to be? Aren’t we all willing ourselves into existence & relevance? Adam wasn’t a dancer, but he danced. He wasn’t a trained singer, but he sang. He wasn’t a great musician, but he wrote great songs.

Kings of the Wild Frontier can send me back to the 80s while rooting me tightly in the firmament of today. Seeing him do this album live last year (twice) reaffirmed just how timeless and out of time this album is/was.

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