Soup Is Good Food

The first Dead Kennedys record I heard was Frankenchrist. I was 14 or so and decided to check them out after seeing plenty of back patches and t-shirts from kids in the punk scene. I was at the record store, and the only cassette they had in stock was Frankenchrist. I didn't have a CD player, or if I did, it wasn't portable. So I went with Frankenchrist on cassette. I remember being mildly confused by the cover.

I got out of the record store, opened the tape, and popped it into my walkman. I remember being pretty confused as the fairly mellow sound of “Soup Is Good Food” began to play! What the hell was this? I kept listening, and it just got weirder. This didn't feel hardcore at all, but it was interesting.

23 years later and I'm sitting here listening to Frankenchrist on my turntable, realizing that this is the most “iconic” Dead Kennedys album to me. It is the default sound of that band in my brain, because it was my first impression. Even though the rest of their catalog sounds nothing like it, because this is what first stamped my brain as what Dead Kennedys sounds like.

I often wonder how many other strongly held beliefs, ideas, and preferences were imprinted this way, long before I could even form proper memories. How much of what makes “me” is in fact just the first thing I encountered? Tracing back pieces of identity to trivial sources can be humbling.