Sweeping the Dust Off of Past Tunes

Patrick Aditya Sitanggang
4 min readJun 21, 2023

Have you ever stumbled upon an old album that has been gathering digital or even physical dust in the vast array of your music collection? Maybe you’ve only listened to one or two songs from the album without ever listening to the album from start to finish. Let’s face it, we’ve all done this. We listen to albums one song at a time; when we discover the album through digital platforms, we tend to gravitate to pieces with the most play count anyway. Things are a little different when it’s an old album. This writing is going to be about my story and an old album, one that I decide to play from start to finish a few weeks ago and now am obsessing over.

The album I rediscovered is a reworked album of an existing one of the same name from a later time in history. The older album was a 1977 release with a soundtrack to a movie of the same name (again) starring some of the most prominent actors of the era. It was worked on by what was considered the all-star musicians of the period. It was crowned the best Indonesian album in 2007 by Rolling Stone Indonesia in their 32nd issue. The reworked album was a 1999 release that was helmed by one of the most prominent composers and producers of the era, with the main male vocalist of the older album at the forefront accompanied by some featuring vocals throughout the album. That album is called “Badai Pasti Berlalu”.

Covers for the “Badai Pasti Berlalu”, 1977 version (left) and 1999 version (right). Images taken from their respective Wikipedia pages.

I couldn't remember when I first heard the album, but if I would guess, I’d say it would be in the car through my dad’s iPod around elementary school years. My parents are big fans of Chrisye, my mother more so between the two, I think. When the album was first played to me, I remember feeling intrigued by the music and production of it all. I didn’t know yet about the fact that it was a remake or that it was made for a movie. All I remember is that it is a great album and it felt timeless. It felt like it was an album that was more forward-looking than people made it to be. I would assume that people from my parent's generation who grew up with the original album might have felt a little resistance to the remake, maybe it was too modern for them, losing the prog-rock flair of the era and “craftsmanship” of the elder musicians. However, it survived long enough for a sliver of my — or our — generation to appreciate it after years have passed.

If you asked me when I started to obsess over the new album, I would have to say that it started around a month or so ago. Ever since I bought my guitar about three months ago, my mother would sometimes request songs from her time. These requests then led me down to the path of the “Badai Pasti Berlalu” album. I started listening to it in my room, at work, in the car, and at every opportunity possible. I work through the whole tracklist from start to finish, then pick up my guitar to try the songs out. A lot of the time I would for the chords for the songs by myself using the tested method of trial and error exploration of what sounded right when it might not be the right chord. Out of 11 songs in the album, I could say that I can play 3 songs comfortably, 5 songs at a basic level, and there are still 3 songs I haven’t explored. Well, that's why I think and believe anyway.

This is not an album review, I have to say. I don’t think I’m in the capacity to conduct such a journalistic view of the album. What I can say is that the rediscovery of this album has led me to love music even more and the exploration that comes with it. As I play the album with its multi-faceted approach to genres and styles, I find myself being exposed to progressions that are more complex than the current pop archetype. I also find myself being in awe of both old and new versions of the album, in awe of how everybody was able to think of making music in such a way. I’d like to end by urging you to listen to the 1999 album which I think is available on music streaming platforms, and the 1977 album clips can be found on YouTube. I’d also urge you to dig deep into your music collection and see what albums are just waiting for you to rediscover and perhaps sing and play as well. Who knows what hidden treasures you may find, waiting patiently to be reawakened and cherished once more?

Thank you for reading, trust no one, and see you in the next post.

--

--

Patrick Aditya Sitanggang

I tend to write about once a month or every two months. Bear with me. Follow me on IG @aditbatak or on Twitter/X @alsopadraic.