I woke up this morning with a song in my head that I believe I heard for the first and only time about a week ago. It was from My Morning Jacket’s appearance on Austin City Limits, which is thankfully still in my DVR.
Anyway, I think that “Librarian” is a stunningly beautiful song. The lyrics are rich and wistful and the steel guitar is reminiscent of Dylan’s “Lay, Lady, Lay.” In fact, this song is that song’s precocious but dutiful lovechild.
What beautiful harmonies to awaken to. Thank you, gentlemen.
When I was in high school, I used to poll my classmates by questionnaire. I think some of it even got into our school paper, but it was usually just for my own curiosity, as I have long been a quantifier and list-maker. It was also an excuse to use the mimeograph machine, the smells of which are among any well-bred schoolboy’s fondest honest highs.
The topics were usually about “Favorite Songs” or “Favorite Albums” (I don’t recall having to explain to anyone what an album was, but maybe). Lots of Journey and Michael Jackson and Duran Duran, let’s say? Good times.
But as I saw this survey of heroes a while ago, I remembered that I had once asked many dozens of my schoolmates who they thought were the “greatest villains of all time” or somesuch. They were mostly thoughtful, as I recall, and returned to me their best assessments. In retrospect, I don’t know how useful such a survey was, but when I read that the President is now bigger than Jesus, the teenaged quality of the sentiment reminded me of those old polls.
And I guffawed in my mouth a little.
I can’t bear to erase it yet, but I DVR’d a program a few months ago about Johnny Cash’s show he had on ABC back around 1969-71. It includes a beautiful duet Johnny sang with Joni Mitchell (aired the night before we first walked on the Moon, sayest the Intertubes) called “The Long Black Veil.” It is just haunting and devastating and has been in my head since last night.
I regard it as a sign of good health to be followed around by a song all day and wherever you go. Even the ones that annoy the tar out of you. It means you have love in your heart.
It really does.
Don’t you get it, too? That dread of the next day, which is either back to school or back to work? When I was a kid, the trigger to that nausea was the ticking of the stopwatch in the intro to 60 Minutes, which my family swore by, as I recall. An almost Pavlovian reaction to this day. But I don’t watch that program in my own home anymore.
Anyway, I’m watching the Super Bowl halftime show right now and just wanted to note that Bruce Springsteen is someone I have never enjoyed. I regard his popularity as a decades-old burden imposed on the rest of the country by the East Coast music media machine. I do not relate to his story and I find his songwriting unsubtle and bright. I don’t care how ignorant I am about it, either. With the exception of his one masterpiece (Nebraska), there’s no darkness in his music. His music is Souzaphone. It is written for performance before thousands of blue-collar yankees mouthbreathers. It is… baseball. Nineteen-Seventies, shelled-out inner-city ugliness and decay. He’s the soundtrack for all of that, but in major keys only.
By way of a link from Glenn Reynolds, read this New York Times account of one of my favorite corporate citizens:
In March 2007, Circuit City came up with a plan to confront softening sales and competition from online and offline retailers: fire the most talented, experienced employees.
Of course, those workers were the retail chain’s single most important point of difference from the legion of Internet retailers and general merchandisers, but in a single stroke, Philip J. Schoonover, the chief executive of Circuit City, wiped out that future.
As a pal of mine used to say when I described a particularly boneheaded course of action I had pursued, “How’d that work out for you, buddy?”
For Circuit City, not so great. The “wage management initiative” erased morale, both for employees and the folks who shopped there. Sales sank after the one-time gain from the layoffs. And last week, the company sought bankruptcy protection.
I strongly approve of Circuit City’s imminent journey down the crapper. That company is a lot of thieving bastards. That’s a fact in your Library of Congress. They sold me a cassette adapter for a portable CD player in my old Honda probably a decade ago and —long story short— it completely disabled my car stereo. Did I have any recourse? Fuck no. Did I fantasize about choking me some bitches like Wayne Brady? Yes. Yes, I did.
Retailers who don’t stand behind what they sell are nothing but thieves.
I am pleased to say that I have never since that incident gone into a Circuit City. I shred or toss their mailers as soon as I see them and I immediately flip the channel when one of their ads comes on. They are dead to me and, soon enough, to us all.
Man, I cannot get rid of this song! I love it, but it’s been owning my ass all day.
Could be worse, though. Could be like the time I had “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” in my head for like a couple of days. Jesus!
I’ve had Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy” in my head all day.
It must be some measure of Ellas McDaniel’s power that he actually owns a particular beat. Thank you, sir. You are an American treasure.
I’m starting to notice that I don’t know who the hell a lot of these people in show business are. Amy Winehouse? Hannah Montana? The last dozen or more people who have won some reality/talent show? This is an age of such artistic vapidity and turdliness that it can only be understood as a manifestation of my own personal psychosis.
Or do these things exist outside of me? Have I penetrated some existential frontier where other human beings give a monkey-flung handful of poo about Amy Winehouse and her drug abuse? When I know more about you as a fucked-up loser than as a maker of music, I’m not going to regret my indifference to either.
I’m done with hearing about shit I don’t care about in places online where I have no choice but to go. Fuck nonsense.
I am very sorry to hear of the too-early death of Dan Fogelberg.
His music helped to define a certain period of my life that was pretty painful, but I would never hold that against him, of course. I was a kid and he was a sad, but thoughtful, singer of some very beautiful songs. His music definitely had a big impact on my brother Jimmy, I recall. And one of the prettiest girls I knew in high school once told me that “Longer” was her most favorite song. It’s nice that I never forget to remember that whenever I hear it.
The horns from “The Leader of the Band” were the first strains of music to enter my mind when I heard the sad news tonight, so I should think that’s the power of art, my friends. Something noble and beautiful that survives and even justifies you.
What a good fate!
I didn’t like Ben Harper’s interpretation of the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the start of tonight’s basketball game in Cleveland. It sounded almost untalented, although I understand how that might just be me expecting to hear Jimi Hendrix’s version of it from the morning of Monday, 18 August 1969.
Dang! It sure gets quiet when the Spurs score a basket!
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