Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Two Bruce Springsteens

In the early '70s there was this skinny guy who wrote these epic story songs about really fantastic characters. You never knew where the songs would go or which of his huge, wild band was going to play the next solo. They blasted out of your stereo speakers and played long, unpredictable jams in concert.

From 1979 until now there's been this guy who writes these wordy folk songs about people who seem all too real. They're mostly people struggling in hard economic times or broken relationships or both. Once in a while they are happy. They're just like you and me. There's a highly predictable verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo or bridge, verse, chorus structure.

Since summer 2011 I have had a CD player in my car. What I've been doing is putting one CD in and leaving it for weeks, really listening to the music. It's been great and I highly recommend it. Bob Dylan's John Wesley Harding, They Might Be Giants' John Henry (just a coincidence - didn't see that 'til just now), R.E.M.'s Reveal, and the Minnesota Orchestra's Beethoven Symphonies 1-8 (not ready for 9 yet) have been the heretofore neglected pieces of music I've really enjoyed getting to know in more depth. Recently I've been listening to Bruce Springsteen's Lucky Town.

Turns out there are also two of me. Here's how one part of me hears Lucky Town.

- Ugh. Why is every single melody 3-3-3-3-2-1-2-1-1-1-1-(down to)-6-5-5? (These are scale degrees. If you don't know what I'm talking about listen to my very sincere tribute to Bruce Springsteen.)
-These chord changes are the same in every song just in a different key.
-The drummer must have gotten really sick of playing that same medium rock beat on 7 out of the 10 tracks. I wonder how he got up the energy and enthusiasm. Maybe the huge amount of dollars per thump?
-The quiet songs are inaudible and if I turn up for them the next loud song blasts me away. Ah, early CD mastering. Still preferable to current CD mastering though.
-He might should have kept the E Street Band on hand for this one.
-Why is he trying so hard to become Bruce Cockburn? He was BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN!?!?!?!
-Boring, boring, boring. I can't take another repetition of this whole album.

Here's how another part of me hears Lucky Town.

(Weeping) "Yes, Bruce, I too treasure the beauty, mystery, terror, and joy that comes with being an adult and being in a loving marriage and raising a family! Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh-ha-ha-ha!" (Further laughing and crying)

I don't know how that works, but there it is.


Check it out yourself for a penny plus shipping at amazon. It's super cheap used because it was one of those "artist does something slightly different after a huge hit album so the public buys it right away then sells it when it doesn't sustain popularity because the public doesn't really care about music as music only about music as a cultural signifier for part of their fickle, shallow, hollow, insubstantial identity" albums. (See also: R.E.M.'s Monster, which, if they were really super environmentally friendly, they would just take out of print since there are four or five copies in every single used record store and they could save the petroleum used to manufacture new copies.)

Monday, March 05, 2012

In Which I Find More Really Great New Music

You know me, always looking for good music I am not aware of. So today I'm at art class and the teacher is playing something that I think is really great.

After class I'm like, "What was that CD you were playing?"
She looked at me for a second and said, "Adele? 21?"
I was like, "Ohhh, yeah. Wow that was really good! I haven't heard that before."
"Yeah, I try to find good music that will help the students be sort of mellow and do their art."
"Yeah, that was perfect for that."
We talked a little bit more. I felt like sort of a dope. I hope she didn't think I was making some hipster joke or something. I knew ABOUT that album, but I'd never heard that album. So, hey, in case I wasn't the last person on Earth to hear it and you actually are:

There's this really good album you should check out called "21" by this singer from England named Adele.

What's weird about it is that during the class I discreetly texted myself some of the lyrics in order to look them up later on the internet (which I don't have or want on my phone because it's a PHONE) but then I thought, "No. That's so isolationist/information age/sitting at home on the computer instead of getting to know the people in your community!" So yes, I made contact with another human being and, yes, I'm sure she belived I had just crawled out from under a rock.