Their masterpiece, probably. This one takes what they were going for with All Cats Are Grey and blasts it into outer space. I’ve seen them live five times and this is the song they’ve opened with every time.
This remains the only Cure album I’ve ever owned (on cassette!), and, though I loved it, I had basically forgotten about “Plainsong” until its use in the coronation scene of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, where it basically blew my mind. The scope of this song is incredible, and it makes me wish I liked The Cure a lot more than I do.
It rained like hell late Thursday night, and 24 hours later it has turned cold; the drop into the high 60s when you’ve had three months of 90+ degree days makes it seem even colder than it is. It’s nice.
I got up this morning and went for a drive. The sky is all clouded over and the color of graphite, and for whatever reason before I left the house I grabbed this Modest Mouse EP I haven’t listened to in years—I didn’t like it very much at the time, because there’s no obvious “hits” on it. But now, all these years later, it absolutely hit the spot. There’s almost nothing better than when the music you’re listening to perfectly soundtracks your actions. Which in this case means driving around on a cold and overcast day and looking around at the town you’ve spent the last decade in with something that you could call love.
"…and though there will be no pile of leaves for me to kick by way of confirmation -no winding walk to a cider mill ahead in my afternoon, as in my Michigan youth—the color of the light shifting from flaring white to gold nonetheless bears out what our bones already know: that summer departs us now, leaving in its wake an invitation back into good work and toward a renewing of love’s strange oath of doubt and forgiveness.
I will meet the day and change the weather in my rooms by summoning this rumpled curmudgeon into the air like the reluctant genie he has been from the start. He has resisted his inheritance even though he is its executor -knowing better than most that Leadbelly said with a moan what Keats said in a word; and at the marriage of the two, the heavens can crack open."—JH
It was Van Morrison’s birthday a couple of days ago. It’s a big deal: I’ve written about my admiration of Morrison’s willingness to look absolutely foolish in pursuit of something sublime; I’ve written about how he often fails in that pursuit, and how that failure in no way lessens the nobility of the effort; I’ve written about how he made my favorite album. He’s one of the many stars I set my path by, and I owe him deeply.
Here is a clip of Morrison In Thrall To The Muse. You’ve got ten minutes to set aside. Trust me on this one.
As long as I’m beating up on old hippies: I somehow missed that yesterday was David Crosby’s birthday. Let the whipping commence:
I’ve always held Crosby up as being representative of the absolute worst aspects of the Baby Boomer/60s generation—basically, a bunch of people that, for however brief a moment, had something like a genuine chance to actually change the way the world works, and who instead wound up being more or less carbon copies of their essentially conservative parents, only with superficial “cool” attitudes that only underscore their hypocrisy. People who were happy to do drugs and have promiscuous sex, but when it came down to doing the hard work, they just retreated.
My two favorite Fuck Yous to Crosby are Neil Young’s "Revolution Blues", a vicious song about a Manson-like cult attacking sing-songwriter enclave Laurel Canyon via dunebuggy, a song that Crosby dismissed as being too dark, specifically the song’s concluding line: “I hear that Laurel Canyon is full of famous stars/but I hate them worse than lepers, and I’ll kill them in their cars”, and, secondly, Jackson Browne’s "For Everyman", a song written in direct response to the Crosby Stills & Nash song “Wooden Ships”, about a gang of hippie idealists sailing off into the Grey Havens after a nuclear war. Where “Wooden Ships” is an elitist dream of leaving the cruel world behind, “For Everyman” refutes that entirely: it is democratic at its core—enlightenment is for everyone, Browne says, not just guys with walrus moustaches who’ve got enough money to escape the responsibility of living in the real world.
Hilariously enough, Crosby plays rhythm guitar on “Revolution Blues” and sings harmony on “For Everyman.”
He is 72 years old. He will probably outlive us all. They say evil never dies.
A buddy of mine and I were pretty hammered the other night, drinking beneath the supermoon beside a dried-up lake bed. Because he makes poor decisions, earlier that day he’d bought Skeletons In The Closet, the Grateful Dead best-of, and we were listening to it, sort of. Not even being drunk on possibly years-old Texas Spirit bourbon can make the Dead sound that good. But anyway, we were listening to “Casey Jones”—a studio version of which apparently does not exist on Youtube—a song about an engineer who is “riding that train, high on cocaine.” Granted, this is a fairly awesome subject for a song, but for the fact that “Casey Jones” is possibly the least frantic, coked-up song of all time. “Casey Jones, you better watch your speed,” sing these lazy potheads, all of them sounding on the verge of falling asleep at their instruments. The moral of the story, of course, is this: The Grateful Dead are kinda awful.