Saturday, February 28, 2015

You wrote the note.



This track serenaded me during wheels-down in a gray, rainy France in June all those years ago--not to visit, to live. As we coasted on the tarmac at CDG, that guitar riff barked out of foam-covered headphones and a worn TDK in my player, and the cascade of drums urged me from apprehension to exhilaration. I was gonna do it.

What, I didn't know. But I was. I had to. I was already there.

And, funny, I thought I didn't have this--and I had wanted it--but it is already here.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

I choose me.




I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you're in it all the same.
-Mary Oliver

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Time got excited

Speaking of album openers (even though we weren't), the single drumbeat that kicks (ha) off the title track to the album that includes the hugely synthy and thrilling "Alive and Kicking" is ... I don't know what it is. It just works for me today.



It's also how the Minds' biggest--not greatest--Stateside hit starts. And they didn't even write it, though it was written with them in mind (ha).

[Ed. Note: listen to the demo embedded in the Spin article and tell me they weren't actually aiming for the Psych Furs and Richard Butler and not the Minds]

I was precisely in the target demographic, so, yeah, it worked. Consider me obsessed, and I probably viewed it not long after the 2/15/85 opening, and hit up The Record Bar straight after.



I also don't know if I'd agree with the subtitle "Poor Man's U2" for the band. Yes, they made epic, sweeping use-a-thesaurus-here songs, but these sprang, in my estimation, from straight from the heart ("I'd be with you/I dreaaaaam about you...I stay with you...tonight"), less filtered through the head. And embroidered with the keys and piano of Michael MacNeil, which don't cross between actual human hands plunking keys and chirps emitting from the turning of knobs. SM are synthy, but not Depeche Mode, for god's sake.

I'm glad The Breakfast Club pushed the Minds onto our shores, our record players, tape decks and for god's sake, into our minds.

The notes don't seem three decades old, though. Not at all.

Monday, February 23, 2015

But these cuts I have / they need love to help them heal


It's funny: I had a dream last night that I was watching a George Michael concert, and every detail was clear, down to the production style (black and white, stark), costumes (freaky jacket covered in thin silver spines), choreography (contortionism, including a song sung from plank pose), and guests (Jody Watley). George performed "Bennie and the Jets."

Hours later, I've hauled out Dad's Elton Greatest Hits and spun it since I'm unexpectedly working on my sofa today, and "Bennie and the Jets" plays, followed by (and I knew this already, but still) "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me," which GM actually has covered live and beyond.

There are no coincidences? Of course my next navigation was here.

No, I am not that prescient.

But I did need to hear this song today. Oh, the cold chills when EJ sings

I can't find, oh the right romantic line
But see me once and see the way I feel
Don't discard me just because you think I mean you harm
But these cuts I have they need love to help them heal



Saturday, February 21, 2015

There's no easy way out at all



The late 70s the way they should be heard. Easy listening, but shouldn't the easy come from George Harrison, who told us it don't come easy?

Sometimes I wanna wrap my coat around you

It may sound just like "Moonlight Mile," but I think I like it better than that more lauded track.

Succinct--and apropos. 


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oceans of diamonds always shine

California, I think about your gentle mornings when the snow cover has hardened the earth underneath it and the sun glares overhead anyway.





Friday, January 30, 2015

Today's Shuffle: But if I'm faced with being replaced

My poor 6th generation iPod Classic is on its last legs. I have to charge it daily, it immediately expires and displays a frightening symbol on its screen if I skip too many songs or dare to play Solitaire on it. I've given it some palliative care, a couple of restores and charging only the the computer. But it's slowly slipping this vale of tears--and this barrel of laughs. Don't think my iPod is solely a conductor of woe and wistfulness. Much joy, much of it documented here where no one traveler goes, emerged from this flat, silver pocket bird.

Since I bought the iPod in 2009 after leaving my first 6th gen in a condo in Lido Key, Sarasota, Florida, it's crossed the continent to California multiple times, jogged along the Pacific and Atlantic, shot down to the Carolinas in a small jet and to Hawaii on a great, big one, joggled at my waistband on Kentucky subdivision roads and pockmarked Wicker Park/Ukie V/Bucktown streets, in half-marathons along the Lake and Tampa Bay, brought peace and comfort on planes, in the middle of a sleepless night, and each and every day trodding the same route on the Chicago grid and L. And, much of that time, Shuffling into undiscovered country.

But the Shuffle function has--well, it's not stopped functioning entirely, but it shuffles only the same small group of songs. It's true, I click up Shuffle only on train rides, during reading, having lately turned to podcasts for long treks and commutes.

This song has, oddly, turned up in that malfunction-created set, itself a stand-alone, random kind of track.

The kind of chunkily layered 80s track (1983, to be exact) that I still love beyond taste or reason. I mean, look at its chart peers. And I won't lie, I dig H&O.

Kind of perfect.



In September, I chased down and bought a brand new Classic upon the news that Apple was discontinuing its venerable and voluble and original iPod. It's sat in its sealed box since then, waiting to take over the job of distracting from and connecting me to the world and into daylight and nighttime dreams. I'm glad I made the purchase when I did.

Will I have a little ceremony for my old friend? Most likely, no. But I will keep it, and let it sleep, with its tired OS and frozen-in-time Shuffle set, and by sleep, I don't mean end.