September 21, 2005

And I'm Still (In a Whole Lot of Trouble)

It is entirely possible that Waiting for Columbus is the best live album ever. What am I saying, that's silly. Of course it's the best live album ever. I seriously contend that each and every track on this disc is better than the studio version of those same songs.

My favorites are:

Dixie Chicken
Fat Man in the Bathtub (a.k.a. - My Sweet Juanita)
All That You Dream

...but the best one is probably the "hymnic" interpretation of Willin'. There is some serious soul in this song, and I love the Smokey & The Bandit-style truck driver motif (granted, a much more serious version).

I've been -
Warped by the Rain,
Driven by the Snow,
Drunk and Dirty,
Don'tcha know.

In my literature class we've been discussing the distinction between commercial and literary fiction writing. Commercial fiction can be purchased in the grocery store and does not typically challenge the reader to contemplate or reflect beyond absorbing a formulaic plot. Literary writing is supposed to draw questions about larger meanings than just what is happening in the book. I know that in the past I haven't necessarily had loads of appreciation for literary fiction, but I'm learning how to unlock the meaning in a lot of it - something I may have thought of as BS in high school. In comparison, reading good literary fiction makes the more commercial stuff seem frivolous at best, downright wrong at worst. In turn, I'm starting to feel the same way about music.

Example: "Why Can't This Be Love?" by Van Halen (Van Haggar, actually). I liked this song the very first time I heard it. It's a catchy tune, no doubt about it. However, the more I listen to it the more I realize that it's pretty flat. The instumentals are compelling, but there is a decided lack of depth and range - squealing guitar chords with a constant back-beat overlaid with some sort of synth. For the whole song. The vocals, in turn, are of decent quality, but the songwriting is super cheesy - not to mention repetitive.

This is not to say that I don't still listen to Van Halen, I do. The difference is in the way I engage it, typically on a strictly entertainment basis. Conversely, my appreciation for more literary music such as Little Feat has grown immensely.

I've gotten out of the habit of ending with a quote, and that's no good. Perhaps the quotes add a nice little flavor of perspective at the end of each post, or maybe it's just good to sign off with a sentence or two that I didn't write.

Stood alone on a mountain top,
Starin’ out at the great divide
I could go east, I could go west,
It was all up to me to decide
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin’
And my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin’

-From "Roll Me Away" by Bob Seger

No comments: